Awards season isn't always the most exciting time for television, simply because some networks sweep nominations year after year. Smaller channels just don't always have the acclaim and/or budget to compete with the likes of HBO and FX and even Netflix. The 2016 Emmy nominations have now been released, and there are a couple of surprises on the roster that are a big win for an unlikely network: Lifetime. The channel known for its made-for-TV movies and reality series has secured two Emmy noms for its acclaimed drama series UnREAL, and one of them is a pretty huge deal.
UnREAL actress Constance Zimmer has been nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Drama for the 2016 Emmy Awards. It's a big nomination in a big category that could put Lifetime on the map as a network with quality ongoing series. Lifetime has secured nominations in the past, but mostly for made-for-TV movies, limited series events, and reality programming. UnREAL involves reality television insofar as the plot follows the fictional behind-the-scenes action of a dating reality series, but unlike reality shows, it is a scripted original.
Constance Zimmer's competition for Outstanding Supporting Actress are Maggie Smith of PBS' Downton Abbey, Lena Headey of HBO's Game of Thrones, Emilia Clarke of Game of Thrones, Maisie Williams of Game of Thrones, and Maura Tierney of Showtime's The Affair. One of these networks is very much not like the others when it comes to usual awards recognition, and Lifetime may benefit from Zimmer's nomination far more than PBS, HBO, and Showtime will from theirs. It's hard to say at this point what Zimmer's odds are for winning in her category, but she has already beat out Maura Tierney to win the 2016 Critics' Choice Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series.
UnREAL scored another nomination in addition to Constance Zimmer for Outstanding Supporting Actress. Writers Marti Noxon and Sarah Gertrude Shapiro are nominated for Outstanding Writing For A Drama Series for the episode "Return," which was actually the pilot. Zimmer stole the show as Quinn King from the very beginning, so it's only fitting that the pilot episode gets some recognition from the same Emmys that have nominated Zimmer.
Outstanding Writing For A Drama Series isn't nearly as major a category as Outstanding Supporting Actress to win some attention for Lifetime, but it is a sign that Lifetime is producing a series that is of a high enough quality to compete with the likes of The Americans, Downton Abbey, Game of Thrones, The Good Wife, and Mr. Robot on the writing front. For any whose curiosity might be piqued by Constance Zimmer's nomination, the Outstanding Writing nom might be enough to push them to Lifetime to give UnREAL a try.
The 68th Annual Emmy Awards won't air until Sunday, September 18 on ABC, but Season 2 of UnREAL is currently airing new episodes on Lifetime. Hopefully, the release of the Emmy nominations will be enough for Lifetime to start reaping the rewards of the award recognition before Constance Zimmer hits the red carpet in September. Season 3 is already on the way, so Zimmer should have even more chances to show off her acting chops as Quinn on Lifetime. Check out the full list of nominees for the 2016 Emmys, and don't forget to take a look at our fall TV premiere schedule.