Freewheeling Internet series enjoy that same edge, and have the benefit of a growing number of viewers at ease with looking past TV to watch shows on their device of choice. Are the Emmys destined to be an all-online beauty pageant?
Not so fast, said historian Brooks.
"That's quite a ways down the road. ... It was really 20 years before cable started to score major hits like 'The Sopranos,'" he said. And while Netflix's bid for prestige is impressive, "there just aren't as many Netflixes as there are cable hits."
Lynn Elber is a national television columnist for The Associated Press. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @lynnelber.