Streaming giant Netflix handily reclaimed its seat as television’s critical dynamo Tuesday by capturing 160 nominations for the 2020 Emmy Awards, setting an industry record and unseating rival HBO.
The Los Gatos, Calif.-based company’s massive haul was led by multiple nominations for its violent crime drama “Ozark,” the British royal period piece “The Crown” and the post-World War II miniseries “Hollywood.”
HBO, long a favorite of the Academy, scored 107 nominations, including 26 kudos for its masked hero drama “Watchmen.” The series, loosely based on the seminal graphic novel of the same name, is the most-nominated program of the year, up for awards including limited series.
HBO had returned to the pole position last year thanks to the final season of “Game of Thrones” and Bill Hader’s dark comedy “Barry.” The subscription cable network previously enjoyed a 17-year streak at the top of the Emmy nominations heap that was interrupted by Netflix in 2018.
This year, though, Netflix surged ahead. Its nomination total was 36 percent greater than the 118 it secured ahead of last year’s ceremony. Netflix has been racing to become a dominant player in television viewing, with an all-encompassing programming strategy that spans trashy reality, documentaries and prestige dramas. Its high-volume strategy has led to its dominance in awards season nominations.
The winners of the major awards will be announced Sept. 20 on ABC, which is owned by Walt Disney Co.
With out-of-home entertainment options still limited in many areas due to restrictions meant to curb the coronavirus’ spread, viewers have turned to streaming services’ seemingly bottomless wells of content to stay occupied.
Among Netflix’s top shows, “Ozark” is nominated for 18 awards, including drama series, lead actor (Jason Bateman) and lead actress (Laura Linney). “The Crown” has 13 nominations, including drama series, lead actress (Olivia Colman) and supporting actress (Helena Bonham Carter). “Hollywood,” science-fiction series “Stranger Things” and dark comedy “Dead to Me” also earned multiple nominations.
Besides “Watchmen,” HBO is going into the ceremony with 18 nominations for “Succession,” including drama series and lead actors (Brian Cox and Jeremy Strong). The pay cable network also earned multiple nods for “Westworld,” “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” and “Insecure.”
HBO became a subsidiary of Dallas-based AT&T in 2018 when the phone company acquired Time Warner Inc., which was rebranded as WarnerMedia. At the time, there was concern that the parent company’s demand for more programming from HBO would dilute its boutique brand and that the exit of key executives would hurt the network’s prospects.
Comcast’s NBC led the major broadcast networks with a total of 47 nominations for shows, including “The Good Place” and “This is Us.” ABC was next, with 36 nominations for series including “black-ish.”
Among the ad-based cable networks Walt Disney Co.’s FX Networks led with 33 nods. Its nominated shows included limited series “Mrs. America,” about the movement to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment, and vampire comedy show “What We Do in the Shadows.”
Amazon’s Prime Video also fared well, led by the return of its hit comedy “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” Amazon had 30 nominations total.
Hulu, owned by Walt Disney Co., was next up with 26 nominations, including 10 for “The Handmaid’s Tale.”
Disney’s new streaming service, Disney+ had an early success with its “Star Wars” bounty hunter series “The Mandalorian,” which is up for 15 awards, including drama series. The app has 19 total nominations.
Apple TV+ scored with its star-studded media drama “The Morning Show,” which originally had mixed reviews from critics but has grown on awards voters. Apple TV+ has 18 nominations, including eight for “The Morning Show.”
Pop, a cable network owned by ViacomCBS Inc., final season of “Schitt’s Creek,” a Canadian comedy series with a devoted following. Pop had 16 nominations, 15 of which were for “Schitt’s Creek,” about a wealthy family who loses everything and moves to a rural town it owns.