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Emmy Awards 2012: ‘Homeland’ wins a vindication for Showtime

Showtime has come a long way since the days of “Red Shoe Diaries.”

Once best known for rock concerts and semi-soft-core movies and television shows, Showtime now has a trophy-filled case it can boast about.

With “Homeland” taking home Emmy Awards for lead actor, lead actress and drama, the premium cable channel has shaken once and for all the perception that it is an also-ran to its bigger rival HBO as well as to other more broadly distributed cable networks such as AMC and FX.

If that’s not enough, President Obama has said “Homeland” is one of his favorite shows.

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Although Showtime has tasted Emmy glory before — Edie Falco won for lead comedy actress for her work in “Nurse Jackie” two years ago — Sunday night’s dominance of the drama category puts the network on a higher plane.

The triumph of “Homeland” is the culmination of a strategy put into place several years ago by the network to boost its ratings and number of subscribers through original programs. Borrowing a page from HBO, Showtime has spent aggressively to create original fare, and it has paid off with ratings and critical acclaim. Besides “Homeland,” Showtime’s “Episodes,” “Dexter,” “Nurse Jackie” and “Shameless” have all scored with critics.

Showtime currently has about 21 million subscribers, compared with HBO’s 28 million. The Emmy glory will no doubt give its marketing efforts a boost. AMC has seen the value of its channel increase greatly as a result of its hit dramas, including “Mad Men” and “Breaking Bad.” FX has also grown in popularity because of its shows such as “Sons of Anarchy.”

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joe.flint@latimes.com

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