PBS, ‘Frontline,’ ’60 Minutes,’ ‘Vice News Tonight’ Lead 2021 News and Documentary Emmy Nominations

PBS led all networks in nominations for the 42nd annual News and Documentary Emmy Awards, landing 52 overall — thanks to the strength of signature series “Frontline,” “Independent Lens,” “POV,” “Nova,” “PBS News Hour” and “Nature.”

The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences announced this year’s nominees on Tuesday morning, noting that more than 2,200 submissions were entered, from content that premiered in calendar year 2020. CNN was next with 41 nods, including five each for “AC360,” CNN Films and “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer.” CNN Films docs earning nominations included three for “John Lewis: Good Trouble.”

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When combined with various partnerships, “Frontline” landed the most nominations overall, with 19. Next in line, with 16 each, were CBS’ “60 Minutes” and Vice’s “Vice News Tonight.”

Best documentary nominations included three for PBS: Frontline’s “Once Upon A Time In Iraq,” Independent Lens’ “Belly of the Beast” and POV’s “Advocate.” They’re up against Netflix’s “Athlete A,” Showtime’s “The Trade” and the video on demand entry “Born To Be.” This year’s outstanding newscast noms went to “ABC World News Tonight with David Muir,” “NBC Nightly News,” ABC’s “Nightline,” MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show” and “Vice News Tonight.”

“In the unprecedented year of 2020, where a global health crisis had challenged our safety and survival and a presidential election shook the very bedrock of our democracy, these news and documentary professionals delivered the crucial, clear and factual reporting that gave us the tools and knowledge necessary to make the informed decisions that affected our everyday lives and indeed, our futures,” said NATAS president/CEO Adam Sharp.

More than 800 peer professionals from across the television and streaming/digital media news and documentary industry judged this year’s entries. Winners will be announced via two ceremonies: News categories on Monday, September 28, at 8 p.m. ET and documentary categories on Tuesday, September 29 at 8 p.m. ET. The ceremonies will be streamed live on NATAS’ dedicated viewing platform, available on the web at Watch.TheEmmys.TV and via The Emmys apps for iOS, tvOS, Android, FireTV, and Roku.

Here are some of the key categories and nominations:

Best Documentary

“Athlete A” (Netflix)
“Born To Be” (VOD)
Frontline, “Once Upon A Time In Iraq” (PBS)
Independent Lens, “Belly of the Beast” (PBS)
POV, “Advocate” (PBS)
“The Trade” (Showtime)

Outstanding Newscast

“ABC World News Tonight with David Muir” (ABC)
“NBC Nightly News” (NBC)
“Nightline” (ABC)
“The Rachel Maddow Show” (MSNBC)
“VICE News Tonight” (Vice)

Outstanding News Special

20/20, “Juneteenth” (ABC)
CBS News Special, “Bravery and Hope: 7 Days on the Front Line” (CBS)
CNN Special Report, “Witness to the Pandemic” (CNN)
Fareed Zakaria Special, “China’s Deadly Secret” (CNN)
Retro Report, “Enemies of the People: Trump and the Political Press” (Retro Report and Vice TV)

Outstanding Current Affairs Documentary

“Father Soldier Son” (Netflix)
Frontline, “United States of Conspiracy” (PBS)
Frontline, “Inside Italy’s COVID War” (PBS)
HBO Documentary Films, “Stockton on My Mind” (HBO)
Independent Lens, “Belly of the Beast” (PBS)
“The Trade” (Showtime)

Outstanding Politics and Government Documentary

“Kingdom of Silence” (Showtime)
POV, “Advocate” (PBS)
POV, “Softie” (PBS)
“The Perfect Weapon” (HBO)
“The Way I See It” (MSNBC)

Outstanding Social Issue Documentary

Independent Lens, “Rewind” (PBS)
“Not Done: Women Remaking America” (PBS)
POV, “The Rescue List”
“This Ain’t Normal” (VOD)
“With Drawn Arms” (Starz)

Outstanding Investigative Documentary

“Athlete A” (Netflix)
“Finding Yingying” (Pluto TV)
Frontline, “Return From ISIS” (PBS)
HBO Documentary Films, “Kill Chain: The Cyber War on America’s Election” (HBO)
HBO Documentary Films, “Agents of Chaos” (HBO)

Outstanding Historical Documentary

“Challenger: The Final Flight” (Netflix)
CNN Films, “John Lewis: Good Trouble” (CNN)
Fronline, “Once Upon A Time In Iraq” (PBS)
HBO Documentary Films, “The Art of Political Murder” (HBO)
HBO Documentary Films, “Bully. Coward. Victim. The Story of Roy Cohn” (HBO)

Outstanding Arts and Culture Documentary

CNN Films, “Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice” (CNN)
“Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool” (PBS)
“Mucho Mucho Amor: The Legend of Walter Mercado” (Netflix)
POV, “Our Time Machine” (PBS)
“The Sit-In: Harry Belafonte Hosts The Tonight Show” (Peacock)

