LOS ANGELES - The Emmy Awards are television's biggest celebration of itself, but this year's ceremony will face an intruder: "House of Cards," the first online series to nab a top nomination with its best drama series.
The nomination, one of nine nods earned by the political thriller, is a marker in the unfolding revolution in how audiences receive and watch video entertainment. Netflix's triumph on Thursday also included nods for its revival of "Arrested Development."
Kevin Spacey, the nominated star of the political drama "House of Cards," reveled in its role as a groundbreaker.
It's "really, in many ways, kind of a new paradigm," he said. "It's just a great, great thing for all of us."
A 6-year-old TV academy rules change allows online entries to compete with cable and broadcast programs, but until Thursday online shows popped up only in lower-profile categories.
"It's really groundbreaking," said Ted Sarandos, chief content officer for Netflix. "It's beyond our most bold expectations. We were thinking a single nomination would be a win."
Netflix's triumph is putting a further squeeze on the four major U.S. broadcast networks, which already have lost substantial Emmy ground to cable. New network offerings were almost completely shut out and, like last year, no network drama made the nominations cut.
Besides the showing by Netflix, the leading number of nominations went to a cable miniseries, FX's "American Horror Story: Asylum." HBO fielded the next top nominees: "Game of Thrones" with 16 nods and the Liberace biopic "Behind the Candelabra" earned 15 nominations.
NBC's "Saturday Night Live" came in with 15 as well, but it, outgoing "30 Rock" (also NBC, 13 bids) and "Modern Family" (ABC, 12 nominations) had the only impressive tallies for broadcast.
The bonanza of nominations for "Game of Thrones" is the swords-and-fantasy show's most-ever and includes a best drama series nod and three acting bids, including one for Peter Dinklage.
Recognition went to a number of other primarily big-screen actors who have migrated to TV for powerhouse projects, with Michael Douglas and Matt Damon for "Under the Candelabra" among them.
Joining "House of Cards" and "Game of Thrones" in the best drama series category are "Breaking Bad," `'Downton Abbey," `'Mad Men" and last year's winner, "Homeland."
"Mad Men," which last year missed out on the best drama trophy that would have been its record-setting fifth, gets another shot this year. But the show and its creator failed to receive any writing nominations for the first time in the series' six-year history.
Besides "American Horror Story: Asylum," others nominated in the miniseries or movie category are "Behind the Candelabra," `'Phil Spector," `'Political Animals," `'Top of the Lake" and "The Bible," which was a hit for the History channel and is getting a sequel on NBC.
Hot British actor Benedict Cumberbatch, who gained fame in "Sherlock" and played the villain in "Star Trek Into Darkness," is nominated as best lead actor in the movie and miniseries category for "Parade's End."
In the comedy series category, nominees are "The Big Bang Theory," `'Girls," `'Louie," `'Modern Family," `'Veep" and "30 Rock," recognized for its final season. Another outgoing comedy, "The Office," didn't receive a best series nod.
Joining Spacey in the contest for best drama series actor are Hugh Bonneville of "Downton Abbey"; Jon Hamm of "Mad Men"; Jeff Daniels of "The Newsroom" and Damian Lewis of "Homeland," last year's winner.
Kevin Bacon, one of the big-screen stars trying their hand at TV, was not recognized in the category for "The Following."
"Breaking Bad," now in its final episodes on AMC, goes out with a best drama Emmy nomination.
"What's so great about this thing is it's going to bring us all back together. A little family reunion. So we get to come back together and celebrate the time we had together and the work that we did. It's very exciting," said "Breaking Bad" actor and best supporting nominee Aaron Paul, who co-hosted the award announcement with Neil Patrick Harris, a last-minute substitute for "House of Cards" actress Kate Mara.
Actresses nominated for their drama series work include Robin Wright of "House of Cards"; Vera Farmiga of "Bates Hotel"; Michelle Dockery of "Downtown Abbey;" Elisabeth Moss of "Mad Men"; Connie Britton of "Nashville"; and Kerry Washington of "Scandal." Claire Danes, last year's winner for "Homeland," also got a nod.
The nominees for best actor in a comedy are Jason Bateman, "Arrested Development"; Jim Parsons, "The Big Bang Theory"; Matt LeBlanc, "Episodes"; Don Cheadle, "House of Lies"; Louis C.K., "Louie"; and Alec Baldwin, "30 Rock."
Actresses competing for top comedy acting honors are Laura Dern for "Enlightened"; Lena Dunham for "Girls"; Edie Falco for "Nurse Jackie"; Amy Poehler for "Parks and Recreation" and Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who claimed the trophy last year for "Veep."
Maggie Smith was nominated again as best supporting actress in a drama for "Downton Abbey," which has brought her two trophies. Julie Bowen is up for supporting actress in a comedy for "Modern Family."
The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences' Emmy ceremony, hosted by Neil Patrick Harris, will air Sept. 22 on CBS.
AP Entertainment Writers Sandy Cohen and Anthony McCartney contributed to this report.