Netflix Makes History With First Emmy Nominations

Nominations Are First for Programming Not Originating on TV

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Netflix has received nine Emmy nods for "House of Cards" and three for "Arrested Development," marking the first time a series that originated on non-traditional TV landed any nominations in a major category.

Credit: 'House of Cards' on Netflix

"House of Cards" is in the running for categories including outstanding drama series, outstanding lead actor in a drama (Kevin Spacey) and outstanding lead actress in a drama (Robin Wright). David Fincher, who directed the series, was also nominated.

Jason Bateman received a nomination in the lead actor in a comedy series category for his role in "Arrested Development." Netflix revived the comedy, which previously aired on Fox, in May.

Whether or not Netflix wins an Emmy, these nomination will likely be just the beginning to a glut of programming not derived from linear TV to invade the awards, as other players like Amazon Prime and Hulu also beef up their originals.

While Netflix's nominations are a pivotal moment for online streaming video, for TV networks they are reminiscent of when cable channels first challenged the Big Four broadcasters.

In 1988, the academy amended the rules to allow cable programming to be considered for awards. But it wasn't until the mid-1990s that cable networks started to pick up wins for shows like HBO's"Dennis Miller Live" and "Tracey Takes On." In the early 2000s, cable shows became a force in the major categories with hits like "The Sopranos" and "Sex and the City."

Previously, the cable industry created their own awards program, the CableAce Awards, which began in 1979 and ended in 1998 after cable shows became an integral part of the Emmys.

Now cable dominates, especially in categories like best drama. This year, none of the Big Four broadcasters were nominated in the category, with "Breaking Bad," "Downton Abbey," "Homeland," "Game of Thrones" and "Mad Men" joining "House of Cards."

The biggest criticism among network TV programmers is that there's a limitation to the content they can show on broadcast, whereas premium channels like HBO and now online platforms like Netflix have fewer restrictions in terms of language and graphic imagery.

The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences changed the rules in 2008 to recognize internet video. But it could take years before it wins any of the major awards.

Netflix's nominations could help spur interest in the Emmys among a younger audience. Emmy ratings have been in decline, bringing in just 13.2 million viewers in 2012. While this topped the year prior, it was the Emmy's lowest rating in the all-important 18-to-49 demo.

"Hemlock," another Netflix original, was nominated for its theme music and visual effects.

Visit our sibling Creativity to watch the commercials that received Emmy nominations this morning.

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