‘This is Us’: Nominations at Golden Globes, Critics’ Choice & WGA make it NBC’s biggest awards player in years

NBC’s “This is Us” scored three Golden Globe nominations Monday morning. In addition to its nomination for Best Drama Series, the sentimental family drama also reaped two bids for Best TV Supporting Actress: Chrissy Metz and Mandy Moore. Gold Derby’s Experts, Editors and Users did not aggregately predict these two noms, however we did correctly forecast a nomination for “This is Us” supporting actor Sterling K. Brown — but for “The People v. O.J. Simpson.”

“The People v. O.J. Simpson” leads Golden Globe television nominees

Perhaps most noteworthy, though, is the achievement of the show itself for NBC. Once an awards juggernaut, the original broadcast network has struggled over the last decade at the Golden Globes, losing out to the rise of premium cable (HBO, Showtime, Starz, Cinemax), basic cable (AMC, FX, USA, BBC America), and now streaming services (Netflix, Amazon, Hulu). In fact, NBC received zero nominations last year, the first time since 1961, back when the Globes merely named television winners and not full categories with nominees.

“This is Us” has now reaped the most Golden Globes nominations for an NBC drama series in 13 years, since “The West Wing” in 2003. It also has the most nominations for any NBC program since “30 Rock” in 2010 and is the network’s first Best Drama Series nominee since 2006’s “Heroes,” which also featured Milo Ventimiglia in a lead role.

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Metz had six acting credits from 2005 to 2010 in minor parts, then did not appear on screen again until 2014 for a five-episode stint on “American Horror Story: Freak Show.” “This is Us” marks her first regular role, as well as her first award nomination. She plays Kate Mercer, an obese woman struggling with self-esteem and weight loss.

Moore has been in the public eye since she was only 15 years old when her 1999 debut pop album “So Real” went platinum. She has been a major screen presence since her first lead role in the Nicholas Sparks adaptation “A Walk to Remember” was released in 2002, but this is her first major nomination for acting. Moore plays matriarch Rebecca Pearson and is the show’s top-billed actress, but the complete ensemble cast is being considered in the supporting categories, like “Modern Family” in comedy.

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“This is Us” aired its first 10 episodes this fall and proved a breakout hit for NBC. It is the highest-rated new series on television in 2016, but perhaps most impressive is that it has grown its viewership, receiving its largest audience for the mid-season finale last week. The series has averaged a 2.6 Nielsen Live + Same Day rating in the key 18 to 49 advertising demographic and 14 million viewers.

The drama also proved itself as an awards player over the last month. It picked up a Critics’ Choice Award nomination for Best Drama Series, the first for NBC since “Friday Night Lights” in 2011; “This is Us” lost at the ceremony Sunday night to “Game of Thrones.” Then it received nominations from the Writers Guild of America for both Best New Series and Best Episodic Drama. It is the first that any NBC drama has been nominated in any WGA race since Best Drama Series nominee “Friday Night Lights” in 2007. Finally, “This is Us” was named one of the American Film Institute’s Top 10 programs of the year, the first NBC showing since “Parks and Recreation” in 2011 and first NBC drama since “Friday Night Lights” in 2009. So “This is Us” is already the greatest awards player that NBC has had in years.

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