ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:
Speaking of TV, HBO's "Game Of Thrones" and "Veep" scored lots of nominations today for the 68th Emmy Awards. No surprise there. The Emmy Academy also gave some shows first-time nods for best series like "Mr. Robot" and "The Americans."
NPR TV critic Eric Deggans says a refreshing trend emerged as the Television Academy chose more shows that are currently at their creative peak than it usually does.
ERIC DEGGANS, BYLINE: "Black-ish" star Anthony Anderson co-hosted the Emmy nominations announcements today, and he couldn't hold back the joy when his name came up.
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LAUREN GRAHAM: Anthony...
ANTHONY ANDERSON: (Screaming).
ANDERSON: Hi, mama. I know you're watching. Hi, mama.
ANDERSON: Thank you.
DEGGANS: Anderson, who was nominated as Outstanding Lead Actor in a comedy, had good reason to celebrate. Along with his own, "Black-ish" got nominations as Outstanding Comedy Series and for his co-star Tracee Ellis Ross as Outstanding Lead Actress in a comedy. It was a fitting reward for the show's stellar second season.
That turned out to be a welcome trend in this year's Emmy nominations, which felt like they were honoring the quality of today's expanded television universe in real time. Shows that are changing TV right now like USA's "Mr. Robot," FX's "The Americans" and Netflix's "Master Of None" all got recognition. Of course, when it comes to the Emmys, some things stay the same.
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DEGGANS: For the second year in a row, HBO's "Game Of Thrones" was the most nominated series with 23 nominations, followed by FX's "The People V. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story" which got 22. In fact, HBO continued its stranglehold on the Emmy contest, earning the most nods of any TV outlet with 94 total. They had the most nominated drama series, "Game Of Thrones," and the most nominated comedy series in "Veep."
But Emmy also gave an impressive number of nods to first-time nominees including Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell of FX's often snubbed "The Americans." And Rami Malek got his first nod playing an anti-social hacker on USA Network's groundbreaking drama "Mr. Robot."
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RAMI MALEK: (As Elliot Alderson) The world itself is just one big hoax. Our social media faking is intimacy. I'm not saying anything new. We all know why we do this - not because "Hunger Games" books makes us happy, but because we want to be sedated.
DEGGANS: But honoring talented newbies meant snubbing some former winners. CBS's "The Good Wife," which ended its run this year, got shut out in major categories, along with star Julianna Margulies. Netflix's "Orange Is The New Black" was almost entirely snubbed, along with co-star Uzo Aduba who won a Supporting Actress Award last year. "The Daily Show," which got a new host in Trevor Noah last year, was snubbed for the first time since 2001. And Stephen Colbert, "A Daily Show" alum who took over CBS's "The Late Show" was also snubbed. In fact, Colbert was overshadowed by network sibling James Corden who hosts "The Late Late Show" and got his first nominations today, including for a special featuring his buzzed about viral segment Carpool Karaoke.
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ADELE AND JAMES CORDEN: (Singing) So here's a story from A to Z. You want to get with me? You better listen carefully. We got Em in the place who likes it in your face. You got G on MC...
DEGGANS: Ethnic and racial diversity also played out well. In a serious contrast to the Oscars, every lead acting category in the Emmys included at least one nonwhite nominee.
As a critic, I had some personal favorites. It was great to see "Fargo's" Bokeem Woodbine get a supporting actor nod as self-aware gangster Mike Milligan. And Constance Zimmer from Lifetime's "UnREAL" scored a key supporting actress nod as fire-breathing reality TV producer, Quinn King.
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CONSTANCE ZIMMER: (As Quinn King) OK. Come on. Let's go, people. Protect the wifeys (ph) Anna and Grace and starve our villain Britney until she is mean like a pit bull. You get cash bonuses for nudity, 911 calls, cat fights, all right? Have a good show, everybody.
DEGGANS: So this slate of nominees avoids the Emmy's old habit of missing new trends until they're years old. And when the winners are announced on September 18, they're much more likely to honor the best of what's on television right now. I'm Eric Deggans. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.