For the first time, Downton Abbey is in the Oustanding Drama Series category, competing against some of the heavyweights of television.
PBS isn’t a station many think about when thinking about the upcoming Primetime Emmy Awards. But the last few years have made a world of difference for the network. While PBS wins Emmys every year, this year is different because of the excitement generated by their show Downton Abbey.
“This is such an exciting year, I want to be in the room,” PBS President Paula Kerger told Brian Stelter of the New York Times. Kerger will be attending the Emmy Awards this year along with her date for the evening, Donald Thoms, PBS vice president for arts and cultural programming.
“What’s different this year, for PBS, is the sheer number of nominations — 58, up from 43 and 32 the two prior years — and the tantalizing possibility of winning what is arguably the most sought-after award of the night: best drama,” said Stelter. The network’s current success at the Emmys is largely because of Downton Abbey, but that is not the only show up for awards.
“The British historical drama Downton Abbey, brought to America by PBS and Masterpiece, is up for best drama alongside AMC’s Mad Men and Breaking Bad, HBO’s Boardwalk Empire and Game of Thrones and Showtime’s Homeland,” said Stelter.
But the competition will be tough to beat. Mad Men has won the award for the past four years, but according to Stelter, no drama has ever won five times. And the timing is pretty bad for Downton Abbey too, because its third season doesn’t start until January, meaning it could be out of people’s minds when they cast their ballots.
“Downton took home the prize for best miniseries or movie last year, but was submitted in the series category instead this year,” said Stelter. “Ms. Kerger called it extraordinary to be nominated for best drama. Public broadcasting last won an Emmy in the category in 1977, for Upstairs, Downstairs, another British import.”
Kerger is so excited over the show, she hasn’t even picked her dress yet. She said she will figure it out before Saturday, when she flies to Los Angeles. The Primetime Emmy Awards will air Sunday at 7/6c, on ABC.