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Yes, HBO dominates this year’s Emmy nominations, but FX is closing in and so are streaming series

HBO is sitting pretty on the Emmy throne this year, with 94 nominations, including one for "Game of Thrones'" Lena Headey (above) for supporting actress in a drama series. But an army of streaming series are coming on strong as contenders for future crowns.
(AP)

The shifts in the TV landscape brought on by online video streaming are more apparent than ever in the nominations for the 68th Primetime Emmy Awards announced Thursday.

HBO dominated the competition with 94 nominations — the most of any network for the 16th consecutive year — for the awards presented by the Television Academy. But its total was down from the 126 it received in 2015, a sign of how streaming services — as well as other cable outlets — have upped their game in the scripted programming arena.

For the record:

9:35 p.m. July 17, 2016A previous version of this story said that Robin Wright’s Emmy nomination was for “Homeland.” It was for the series “House of Cards.”

One significant indicator of the new TV world order: Three out of the seven nominees in the comedy series category — “Master of None” and “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” both on Netflix, and Amazon’s “Transparent” — are only available through online viewing. Broadcast networks had dominated the category as recently as 2011, but this year only ABC was represented with “black-ish” and “Modern Family.” The commercial broadcasters have not had a series nominated for drama series since that same year.

Netflix received 54 nominations, a gain of 24 over last year. Its signature series “House of Cards” received 13 nominations, tying its previous high in 2014. It also had several first-year nominees, including two for “Jessica Jones,” four for “Master of None” and six for “What Happened Miss Simone?,” its documentary on legendary soul-jazz artist Nina Simone.

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HBO had plenty to crow about, led by its wildly popular and enduring hit series “Game of Thrones,” which received the most nominations of any program, with 23. The premium cable network’s come-dies “Veep” and “Silicon Valley” earned 17 and 10 nominations, respectively, while its original movie“All the Way,” starring Bryan Cranston as President Lyndon Johnson, picked up eight. Beyoncé’s audacious visual album “Lemonade,” which premiered on HBO, earned four nominations.

But the network’s lead was shortened by FX, which had the most critically hailed and talked about program of the year in “The People v. O.J. Simpson.” FX set a record for nominations by an ad-supported basic cable network with 56, up from 38 last year.

“The People v. O.J. Simpson” received 22 nominations, the most for any limited series or miniseries and trailing only “Game of Thrones” overall. The second season of the limited series “Fargo,” a winner last year, earned 18 nominations to finish with the third highest total.

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VIDEO: Watch Sterling K. Brown, who plays Christopher Darden, talk about converging with his character in the glove scene of “The People vs. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story.”

Amazon saw its nomination total rise from 12 to 16 — which includes 10 nominations for “Transparent,” while Sony’s Crackle service earned three, thanks to Jerry Seinfeld’s “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” and “SuperMansion,” a stop-motion animation series.

Several programs from streaming services were also recognized, even though they did not come from a corporately supported platform. Nominations went to Louis C.K.’s self-financed series “Horace and Pete,” and “Acting Dead,” a short-form series comedy about unemployed actors who decide to pursue zombie roles in TV and movies, made available on the website ActingDead .com.

“Her Story,” a scripted series about two transgender women in Los Angeles, was independently produced and distributed over YouTube. It earned a nomination for short form comedy or drama series.

The influence of streaming video was also seen in the late-night category. James Corden, host of “The Late, Late Show” on CBS, toils in the 12:35 a.m. time slot. But his “Carpool Karaoke” segments became a sensation on YouTube, likely helping to earn him a nomination for variety talk series.

Corden’s nomination is notable as his better-known lead-in Stephen Colbert, who replaced David Letterman on “The Late Show” and a previous winner for “The Colbert Report” on Comedy Central, did not make the cut in the variety talk category. Other nominees included “Comedians In Cars With Coffee,” HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher,” ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live” and NBC’s “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.”

