Will Emmy races for Drama Actor and Supporting Actor be exclusively cable nominees?

For his fourth topic in our forums, outsider wonders: Will the broadcast networks be shut out of Best Drama Actor and Supporting Actor at the Emmys? As he notes, 


Last year, the broadcast networks were shut out of Writing and Directing in a Drama Series. This had happened before in the Writing category but it was a first for Directing.

As cable continues to produce original, exciting and challenging drama series, the broadcast networks seem to lag behind for various reasons. They will still have a presence in the Drama Series category thanks to “The Good Wife” or “Downton Abbey” but history might be made in two other categories.

Hugh Laurie is broadcast television’s only hope for a nomination in Drama Actor, but this year he’s on extremely shaky ground. If he fails to receive a nomination, it will be the first time the category is made up of cable actors. This happened at the recent Golden Globe and SAG Awards and it could be a signal that the era of great leading male performances on broadcast television is coming to an end.

In Drama Supporting Actor, Josh Charles and especially Alan Cumming could come back but the category is so crowded and competitive that they could be easily left out. They seem to be the only viable contenders from the broadcast networks. Robert Carlyle is amazing in “Once Upon a Time” but apparently his name hasn’t been included in the discussion. 

FNLFan88 agrees:

The competition is just too tough for Laurie to get back in, IMO. Like you said, the GG and SAG snubs are telling. 

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However, I do think Cumming makes it back in, but only just. If he doesn’t, it won’t be a surprise as there any many contenders for his slot; Charles, Walton Goggins, Neal McDonough, Dylan Baker, John Goodman, Nick Nolte, Andre Braugher, Michael Pitt, Jared Harris, Vincent Kartheiser.

Peter Dinklage, Aaron Paul and Giancarlo Esposito are locks, while John Slattery and Mandy Patinkin are safe.

Like you, I wish Carlyle was in the discussion, as he is “OUAT”‘s best shot for a major nomination, and if he gets in it will be deserved. If broadcast wishes to make a comeback in any drama category, then they will have to produce shows that are good enough to get recognized (like “24,” “Lost” and “FNL”, for starters).

And, as G. Penn observes,

Part of the problem and why this will continue to happen is right all of the broadcast drama nominations are essentially coming from one show, “The Good Wife.” There used to be a number of potential drama series that were worthy and had great performances as well. Those days are gone, really. I don’t think it’s a huge deal, it sort of reminds me of how FOX would have trouble getting into the drama categories, where as CBS, NBC, and ABC were all dominating it in the 90s.

But then, it’s not that difficult to figure out why. There are alot of great concepts for series on network television. The problem is that they have to stretch it out for 22 episodes — which leads to filler episodes — whereas cable only has 10-13 episodes a season, meaning only the best ideas make the cut. This makes their seasons really tight and really strong.

Also, a lot of talent is heading to cable. I mean, Aaron Sorkin is, to me, the quintessential network television writer and his new show is on cable. His shows really don’t deal with content that can’t be on network television (whereas something like “The Sopranos” or even “Nip/Tuck” needed to be on cable). A lot of talent behind the scenes is being wooed to cable.


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