Tuned In: Emmy love for Netflix series

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It's not TV, it's Netflix.

That doesn't have quite the same ring to it as the original premium cable network's slogan ("It's not TV, it's HBO"), but it's arguably even more true.

Netflix is not TV, but its original streaming series garnered 14 nominations Thursday, including first-ever top category honors for online programming with nods for drama series ("House of Cards"), lead drama actor (Kevin Spacey, "House of Cards"), lead drama actress (Robin Wright, "House of Cards") and lead comedy actor (Jason Bateman, "Arrested Development").

Netflix's horror series "Hemlock Grove," set in Western Pennsylvania and written by former Pittsburgher Brian McGreevy, received just two nominations, for visual effects and main title theme music.

Among more traditional TV services, FX's "American Horror Story: Asylum" led with 17 nominations, including best movie or miniseries, competing against "Behind the Candelabra" (HBO), "The Bible" (History), "Phil Spector" (HBO), "Political Animals" (USA) and "Top of the Lake" (Sundance).

HBO's "Game of Thrones" garnered 16 nominations, including a drama series nomination, which it shared with "Breaking Bad" (AMC), "Downton Abbey" (PBS), "Homeland" (Showtime), "House of Cards" (Netflix) and "Mad Men" (AMC).

Cable programs took home the bulk of the major category nominations in the drama field, but broadcasters fared a little better in comedy where series nominations include "30 Rock" (NBC), "The Big Bang Theory" (CBS), "Girls" (HBO), "Louie" (FX), "Modern Family" (ABC) and "Veep" (HBO).

HBO led all competing networks with 108 total nominations, followed by CBS and NBC (tied with 53 nominations each), ABC (45), Showtime (32), AMC and FX (26 each), PBS (25) and Fox (19).

It wouldn't be an entertainment awards show nomination morning without snubs and a cry for reform with some critics suggesting that with the abundance of quality programming, categories should be expanded to allow for more nominations.

As happy as Netflix has to be about its overall showing, the lack of a comedy series nod for the much-heralded return of "Arrested Development" has to sting a bit given that it received best comedy series nominations during its first three seasons on Fox.

HBO's "Boardwalk Empire" received 10 nominations but not in the best drama category; series star Steve Buscemi was also overlooked.

Perhaps the Emmy's most egregious oversight is a lack of love for FX's critically acclaimed "The Americans," which received just two well-deserved nominations for guest actress in a drama (Margo Martindale) and original main title theme music.

CBS's "The Good Wife" received five nominations, including supporting actress (Christine Baranski) and guest stars (Nathan Lane, Michael J. Fox, Carrie Preston) but no major category nods.

Less surprising snubs include no end-of-the-run major nominations for NBC's "The Office," although the script for the series finale did receive a nomination, or major category attention for TNT's "Southland," FX's "Sons of Anarchy," AMC's "The Walking Dead," BBC America's "Orphan Black," ABC Family's "Bunheads," ABC's "The Middle" and Sundance Channel's "Rectify."

For a complete list of Emmy nominations, visit http://communityvoices.post-gazette.com/arts-entertainment-living/tuned-in.

New cable networks

In the next couple of months several new or rebranded cable networks will premiere.

On Aug. 1, Pivot, aimed at millennials, will launch. It's cobbled together from channels once dedicated to Documentary Channel and Halogen TV. Early series will include "Raising McCain," a talk show hosted by Meghan McCain, daughter of U.S. Sen. John McCain; coming-of-age comedy "Please Like Me"; and acquired series, including "Friday Night Lights," "Farscape" and Canadian sitcom "Little Mosque on the Prairie."

Al Jazeera America will replace Current on Aug. 20. This American version of the Qatar-based cable news network will feature reporters such as Sheila MacVikar and Ali Velshi.

FXX replaces Fox Soccer Channel Sept. 2. It's intended to be a younger-skewing spinoff of FX with a greater emphasis on comedy. It will be the new home to "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia," "The League," "Legit" and "Totally Biased With W. Kamau Bell."

NBCUniversal-owned G4 will become Esquire Network on Sept. 23, aiming for an upscale young male demographic.

DirecTV will carry Al Jazeera America (Channel 358) and Pivot (267) but not Esquire. Negotiations are ongoing for adding FXX.

