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Emmys show ‘Big Four’ networks not dead yet

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Story highlights

Ed Bark: Emmy nominations indicated Big Four networks were going to be losers again

Bark: But an unusually high percentage of trophies went to traditional networks this year

Broadcast networks won marquee categories, he said, matching or exceeding HBO

Bark: Could be a fluke or a last stand as more cable outlets make original, quality series

Editor’s Note: Ed Bark, former longtime TV critic with The Dallas Morning News, blogs about TV at the website unclebarky.com. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the writer.

CNN —  

Maybe it was just a case of delaying the inevitable during Monday’s 66th Primetime Emmy Awards ceremony.

Having showered an array of major nominations on cable, Netflix and movie stars while seeming to further diminish the so-called “Big Four” broadcast networks, Emmy voters in a sense recanted on the big night.

Eleven of the 25 trophies – an unusually high percentage these days – went to traditional over-the-air networks, while Netflix and the marquee movie stars got shut out. As they’ve tended to do in the past, voters instead rinsed and repeated by rewarding previous winners.

Ed Bark
Courtesy of Ed Bark
Ed Bark

The six main categories are instructive.

AMC’s “Breaking Bad” defended last year’s championship in the Best Drama Series as it knocked off HBO’s much-heralded “True Detective,” which won just one Emmy all night.

In the Best Comedy Series, ABC’s “Modern Family” prevailed for the fifth year in a row, tying the record set by NBC’s “Frasier.” Netflix’s drama-fueled “Orange is the New Black,” which entered itself in this category, did go to jail but did not collect any Emmys.

Julianna Margulies added to the broadcast network glow by winning a second Lead Actress in a Drama Series Emmy, this time for her role in CBS’ “The Good Wife.”

For the first time at any of this year’s major awards ceremonies, Matthew McConaughey came away empty-handed in the Lead Actor in a Drama Series for his showy role in HBO’s “True Detective.” Bryan Cranston out dueled him and won his fourth Emmy for “Breaking Bad.”