Three Netflix series collected 15 prime-time Emmy nominations in the highest profile categories on Thursday, fluffing up the industry cred that the online subscription service has been grooming with its edgy original programming.
Netflix, the online subscription video service with the most subscribers, has been using original shows like "Orange Is the New Black," "House of Cards," and "Derek" to cast itself in the mold of a television network more than the video library and DVD-by-mail service that are its roots. Netflix has credited its award-snagging, buzzed-about originals for boosting its subscriber rolls, though it defers from providing any direct links between original content and subscriptions. Traditional Hollywood players have grumbled about Netflix's bragging about hits without providing hard viewership stats like ratings.
On Thursday, "Orange Is the New Black" was nominated for outstanding comedy series. The show, set in a women's prison, also received nominations for the program's writing and directing -- an episode helmed by Jodie Foster got the nod. Taylor Schilling was nominated for best actress in her role playing protagonist Piper. Kate Mulgrew, who plays Red, was nominated for best supporting actress. Three others were in the running for outstanding guest actresses: Natasha Lyonne as Nicky Nichols, Uzo Aduba as Suzanne "Crazy Eyes" Warren, and Laverne Cox as Sophia Burset.
Ricky Gervais, star of "Derek," was nominated for best actor in a comedy series. Netflix embraces "Derek" as one of its originals, though the program was aired in England on traditional television before it "debuted" on Netflix in the US. The comedy drama follow a middle-aged man who works in a nursing home.
"House of Cards," a political drama, again rounded up a slew of nominations, after several last year and one win for directing. The program was nominated for best drama, best writing, and best directing. Stars Robin Wright and Kevin Spacey are candidates in the best acting categories, and Kate Mara's brief appearance earned her an outstanding guest actress nomination.
Missing from the nominations for originals was Amazon's Prime Instant Video. Though Amazon's originals effort is still in its infancy, its first two programs failed to make as much of a popular splash as Netflix's.