Netflix has gone from Emmys crasher to guest of honor

July 10, 2014
July 10, 2014

Netflix crashed the Emmys last year, but with 31 nominations this time around, it’s clear that the streaming network has already shifted from interloper to frontrunner.

In this year’s Primetime Emmy nominations, announced today, Netflix more than doubled its haul, from 14 to 31. That increase is largely thanks to Orange is the New Black, which earned 12 nominations, more than any other comedy series. House of Cards, meanwhile, got 13 nominations, up from 9 in 2013. Also receiving nominations for Netflix: the Ricky Gervais comedy Derek and documentaries The Square and Brave Miss World.

Here’s how Netflix’s nominations compare to other networks:

Tap image to zoom

The nomination tallies for House of Cards and Orange is the New Black dwarf those of perennial Emmy favorites like Modern Family (just 10 nominations this year), Mad Men (8), The Good Wife (5) and Homeland (4).

While Orange is the New Black has quickly become one of TV’s most critically acclaimed shows, those accolades don’t always translate into Emmy nominations. Look no further than FX’s superb The Americans, which despite putting on one of the greatest seasons of television this past year, landed a single nomination, for guest actress in a drama.

And while Netflix’s streaming peers were largely overlooked by Emmy voters— Amazon campaigned heavily for its John Goodman comedy Alpha House, but was shut out—its huge showing will make it much easier from them to join the party next year, especially after Amazon rolls out its much stronger lineup of new series. (Keep your eye on Transparent, which is already attracting critical raves based on its fantastic pilot.)

But today’s impressive tally also increases the pressure on Emmy night. After last year’s Emmys, I wrote that Netflix was one of the night’s biggest winners, even though it didn’t win any major awards. Last year, just earning those nominations and smaller wins (like the directing Emmy for House of Cards) legitimized Netflix in the same way that early Emmy victories had once done for HBO, AMC, and FX.

This year, however, House of Cards and Orange is the New Black have catapulted from “just happy to be here” to frontrunner status. That means on August 25, Netflix needs to win one of the big trophies—outstanding comedy series for Orange, or outstanding actor in a drama for Kevin Spacey of House of Cards—to truly be considered one of television’s elite networks.

Correction: a previous version of this post stated House of Cards won 12 nominations. The correct number is 13.

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