Fox's "Empire" had been pegged by some as broadcast networks' best bet to end the recent drought of Emmy nods for drama. But not even Lee Daniels' blockbuster sudsy drama could help the Big Four regain their relevance in the category when nominations were released on Thursday.
Once again the drama category was dominated by cable hits including HBO's "Game of Thrones," Showtimes's "Homeland," AMC's "Mad Men" and "Breaking Bad" prequel "Better Call Saul," and PBS's "Downton Abbey," as well as Netflix's "House of Cards" and "Orange is the New Black." Due to a rule change that requires hour-long shows to be considered dramas and half-hour shows as comedies, "Orange is the New Black" is appearing in the drama category after being nominated as a comedy last year (it lost to ABC's "Modern Family.")
"Empire" star Taraji P. Henson, who plays Cookie Lyon in the series, did receive a nomination for outstanding lead actress in a drama category, however, along with Viola Davis for her work on ABC's "How to Get Away With Murder."
Broadcasters fared better in the comedy category, with "Modern Family" and NBC's "Parks & Recreation" receiving Emmy nods. They will go up against FX's "Louie," HBO's "Silicon Valley" and "Veep," Amazon's "Transparent" (which netted Amazon's first Emmy nominations) and Netflix's "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt."
This year's Emmys, which will air on Fox Sept. 20, will mark Jon Hamm's final chance to nab a win for "Mad Men." Mr. Hamm was nominated for outsanding actor in a drama series for an eighth time on Thursday; his previous seven nominations in the category have not yielded a trip to the stage. The end of "Mad Men" might motivate Emmy voters to finally give him the nod, however. Last year the award went to Bryan Cranston, for his final work in the conclusion of "Breaking Bad."