Adam Buckman is a contributor to AwardsLine
The Emmy Awards is a game of winners and losers — in most categories, one winner, four losers. But for a whole swath of contenders in the highly competitive drama categories — hour-long dramas on basic cable channels — the challenge is as simple as just being allowed in the final competition. Because while some of TV’s most compelling one-hour dramas are now found on channels that lay between the broadcast and premium networks, these shows are consistently left out in the cold come Emmy time.
The attention in the drama categories still consistently goes to drama series on pay cable channels or broadcast networks. Never mind the actual awards — actual nominations for dramatic series on basic cable, though not unheard of, are still few and far between even as the ranks of quality dramas on basic cable have swelled in recent seasons.
Related: EMMYS: Drama Series Overview
This lack of love from the Emmys doesn’t go unnoticed by producers of some of basic cable’s most critically acclaimed shows. “I’m a little bit rankled at the Television Academy and the Emmys because Rescue Me received so little recognition,” says Peter Tolan, executive producer of the drama series about a group of New York City firefighters that he co-created with comedian Denis Leary. Rescue Me ended its seven-season run on FX last September. Over the years, it received eight Emmy nominations, winning one — a guest-actor Emmy for Michael J. Fox. Leary was nominated once in the best dramatic actor category and lost.