‘House of Cards’ Makes Emmy History, Becomes First TV Show to Snag Nomination Despite Fact that It’s Not Actually on TV

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bill-swift - July 18, 2013

The Emmy Awards are supposed to recognize "excellence in the television industry," and in the olden days that was a pretty simple concept. "Television" was anything that you watched on your television. Everything else was movies.

These days it's a lot more complicated. For example, the 2013 Emmy nominations were announced this morning, and among the shows up for "Outstanding Drama" is House of Cards, the popular political series starring Kevin Spacey–the one whose first season debuted in its entirety on Netflix back in February. Now, for the first time ever, a so-called "television show" might win an Emmy Award despite the fact that it is not on television.

Now all the lines are getting a little blurry. If a show that's not on television can win a television award, can a YouTube video win an Oscar for Best Picture? Can a simple blogger like me win the Nobel Prize in Literature?

Okay, maybe the lines aren't that blurry. But the House of Cards Emmy nomination does raise questions. So, too, does the "Outstanding Actor in a Comedy" nod for Jason Bateman of Arrested Development (also on Netflix), and the fact that, in the five major drama categories, only eight of the 31 nominations came from shows that run on broadcast television. And of those eight, five belong to Downton Abbey, which is on PBS and only sorta counts.

So, in short, I guess it's like that Bob Dylan song says—"here comes the story of the Hurricane."

No, wait, that's not right. "The times they are a-changin'."

Yeah, that's it.

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