Analysis: Streamers dominate Emmy nominations
January 11, 2024
Analysis from Gracenote has found that 41 shows have been nominated in the 22 categories of major Emmy awards recognising outstanding Acting, Directing, Writing and Shows.
Streaming services accounted for 27 of these shows, the highest share in Emmy history from the streamers. Nine are from premium cable networks, two from broadcast networks, one from a basic cable network and two from Free Advertising Supported Streaming TV (FAST) channels. The nomination of Jury Duty, the first series from a FAST channel, is particularly noteworthy because its channel Freevee broadcast only six original scripted series in the nomination period.
The 2023 Primetime Emmy Awards mark the fifth year in succession in which more shows from streaming services than other distributors have received nominations in major categories. More shows than ever from streamers were nominated for major awards this year.
- Streaming shows captured 27 Emmy nominations in major awards categories, a new record high. Just six years ago, only 10 shows from streaming services were nominated in these categories.
- Major nominations for streaming series have remained relatively stable for five successive Emmy award cycles at between 10 and 14 different shows. This year’s 14 nominated series from streamers for major awards equal the 2021 record.
- The recent increase in Emmy nominations in major categories for streaming shows has been driven by limited or anthology series and TV movies. The 13 nominated shows in 2023 are nearly three times as many as the five in 2019 and represent a new high for the streamers.
- Showtime’s George & Tammy and NBC’s Dolly Parton’s Mountain Magic Christmas are the only limited series or TV movies from premium cable or broadcast networks nominated for major Emmys at this awards ceremony.
- Streaming services have triple the number of programmes with major nominations of premium cable services for the first time this year. Nearly two-thirds of programmes nominated for major Emmy awards are from streaming services, the highest proportion achieved so far by this group.
- It was only two years ago that streaming services had over 50 per cent of the nominated programmes in major categories for the first time.
- Only one series from a broadcast network – ABC’s Abbott Elementary – has been nominated for major Emmy awards this year. Broadcast networks have never had such little success with series. Just three years ago, this segment accounted for seven major Emmy awards nominations for series.
- This year premium cable services have received their lowest number of nominated programs in major Emmy award categories (nine) since streaming services received their first major Emmy nominations in 2013. The previous low for premium cable programming was 10 major award nominees in 2021.
- The 41 programmes nominated for major Emmy awards in 2023 is consistent with the last two years (39 in 2021 and 40 in 2022). However, this is a smaller number of nominated programmes than in the peak years of the last decade as 55 different shows and TV movies were nominated in 2015 and 50 in 2018.
- Jury Duty is the first series from a FAST channel to be nominated for a major Emmy award. Its creator Freevee made only five other original series which were released during the nomination period. The Roku Channel’s Weird: The Al Yankovic Story is the second TV Movie from a FAST channel to receive Emmy recognition, after 2023’s Zoey’s Extraordinary Christmas, also from the same channel.
The decade-long rise of acclaimed streaming TV
Six years after its launch as a subscribed video on demand streaming service, Netflix picked up its first major Emmy nominations in 2013. House of Cards was nominated for Outstanding Drama Series, Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series, Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series and Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series. Arrested Development received a nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series. David Fincher won the directing award for the pilot episode of House of Cards, delivering Netflix’s first major Emmy.
Awards data analysed by Gracenote reveals that, in addition to those two Netflix programmes, 20 shows from premium cable companies received major Emmy award nominations in 2013, broadcast networks had nine shows acclaimed in this way, basic cable providers had seven and PBS had one for Downton Abbey, a show co-produced with UK commercial broadcaster ITV.
Two years later, Prime Video became the second streaming service to produce a major Emmy-nominated show. Transparent joined five series and one TV movie from Netflix to receive nominations in Show, Acting, Directing or Writing categories. The seven streaming shows nominated for major awards in 2015 meant that only premium cable and broadcast networks had more acclaimed shows than the streamers. Prime Video became the second streaming service to win a major Emmy as Jeffrey Tambor was given the Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series award and Joey Soloway won the Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series award.
Streaming services had 10 shows nominated for major Emmy awards in 2017 with Hulu joining Netflix and Amazon amongst the acclaimed streamers. Only premium cable services now had more nominated programmes than the streamers. Hulu’s acclaimed adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale became the first streaming series to win the Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series. The San Junipero episode of Netflix’s Black Mirror series won the Outstanding Television Movie Emmy. Other major Emmy awards went to streaming services for The Handmaid’s Tale, The Crown (Netflix) and Master of None (Netflix).
Two years later, in 2019, streaming services became the segment of the TV market with the most programmes nominated for major Emmy awards. Netflix produced nine of these acclaimed shows, Prime Video made four and Hulu three. Premium cable services made 15 shows acclaimed in this way with 10 from HBO, two from Showtime, two from FX and one from Pop TV. Streamers led the way in the series categories but premium cable was still on top for limited series and TV movies.
Seven different programmes from streamers – Fleabag, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, A Very English Scandal (all Prime Video), Ozark, Bandersnatch, When They See Us (all Netflix) and The Act (Hulu) – won major Emmy awards in 2019, one more major Emmy award winning show than the premium cable companies’ six.
In 2020, streaming services had the most major Emmy-nominated shows in both the series and limited series/TV movie categories for the first time. Twelve streaming series and eight limited series/TV movies received major Emmy nominations that year. Apple TV+ and Disney+ became the fourth and fifth streamers to produce nominated programmes in a major Emmy award category with The Morning Show and The Mandalorian respectively. A year later, Peacock and Max became the sixth and seventh streaming services to achieve this and in 2022, BET+ and Paramount+ increased that number to nine.
Since 2020, streaming services have continued to lead premium cable in Emmy-acclaimed programming. This year’s nominated shows in major categories have been dominated more than ever by the streamers which have produced a record 27 nominated shows this year, a new streaming high of 66 per cent of nominated programmes. Broadcast networks are down to two nominated shows and basic cable nets have just one, compared to 10 and six respectively just five years ago. ABC’s Abbott Elementary is the only series from a broadcast network to be nominated for major Emmys, a new low for the segment of the market which previously dominated the Emmys.
Fewer segments of the TV industry producing shows with major award potential signals a shift. In 2015 and 2018, commercial broadcasters and basic cable networks still had plenty of shows receiving major nominations and this led to 55 and 50 shows respectively receiving Emmy acclaim in the most important categories. In four of the five years since 2018, only 39 to 41 different shows have received this recognition as the influence of those segments of the market have declined.
For 2024, there is a new entry in the major Emmy nominations for Series as Amazon Freevee’s Jury Duty has become the first series from a FAST channel to receive major Emmy acclaim with nominations for Outstanding Comedy Series, Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series and Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series.