'House of Cards' Picks Up 9 Emmy Nominations

The Netflix series is the first digitally distributed show to get nominated for a major category. For best drama, "House of Cards" joins nominees "Homeland," "Game of Thrones," "Breaking Bad," "Downton Abbey" and "Mad Men." Jon Weisman of Variety talks about the nominations, announced Thursday.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Hollywood woke up at the crack of dawn to hear the nominations for the 2013 Emmy Awards announced earlier this morning. One show that was much talked about when it came out and now has multiple nominations is "House of Cards." That's a series produced and distributed not by a television network or a cable channel but by Netflix. For more we reached the Awards Editor at Variety. And Jon Weisman, good morning.

JON WEISMAN: Good morning, Renee.

MONTAGNE: So Netflix picked up nine nominations with "House of Cards." Tell us about that.

WEISMAN: You know, that's a very strong showing for any first-year series. So for it to happen for a show that is being distributed through a very new medium, it's really sort of extraordinary and sort of befits the history we're talking about today.

MONTAGNE: Well, for those not necessarily up on it, I mean the new medium is basically streaming and Web. Those are keywords to what Netflix did with "House of Cards." Does this suggest a change in how we're going to be getting our shows?

WEISMAN: Yeah. It's an ongoing evolution, and this is a milepost in that evolution. It's been years in the making and it's still years in development. But this - what this does is show the creative talent in the industry that if you do great work outside of the TV itself, it has the potential for getting recognized, it won't be ignored.

Twenty years ago, HBO and "The Larry Sanders Show" broke through. They became the first cable series to get an Emmy nomination. And I think it's a similar milestone. What was once a very rare accomplishment is now so commonplace that cable dominates in the drama category now and is working its way in the comedy category. And I imagine that at some point - it could take, you know, years, but at some point the digital shows will have a similar impact.

MONTAGNE: The broadcast networks were not looking so great this morning. They got shut out again in the drama category. What nominations did they get?

WEISMAN: Well, what's sort of ironic is with all this change that the "House of Cards" nomination signifies, that the nominations were otherwise sort of very similar to last year's. And so what we had was five of the six drama nominees were the same as last year. And again, the four broadcast networks were completely shut out.

And in comedy it was the same. Three broadcast shows: "30 Rock," "The Big Bang Theory" and "Modern Family" from the broadcasters. And then HBO had "Girls" and "Veep" come back. And then "Louie" from FX replaced "Curb Your Enthusiasm," which didn't air in the past year.

MONTAGNE: The most nominated program this morning was "American Horror Story," a miniseries on FX. What else got a lot of attention from the academy?

WEISMAN: "Game of Thrones" had more nominations than any other series. And it's always interesting to see what happens with them because it's not necessarily the style of show that you expect the academy to fall in love with. Sci-fi or fantasy shows, not to mention a show with a tremendous amount of violence, those don't have a long history of Emmy victories. But 16 nominations this year, after a pretty good showing last year, indicates that the academy is willing to have an open mind about this sort of thing. And "Game of Thrones" is a show that sort of transcends.

MONTAGNE: Thanks very much for joining us.

WEISMAN: Thank you.

MONTAGNE: Jon Weisman is the Awards Editor at Variety.

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