The streaming services have already made their mark at the Emmy Awards — last year Netflix set a record for the most nominations.
But following a year in which the pandemic forced many Americans to increasingly turn to on-demand streaming video for entertainment, the Television Academy is poised to reward streaming services in a big way when nominations for the 73rd Emmy Awards are announced at 11:30 a.m. Eastern on Tuesday. The ceremony will be on Sept. 19 on CBS, and also available on the Paramount+ streaming service.
The top contenders for the best drama category are mostly from the streamers. They are likely to include the fourth season of Netflix’s “The Crown”; the second season of the Disney+ Star Wars series “The Mandalorian”; a former best drama winner, Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale”; and the freshman season of Netflix’s “Bridgerton.”
In the comedy category, the Apple TV+ feel-good sports series “Ted Lasso,” starring Jason Sudeikis, appears to be a lock. It will likely be joined by a pair of HBO Max original series: “The Flight Attendant” and “Hacks.” Kaley Cuoco of “The Flight Attendant” and Jean Smart of “Hacks” will likely face off for best actress in a comedy series. It’s possible that the cable and broadcast networks could get just one or two nominees in the best comedy category, which would be an all-time low.
Though the streaming services have collected plenty of nominations over the last nine years, big wins have been elusive.
The number of times a streamer has won best drama? That would be one, and it was accomplished four years ago when “The Handmaid’s Tale” took the crown. Number of best comedy winners? Just two. And for best limited series, which has arguably turned into the Emmys most exciting category? Zero.
And Netflix — despite investing billions in content over the last few years, and spending plenty of cash on Emmy campaigning — has never won the award in drama, comedy or best limited series, a dry spell that could come to an end this year.
“The Crown” is widely regarded in the entertainment industry as the gold standard in television thanks to its lush production values and great cast.
But it is 0 for 3 in the best drama race, and most of its Emmy wins have been in smaller categories like production design and costumes.
“The Crown” is the heavy favorite this year to finally win best drama for the show’s fourth season, and many of its actors — Josh O’Connor as Prince Charles, Emma Corrin as Princess Diana, Olivia Colman as Queen Elizabeth II, Gillian Anderson as Margaret Thatcher, Helena Bonham Carter as Princess Margaret and Tobias Menzies as Prince Philip — are expected to land nominations. This will be their last chance to win Emmys for their roles; the next season of “The Crown” will feature a new cast.
The streamers could also benefit from an entertainment slate that was altered by the pandemic. Hotly anticipated cable series that were supposed to have debuted in the last year were instead pushed off. That includes the next season of last year’s best drama winner, HBO’s “Succession” as well as the boundary-pushing FX comedy “Atlanta,” and the network’s “American Crime Story,” the two-time best limited series winner, which is going to focus on the Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky affair.
For the first time in at least a decade, the number of television series actually went down in 2020, a trend that has continued through the first half of this year. Submissions for the drama and comedy categories were down 30 percent this year, said a spokesman for the Television Academy.
Cedric the Entertainer, the star of the CBS comedy, “The Neighborhood,” will be this year’s host.
Though the show will return to the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, CBS said that the show will have a “limited audience” of nominees and their guests.
CBS is hoping the Emmys will reverse a troubling trend for awards shows, which have seen record low ratings over the last year. And though last year’s mostly virtual Emmys ceremony was widely praised, the ratings result was the same: Only 6.1 million people watched, a low.
Tuesday’s nomination announcement will be virtual, and will be hosted by a pair of Emmy winning actors: Ron Cephas Jones and his daughter, Jasmine Cephas Jones.