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A breakdown of this year's Emmy nominees

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Emmy nominations are out today, and if you guessed that "Succession" would be all over them, you would be correct. "Ted Lasso" and "The White Lotus" followed closely behind. And Linda Holmes, co-host of NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour, is here to give us more details. Hey, Linda.

LINDA HOLMES, BYLINE: Hi, Ailsa.

CHANG: Hi. OK, so let's start with the fun stuff - comedies. What do we have here?

HOLMES: Sure. So some past comedy series nominees are repeating, including "Curb Your Enthusiasm" and "Barry" on HBO, "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" on Amazon, "Hacks" on HBO Max, "What We Do In The Shadows," which is FX's vampire comedy, and "Ted Lasso" on Apple TV, which won last year. But there are a couple of new entries, including "Only Murders In The Building," the Hulu show with Steve Martin, Martin Short and Selena Gomez, and also "Abbott Elementary" on ABC, which was created by Quinta Brunson and was a real bright spot for a lot of people this year.

CHANG: And what's going on over in the drama categories?

HOLMES: Right, so also some repeats there - "Ozark" and "Stranger Things" from Netflix, "Better Call Saul" on AMC and HBO's "Succession." But there's still some - a lot of new action over there, too. "Euphoria" on HBO was nominated, as was "Yellowjackets" on Showtime. Netflix certainly had one of the most buzzy shows of the year with "Squid Game." They got a nomination for that. And "Severance," which is a very offbeat series that has a lot of admirers, myself included, got a nomination. That one is on Apple TV.

CHANG: OK, very nice. Well, something I want to know is, when we're looking at these numbers, like, we got 25 nominations for "Succession..."

HOLMES: Right.

CHANG: ...Twenty for "Ted Lasso," 20 for the White Lotus, which is the limited HBO series. I mean, like, how do these nomination totals get so high? Are these shows, like, that good?

HOLMES: Yeah, well, in the case of all three of those shows, the numbers get big because they have ensemble casts. So for instance, "Succession" has 25 nominations, and 14 of them are acting nominations between lead, supporting and guest categories. If you compare that to something like "Stranger Things," it has 13 nominations, but nobody in the cast was nominated. Same with "Ted Lasso" - 20 nominations and 10 for acting. "White Lotus" a little less, but 20 nominations and eight for acting. So a lot of times, it has to do with the size of a very good cast.

CHANG: OK. So I know that there are also a lot of nominations for series that were based on, like, real events this year, right?

HOLMES: Right, absolutely. "The Dropout," which is all about Elizabeth Holmes and the Theranos scandal; "Inventing Anna," which is about Anna Delvey, the so-called fake heiress; "Dopesick," which is about the opioid epidemic; and "Pam & Tommy," which is about one of the first big celebrity sex tapes - those are all nominated in this very competitive limited series category with "The White Lotus."

CHANG: And what about you, Linda? Like, are there any nominations that made you especially happy this year?

HOLMES: There were. Rhea Seehorn nominated for playing Kim on "Better Call Saul," J. Smith-Cameron nominated for playing Gerri on "Succession," Natasha Rothwell, who's wonderful, nominated for playing Belinda on "The White Lotus," and Sheryl Lee Ralph, who I have been enjoying on television since the late 1970s, got her first Emmy nomination for "Abbott Elementary," which is overdue and awesome.

CHANG: That is so awesome. All right, well, the Emmys will be airing in September, and we'll see how all these races pan out. That is NPR's Linda Holmes. Thank you so much, Linda.

HOLMES: Thank you, Ailsa. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Linda Holmes
Linda Holmes is a pop culture correspondent for NPR and the host of Pop Culture Happy Hour. She began her professional life as an attorney. In time, however, her affection for writing, popular culture, and the online universe eclipsed her legal ambitions. She shoved her law degree in the back of the closet, gave its living room space to DVD sets of The Wire, and never looked back.