Orange Is the New Black could lead to Emmy gold. The Netflix series is poised to become the first Outstanding Comedy nominee from a streaming service, just as House of Cards broke the drama barrier in 2013. (The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences has allowed programs from digital services to compete against broadcast and cable series since 2008.)
Chances of earning some nods — nominations will be announced on July 10 — might increase, thanks to the buzz and marketing surrounding the launch of Orange's second season, which was released in its entirety on June 6. Netflix has focused much of its "For Your Consideration" Emmy campaign on the prison comedy, which didn't receive a series Golden Globe nomination for its first season but was nominated for Program of the Year and Outstanding New Program by the Television Critics Association as well as Best Comedy Series by the Critics' Choice Television Awards. House of Cards is expected to secure its second nod for Outstanding Drama Series.
Meanwhile, Amazon Studios is on the hunt for its first nomination. The digital service is spending heavily on a campaign touting Alpha House, its political comedy starring John Goodman. "I've been pretty impressed," creator Garry Trudeau says of the push. "It's a little overwhelming."
Given how well-liked Goodman is, an Emmy nod is a real possibility. The actor was famously nominated seven consecutive years for Roseanne but never won. (He finally scored a statuette in 2007 for his guest spot on Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.) "No one is more worthy," Trudeau says. "Here's a chance to make amends." Trudeau knows what it's like to break new ground at the Emmys. His HBO series Tanner '88 landed one of cable's first major Emmys when Robert Altman won for directing in 1989.
Hulu has a not-so-secret weapon that could help land its first nomination: Seth Meyers, who's hosting the awards show, which airs August 25 on NBC. Meyers is the star and executive producer, along with Mike Shoemaker, of Hulu's animated series The Awesomes. "I'll be backstage during the show, so I'm not above scribbling our names in," Shoemaker quips. "It must be possible to tamper with ballots, right?"
Shoemaker doesn't believe that airing on a streaming service helps or hurts The Awesomes' chances to compete for Outstanding Animated Program. "It's a level field," he says. "A lot of people watch their animation on Hulu. Family Guy, The Simpsons, Bob's Burgers all do really well there. That puts us in the same position as everyone else. Even though we're not on a major network, we can get seen by the same people. Emmy voters are sophisticated, and they know how to pan for gold."