A DISH Network spokeswoman said no announcement has been made about the future availability of these new channels.

Locally, Verizon's FiOS TV will carry Al Jazeera America (Channel 192), Pivot (287) and Esquire Network (191). Verizon is in negotiations with Fox to carry FXX.

Armstong will add Esquire and FXX but not until 2014. Armstrong has no plans to launch Al Jazeera America or Pivot, according to spokesman Dave Wittmann.

Comcast will carry Esquire Network (Channel 162/867 HD in traditional Comcast systems and 129/867 in former Adelphia areas), FXX (267/920 and 125/1715), Pivot (292 and 113) and Al Jazeera America (107 everywhere).

Comcast recently launched Inspiration (Channel 295) and moved Speed to the digital starter tier (271 and 122), making it available to more customers.

Shaw Festival on PBS

"The Shaw Festival: Behind the Curtain" debuts tonight at 9 on PBS stations, including Pittsburgh's WQED-TV.

The one-hour program chronicles the process of taking plays ("Come Back, Little Sheba" and "Hedda Gabler") from the page to the stage at the annual theater festival in Ontario.

Hatfields and McCoys return

NBC didn't pick up its Pittsburgh-set "Hatfields & McCoys" drama series, but History, which kicked off revived interest in the story with its 2012 miniseries, will debut a new reality show, "Hatfields and McCoys: White Lightning" at 10 p.m. Aug. 1.

The series, set along the Kentucky-West Virginia border, follows the real-life descendants of Randall McCoy and Devil Anse Hatfield as they attempt to work together on bringing a new brand of moonshine to market.

Kept/canceled this week

NBC has canceled "Betty White's Off Their Rockers" after two seasons. ABC Family canceled "The Lying Game."

Fox has canceled "American Dad" after the upcoming 2013-14 season, but TBS has picked up a 15-episode 11th season to air in late 2014. HBO renewed "True Blood," which is getting a bit long in the fang, for a seventh season. VH1 renewed its scripted series "Hit the Floor" for a second season.

And after three episodes, Showtime renewed "Ray Donovan" for a second season to air in 2014.

ABC will bring back summer series "Rookie Blue" for a fifth season that's likely to air again next summer. A third season of Fuse's "Billy on the Street" will be produced for early 2014.

Ivory exits WTAE

Weekday morning meteorologist Demetrius Ivory is leaving WTAE for a big jump to Chicago's WGN (market No. 3) with his last day on Channel 4 in Pittsburgh (market No. 23) set for Aug. 2, according to news director Justin Antoniotti. Mr. Ivory will offer forecasts from 4-6 a.m. weekdays on the Chicago station. He has been with WTAE since July 2005.

Channel surfing

BET will air the first two seasons of ABC's "Scandal" sometime this summer and will then air reruns of episodes during the 2013-14 TV season eight days after they debut on ABC ... TLC will air two new "Little People, Big World" specials at 10 p.m. Tuesday and July 30. ... A "Veronica Mars" book series, co-written by series creator Rob Thomas, is in the works, beginning with a book due out in spring 2014 that picks up where the upcoming "Mars" film ends. ... Maybe The CW can make it after all: "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" debuted Tuesday with 2.9 million viewers, the best viewership for the network in that time period since November 2008. ... Abby Huntsman, daughter of former presidential candidate Jon Huntsman, has been named co-host of MSNBC's "The Cycle" (3 p.m. weekdays) effective July 29. ... Syfy encourages fans to create a subtitle for "Sharknado 2," submitting it on Twitter (of course!) by tweeting to @SyfyMovies with the hashtag #Sharknado. Post-Gazette media writer Maria Sciullo's entry: "You ain't seen nothing yet, chum."

Tuned In online

Today's TV Q&A column responds to questions about "NCIS," "The Bridge" and local weather readings. Tuned In Journal includes posts on "The Newsroom," "Arrested Development" and "Animation Domination High-Def." Read online-only TV content at post-gazette.com/tv.

This week's podcast includes conversation about "The Newsroom," "Orange Is the New Black" and "The Bridge." Subscribe or listen at http://old.post-gazette.com/podcast.


TV writer Rob Owen: rowen@post-gazette.com or 412-263-2582. Follow RobOwenTV on Twitter or Facebook for breaking TV news. First Published July 19, 2013 4:00 AM


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