Along with Colbert, “Daily Show” alum Samantha Bee also failed to get recognized. Former “Daily Show” correspondent John Oliver did score six nominations for his HBO show, “Last Week Tonight.”

The list of nominees included a significant number of first timers that critics believed worthy of greater recognition.

USA Network’s “Mr. Robot” earned a drama series nomination in its first year of eligibility, while FX’s much-lauded “The Americans” is getting recognized in the category after four seasons on the air.

The newcomers will contend against “Game of Thrones,” “House of Cards,” AMC’s “Better Call Saul,” Showtime’s “Homeland” and PBS’ “Downton Abbey.”

Rami Malek of “Mr. Robot” and Matthew Rhys of “The Americans” are also first-time contenders in lead actor in a drama series, up against Bob Odenkirk for “Better Call Saul,” Liev Schreiber of Showtime’s “Ray Donovan,” and Kevin Spacey for “House of Cards.”

Keri Russell also earned a first-time nomination for “The Americans” in the lead actress in a drama category, putting her against five returning contenders — Claire Danes for “Homeland,” who won in 2012, last year’s winner Viola Davis for “How To Get Away With Murder,” Taraji P. Henson for “Empire,” Robin Wright for “House of Cards” and Tatiana Maslany for BBC America’s “Orphan Black.”

“UnReal,” Lifetime dramatized behind-the-scenes look at a reality dating show, broke through with a supporting actress in a drama series nomination for Constance Zimmer. She is up against formidable competition from three “Game of Thrones” stars (Emilia Clarke, Lena Headey and Maisie Williams) and previous winner Maggie Smith for “Downton Abbey.”

Kit Harrington gets a first-time nomination for his work as “Game of Thrones” hero Jon Snow in the supporting actor in a drama category. He faces an Academy Award winner in Jon Voight who will try to win his first Emmy for his work on “Ray Donovan.”

Others in the category are two-time winner Peter Dinklage for “Game of Thrones,” Michael Kelly for “House of Cards,” Ben Mendelsohn for the Netflix series “Bloodline” and Jonathan Banks for “Better Call Saul.”

On the comedy series side, HBO’s “Veep” scored the most nominations overall with 17, including comedy series. It defends its crown against “black-ish,” “Master of None,” “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” “Transparent,” “Modern Family” and its HBO stable mate “Silicon Valley.”

The lead actress in a comedy series category had two first-time nominees with Tracee Ellis Ross for “black-ish” and Ellie Kemper for “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.” They will face four past winners in Julia Louis-Dreyfus for “Veep,” Amy Schumer for “Inside Amy Schumer,” Lily Tomlin for the Netflix series “Grace and Frankie” and Laurie Metcalf for HBO’s “Getting On.”

Metcalf also earned guest actress nominations for “Horace and Pete” on the drama side and “Big Bang Theory” in comedy, while Schumer had multiple nods thanks to her “Live At the Apollo” special for HBO and a hosting stint on “Saturday Night Live.”

Thomas Middleditch of “Silicon Valley” and Aziz Ansari of “Master of None” are the first-time nominees for lead actor in a comedy series, up against Anthony Anderson of “black-ish,” last year’s winner Jeffrey Tambor of “Transparent,” William H. Macy of Showtime’s “Shameless” and Will Forte of Fox’s “The Last Man on Earth.”

“The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story” is a contender for limited series against ABC’s “American Crime,” FX’s “Fargo,” A&E’s “Roots” remake and AMC’s “The Night Manager” (which landed 12 nominations overall).

The six-episode series about Simpson’s trial for murder has Sarah Paulson competing in the lead actress in a limited series or movie category, while Cuba Gooding Jr. and Courtney B. Vance will contend on the lead actor side. Three cast members will compete in the supporting acting category with Sterling K. Brown, David Schwimmer and John Travolta.

The winners of Emmy Awards will be presented at a ceremony held Sept. 18 at the Microsoft Theater in L.A. and televised on ABC.

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