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2017 Emmys: ‘This Is Us’ Brings Broadcast Back Into the Drama Race

Variety logo Variety 7/13/2017 Danielle Turchiano
© Provided by Variety

After five long years, one of the big five networks finally has a contender back in the outstanding drama series race at the 2017 Emmys.

NBC’s breakout hit “This Is Us,” which comes from 20th Century Fox, scored a coveted nomination opposite cabler series “Better Call Saul” and “Westworld,” and streaming shows “House of Cards,” “Stranger Things,” “The Crown,” and “The Handmaid’s Tale.”

The ensemble family drama earned major nominations in the acting categories, as well, with two lead actor nominations for first-time nominee Milo Ventimiglia and Sterling K. Brown, who is hot off a 2016 Emmy win for supporting actor in a limited series for his work on “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story,” plus supporting nods for both Chrissy Metz and Ron Cephas Jones. Not to mention, three guest actor nominations — Denis O’Hare, Brian Tyree Henry, Gerald McRaney — who are all competing against each other in the same category.

“We’re incredibly honored to have been given such broad recognition by the Academy — from shows to performers to technicians, the scope is staggering. It’s been an amazing year for broadcast television, including a return to the prestigious drama series category with ‘This Is Us,’ not to mention a record-breaking number of nominations for ‘SNL,’ which is the gift that keeps on giving 42 years in,” said NBC entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt in a statement on Thursday, shortly after nominations were announced.

Not since 2011 when CBS had “The Good Wife” on the ballot has a broadcast series been up for the top drama trophy, and not since the original run of Fox’s “24” in 2006 has a broadcast series won that top prize. Similarly, 2011 was the most recent year a broadcast actor was nominated in the lead actor race. Both Hugh Laurie (“House”) and Kyle Chandler (“Friday Night Lights”) were up for the statue that year, with Chandler ultimately taking it home for a series that started on broadcast, but moved to satellite service DirecTV in its final year.

“This Is Us” previously won a People’s Choice Award, a Critics Choice Award, and an AFI Award, while Brown took home top acting honors at the Image Awards, as well. In addition to the aforementioned, “This Is Us” is making noise for the traditional 22-episode broadcast storytelling model with eight nominations in the five categories (drama series, lead actor, supporting actor, supporting actress, and guest actor). This is quite the comeback indeed.

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