Ali Goldstein/Amazon Studios/AP
'Mozart in the Jungle' stars Gael Garcia Bernal (l.) and Malcolm McDowell (r.).

Golden Globes: Why cable and streaming shows dominate the TV nominations

Broadcast TV programs are almost entirely absent from the Golden Globes TV nominees, with Fox's 'Empire' being the only broadcast show to make the cut for the best drama series or best comedy series nominations. What does this say about TV?

While the films selected by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association to receive Golden Globes often become part of the Oscars season conversation, the TV prizes given out by the HFPA also often provide an interesting look at where TV is now. 

And this year, the nominees for the major prizes of best drama series and best comedy series show the dominance of cable and streaming programs, as only one broadcast TV show (Fox’s “Empire” – a first-year show, no less) made the cut for either category. All the other nominees for both awards were from cable or streaming, the latter being a form of TV that has experienced a meteoric rise. 

Cable is a force in the drama category, with HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” USA’s “Mr. Robot,” and Starz’s “Outlander” all contending for the prize. Netflix’s “Narcos” also made the cut, as did "Empire."

Meanwhile, streaming programs dominated the comedy category. Four of the six nominees are from streaming (Amazon’s “Mozart in the Jungle” and “Transparent,” Hulu’s “Casual,” and Netflix’s “Orange Is the New Black”). Meanwhile, HBO’s “Silicon Valley” and “Veep” made the cut, too. 

Is this a huge shift? Nominees each year of course depend on TV offerings and the whims of the HFPA. The dominance of cable and climb of streaming can be seen in the Golden Globes TV series nominees of the past several years, though more broadcast shows usually made the cut.

Last year, only CBS’s “The Good Wife” (drama) and the CW’s “Jane the Virgin” (comedy) received nominations in terms of broadcast shows. The year before, almost all the comedy series nominees were from broadcast, but they were all excluded this year (one, “Parks and Recreation,” is over).

These nominees aren’t surprising for our current TV landscape. HBO has been a force at awards shows for years – it’s been 17 years since its acclaimed show “The Sopranos” debuted. Other cable networks have also become contenders in these categories.

But these contenders show how widespread TV of quality is now. Netflix is a force, but cable networks like USA and Starz and streaming services like Hulu are on the rise, too. 

And they demonstrate just how quickly streaming has established itself in the pop culture conversation and at awards shows. 

Robert Thompson, director of the Bleier Center for Television and Popular Culture at Syracuse University’s Newhouse School, points out that streaming has gone from winning its first high-profile Emmy Award in 2013 with "House of Cards" to dominating the comedy series Golden Globes category in 2016. 

In terms of the lack of broadcast shows, Mr. Thompson says in an interview with The Christian Science Monitor, “If people were taken aback by how few broadcast were there... they haven't been paying attention.” 

He says both cable and streaming have advantages in terms of being able to produce good programming. 

“They've got a great advantage of having shortened seasons,” he points out. A show like Amazon’s “Transparent” airs 10 episodes a season, while a show like CBS’s “The Good Wife” usually airs 22.

These nominees could also be an indicator of what network or streaming service is about to become a big presence, too. Thompson points to Hulu, which he says hasn’t had a culture-dominating hit yet. 

But “they're poised to do a lot of things,” he says.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to

QR Code to Golden Globes: Why cable and streaming shows dominate the TV nominations
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today