Watch the 2018 Emmy Awards nominations live

Rachel Brosnahan The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times for freshman series on Emmy nominations day, depending whether they are in the drama or comedy side.

Jessica Biel (The Sinner), Penelope Cruz (The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story), John Legend (Jesus Christ, Superstar), Ricky Martin (The Assassination of Gianni Versace) and Katt Williams (Atlanta) are all first-time nominees this year. The company spends about $8 billion a year on new shows and films, far exceeding HBO and other competitors.

Comedy series: Atlanta; Barry; Black-ish; Curb Your Enthusiasm; GLOW; The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel; Silicon Valley; and The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.

For the most part, though, this year's categories mark a pretty fair representation of TV's best and brightest, while adding drama to the battle that's been brewing to its two foremost bidders for awards prestige.

Second round voting takes place in August while the ceremony itself will be beamed live from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles on September 17 on NBC - hosted by "Saturday Night Live" duo Colin Jost and Michael Che. He earned the series' first major award in 2017, when he won the Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Actor in a Comedy Series.

"I think we're all happy with the direction we're going".

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It was a deep year of nominations for minority performers, who accounted for over one-third of Thursday's acting nominees. Its fellow HBO drama Westworld had 21 nominations this year, as did Saturday Night Live.

Markle's name was submitted for "Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series" for her role as Rachel Zane on "Suits", but the newly-minted royal wasn't nominated.

HBO's fantasy dragons-and-swords saga is a two-time best drama victor that sat out the last year's awards because of its production schedule.

"The reaction is beyond what you hoped, but in some ways it's a testament to the alchemy that comes from a lot of people working together and putting their best work into it", said "Handmaid's" executive producer Bruce Miller.

Lead actor in a drama series: Jason Bateman (Ozark); Sterling K Brown (This Is Us); Ed Harris (Westworld); Matthew Rhys (The Americans); Milo Ventimiglia (This Is Us); and Jeffrey Wright (Westworld).

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