'Thrones' and HBO Lead Emmy Nominations

17 July 2015 - 14:00 By EMILY STEEL

The fantasy epic “Game of Thrones” and its home network, HBO, led the field in the nominations for the 67th Primetime Emmy Awards announced Thursday.

But while HBO held the lead, competition for the top prizes in drama and comedy continued to heat up across broadcast, cable and streaming outlets - signaling the vast changes reshaping the television landscape.


“The pool is getting bigger, the number of great shows being produced is getting larger, and the end result is that more people are watching more television than ever before,” said Bruce Rosenblum, chairman of the Television Academy, which oversees the awards.

“Game of Thrones” scored more nominations than any other show, 24, including a nod for outstanding drama series. HBO received two nominations in the comedy category, for “Silicon Valley” and “Veep,” and amassed a record total of 126 across all categories.

Netflix earned 34 nominations - three more than last year - including recognition for its political thriller “House of Cards” and its prison series “Orange Is the New Black” in the drama category, and for “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” in the comedy field. Amazon, meanwhile, received 12 nominations, led by “Transparent,” about a family in which the father comes out as transgender. It was nominated for outstanding comedy and its star, Jeffrey Tambor, was recognized in the lead actor category. In January, the series won a Golden Globe.

“We are deeply proud of our creative partners, the most gifted and visionary collaborators working in television today and are honored by this morning’s Emmy nominations,” Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s chief content officer, said in a statement.

For the broadcast networks, this year’s nominations proved disappointing once again. None of the four big networks have received a nomination for best drama since 2011. Fox was hoping to break through with its smash hip-hop drama “Empire,” which proved a ratings bonanza after its debut in the winter. But the series received a disappointing three nominations and was not included in the outstanding drama category.

Jon Hamm will get his final chance to win an Emmy Award for his portrayal of Don Draper in “Mad Men,” the series about the advertising industry in the 1960s that completed its final season in May. Hamm received his eighth nomination for best actor in a drama series Thursday, with no wins in his seven previous attempts.

Hamm will face-off against Kyle Chandler for his portrayal of the detective John Rayburn in the Netflix’s series “Bloodline” and Bob Odenkirk for his role as Jimmy McGill in AMC’s “Better Call Saul,” the prequel to that network’s “Breaking Bad.”

Odenkirk, who became something of a breakout star for “Breaking Bad,” described himself as “truly giddy.” He said his new show “is a different tone to 'Breaking Bad,' but it definitely shares some of its strengths.”

Other nominees in the category were Jeff Daniels in HBO’s “The Newsroom,” Kevin Spacey in Netflix’s “House of Cards” and Liev Schreiber in Showtime’s “Ray Donovan.”

The broadcast networks fared better in the race for outstanding lead actress in a drama series. Taraji P. Henson was nominated for her portrayal of Cookie, the ex-con ex-wife of a music mogul in “Empire.” Viola Davis received a nomination for her role as the defense attorney Annalise Keating, in ABC’s “How to Get Away With Murder.”

Also nominated in the category was Elisabeth Moss for her portrayal of Peggy Olson in “Mad Men.” Like Hamm, Moss is getting her last chance to win an award for her role in the series; she had been nominated five times previously.

Others nominated in the category were Claire Danes for Showtime’s “Homeland,” Robin Wright for “House of Cards” and Tatiana Maslany in “Orphan Black.”

In addition to “Game of Thrones,” the showdown for outstanding drama series will pit two AMC network series, “Mad Men” and “Better Call Saul,” against two Netflix series, “House of Cards” and “Orange Is the New Black.”

AMC has won the prize for outstanding drama six out of the last seven years, taking home four wins for “Mad Men” and two for “Breaking Bad.” Before “Mad Men,” a basic cable network had never won that award.

“In an increasingly crowded and competitive TV landscape, we know how hard creators, casts and everyone associated with these productions work to deliver their best,” Charlie Collier, president of AMC and SundanceTV, said in a statement. “To have these efforts acknowledged by the industry is something we appreciate and never take for granted.”

Other contenders for the best drama award are the British period drama “Downton Abbey” on PBS and Showtime’s “Homeland.”

Streaming services added a dose of new competition to the comedy category, challenging ABC’s “Modern Family,” which has won an Emmy in each of the last five years. Amazon’s “Transparent,” and Netflix’s “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” about the life of a Pollyanna-like woman who escapes from a cult after 15 years, were both nominated.

Other contestants for best comedy were “Louie” on FX, “Parks and Recreation” on NBC, and “Silicon Valley” and “Veep,” both on HBO.


Referring to HBO’s nominations, Richard Plepler, chief executive of the network, said in a statement: “This record-breaking number of nominations is a tribute to all the talent who have come to work with us.”

“The Big Bang Theory” on CBS did not receive a nomination for best comedy series or for lead actor in a comedy. Last year, the show’s star, Jim Parsons, won his fourth award for lead actor in a comedy series for his role as a scientist with minimal social skills.

The Television Academy highlighted the fresh competition in the four lead performer categories this year; more than half of the nominees were either first-time nominees or were appearing in new series. In the drama category, that includes Chandler, a previous winner for “Friday Night Lights,” in “Bloodline,” as well as Davis in “How to Get Away With Murder” and Henson in “Empire.”

There also are a number of new contestants in the race for best performer in a comedy series. Those include Anthony Anderson in ABC’s “black-ish,” Will Forte in Fox’s “The Last Man on Earth,” Amy Schumer in Comedy Central’s “Inside Amy Schumer,” Tambor in “Transparent” and Lily Tomlin in Netflix’s “Grace and Frankie.”

“Jane the Virgin” on CW, whose star Gina Rodriguez won a Golden Globe this year, received no nominations.

It’s been a year of transformation for late-night shows, and shows hosted by two comedians who are moving on - David Letterman, who has retired, and Stephen Colbert, who is replacing Letterman - were nominated in the variety talk show category. There were joined by Jon Stewart, Jimmy Kimmel, John Oliver and Jimmy Fallon.

--2015 New York Times News Service