Streaming’s takeover of prestige television is now complete.
Online platforms accounted for a record 342 of this year’s Emmy nominations, up from 270 last year. Cable TV, which includes networks like HBO and FX, had 166 total nominations, down from 198 in 2020. And broadcast television (ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, and PBS) combined for only 105 nominations, down from 126 last year.
Netflix, which for the second year in a row earned the most nominations of any streaming service or TV network with 129, was actually not responsible for streaming’s jump, since it received 31 fewer nominations than last year. Rather, streaming’s big bump can be attributed to two major developments: the rapid rise of Disney’s streaming service, Disney+, as well as the launch of WarnerMedia’s platform, HBO Max, last year.
Emmy voters liked what they saw from Disney+ and HBO Max
Disney+’s nomination haul leapt from 19 in 2020 to 71 in 2021, thanks to the Star Wars series The Mandalorian and the Marvel series WandaVision, which earned 24 and 23 nominations, respectively—good for first and second place overall. (The Mandalorian was tied with Netflix’s The Crown for the most-nominated series.) Disney+ also got a boost from its stage recording of the acclaimed Broadway musical Hamilton, which hit the service last year and was controversially deemed eligible for the Emmys by the television academy. Hamilton received 12 nominations—almost as many as Amazon got in total (18).
And in its first year of eligibility, HBO Max received 36 nominations, including two in best comedy series for the shows Hacks and The Flight Attendant. In a press release sent to reporters, WarnerMedia boasted that, combined, HBO and HBO Max technically got more nominations than any other network or streaming service (including Netflix)—the 19th time in history the HBO “brand” received more nominations than any other. HBO, for its part, remains the lone cable TV network able to compete with the deep-pocketed streaming companies for Emmy votes.
The Emmys are becoming a three horse race of media conglomerates
Disney’s success extended beyond Disney+. The company, which also owns the Hulu streaming service, as well as TV networks like ABC, FX, and National Geographic, earned 146 overall, the most of any single company. WarnerMedia, the parent company of HBO, HBO Max, and CNN, finished a close second, with 138. Both companies got more nominations than Netflix.
News was also good for Apple’s streaming service, Apple TV+. In its second year of eligibility, it earned 35 nominations, almost double its haul from 2020. Ted Lasso, a comedy about an American football coach managing an English soccer club, gave Apple it’s first-ever nomination in a major series category, grabbing a nomination for outstanding comedy.
Peacock, NBCUniversal’s streaming platform that launched last year, was not as successful, bringing in just two nominations. Amazon saw its haul decrease from 31 to 18, though it did receive a best drama nomination for its superhero satire, The Boys.
The 2021 Emmys will be broadcast Sept. 19 on CBS in the US and stream simultaneously on ViacomCBS’s streaming platform, Paramount+ (which received its first six nominations ever this year). Comedian Cedric the Entertainer will host a live, in-person ceremony for a limited audience of the nominees and their guests.