Emmys: 'Orange Is the New Black' to Compete as a Comedy

10:00 AM PST 03/12/2014 by Stacey Wilson
Netflix
"Orange Is The New Black"

UPDATED: Meanwhile, HBO's anthology series "True Detective" could battle "Breaking Bad" in the drama series category.

This story first appeared in the March 21 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

After storming last year's Emmys with House of Cards, Netflix is prepping its next line of attack. The streaming service will submit Orange Is the New Black, Jenji Kohan's acclaimed one-hour prison dramedy, for consideration as a comedy, potentially giving Netflix nominations in both series categories at the Aug. 25 ceremony.

The move makes sense. Even though Orange competed (and lost) as a drama at the Golden Globes in January, the Emmy series category is overloaded with contenders. In addition to Cards, AMC's 2013 winner Breaking Bad is eligible for its final eight episodes, and there is chatter that HBO might submit its white-hot anthology True Detective as a series rather than a miniseries. (HBO declined comment.) Orange now likely will compete against ABC's four-time comedy series winner Modern Family, HBO's Veep and CBS' The Big Bang Theory.

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Says a Netflix spokesperson: "Jenji's vision has been uncompromising, and while the show tackles real issues, it does so through its use of humor. Orange uniquely blends comedy and drama in its hourlong episodes and simply defies standard categorization."

Splitting Cards and Orange means Netflix will not have to position its hottest contenders against each other for drama, a predicament that befalls Showtime, whose two new drama series -- Ray Donovan and Masters of Sex -- will compete against two-time nominee Homeland. (HBO could campaign for four series: Game of Thrones, The Newsroom, Boardwalk Empire and, potentially, Detective.)

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Emmy has a history of touting comedic hourlong series: Fox's Ally McBeal won best comedy in 1999, ABC's Desperate Housewives scored a nom in 2005, and Fox's Glee landed in the race for its first two seasons in 2010 and 2011. In addition, Orange star Taylor Schilling has a better chance of scoring a lead comedy actress nom with 30 Rock's Tina Fey and Enlightened's Laura Dern gone.

And, despite appearing in only six episodes of Homeland, 2012 Emmy winner Damian Lewis will be pushed for lead actor. This saves him from opposing fellow Showtime talent Jon Voight, who won the supporting actor Globe in January for Donovan.

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