Outstanding Science and Technology Documentary

“Connected: The Hidden Science of Everything” (Netflix)
“Ken Burns Presents The Gene: An Intimate History” (PBS)
Nova, “Human Nature” (PBS)
“Pandemic” (Netflix)
Secrets of the Solar System, “Mars” (CuriosityStream)
“The Surgeon’s Cut” (Netflix)

Outstanding Nature Documentary

“Jade Eyed Leopard” (Nat Geo Wild)
“Jane Goodall: The Hope” (National Geographic)
Nature, “Cuba’s Wild Revolution” (PBS)
Nova, “Nature’s Fear Factor” (PBS)
“The Last Ice” (National Geographic)

Outstanding Business and Economic Documentary

CNN Films, “Scandalous: The Untold Story of the National Enquirer” (CNN)
Frontline, “Amazon Empire: The Rise and Reign of Jeff Bezos” (PBS)
Frontline in partnership with Financial Times, “Opioids, Inc.” (PBS)
“31 Days in March: The Month Coronavirus Unraveled American Business” (Wall Street Journal)
Trafficked with Mariana van Zeller, “Scams” (National Geographic)
Voces, “Building the American Dream” (PBS)

Outstanding Short Documentary

“Church and the Fourth Estate” (Field of Vision)
Frontline in partnership with The Marshall Project, World Channel, “Tutwiler” (PBS)
Op-Docs, “Dying in Your Mother’s Arms” (New York Times)
POV Shorts, “The Love Bugs” (PBS)
The New Yorker Documentary, “When Humanitarian Aid Is Considered a Crime” (New Yorker/Conde Nast Entertainment)

Outstanding Newscast or News Magazine in Spanish

“Aquí y Ahora” (Univision)
“Noticias Telemundo 11:35” (Telemundo)
“Noticias Telemundo Emergencia Coronavirus Ultima Hora Noticiero” (Telemundo)
“Noticiero Telemundo” (Telemundo)
“Noticiero Univision” (Univision)

Outstanding Interactive Media: Current News

CNN Digital, “How American Police Gear up to Respond to Protests” (CNN)
“Inside The Fight to Save Houston’s Most Vulnerable” (New York Times)
“Living in the Unknown” (AJ Contrast, Al Jazeera Digital)
The Washington Post, “Reconstructing Seven Days of Protests in Minneapolis After George Floyd’s Death” (Washington Post)
“Visual Investigations: Police Misconduct & Racial Injustice in 2020” (New York Times)

Outstanding Interactive Media: Documentary

“In Event of Moon Disaster” (VOD/moondisaster.com)
“Micro Monsters with David Attenborough” (Oculus TV)
RT Creative Lab, “Lessons of Auschwitz VR project” (RT)
The Marshall Project, Sharp As Knives and Topic, “The Zo” (The Marshall Project and Topic)
Univision Noticias Digital, “Essential but Deportable: Undocumented Immigrants in the Trump Era” (Univision)

Outstanding Writing: News

60 Minutes, “Exhume the Truth” (CBS)
60 Minutes, “Life & Death” (CBS)
60 Minutes, “Putin’s Public Enemy” (CBS)
Nightline, “Facing Racism” (ABC)
CBS Evening News with Norah O’Donnell, “On the Road: Steve Hartman” (CBS)

Outstanding Writing: Documentary

20/20, “In the Cold Dark Night” (ABC)
Frontline, “Policing the Police 2020” (PBS)
Frontline in partnership with Financial Times, “Opioids, Inc.” (PBS)
Op-Docs, “Hysterical Girl” (New York Times)
“The Story of Plastic” (Discovery Channel)

Outstanding Direction: News

ABC News, “Your Voice Your Vote 2020: The Democratic Debate” (ABC)
AC360, “Coronavirus: Facts and Fears Town Hall” (CNN)
CBS News, Director: Renee Cullen (CBS)
Election Week in America, Director: Reza Baktar (CNN)
Today, Director: Jim Gaines (NBC)

Outstanding Direction: Documentary

“Born To Be” (VOD)
Frontline, “Inside Italy’s COVID War” (PBS)
Independent Lens, “Belly of the Beast” (PBS)
Independent Lens, “Rewind” (PBS)
“The Trade” (Showtime)

Outstanding Cinematography: Documentary

“Epic Animal Migrations: Mexico” (Smithsonian Channel)
“Hidden Kingdoms of China” (National Geographic)
Nature, “Cuba’s Wild Revolution” (PBS)
“The Last Ice” (National Geographic)
“The Trade” (Showtime)
The Weekly, “The Sicario” (FX)

For a full list of nominees, go here.

Nominees By Outlet

PBS 52
CNN 41
CBS 30
ABC 22
Vice 20
New York Times 19
Univision 15
HBO 13
Netflix 13
National Geographic 7
Showtime 7
Telemundo 6
CNN en Español 3
FX 3
Washington Post 3
Discovery Channel 2
Nat Geo Wild 2
Oculus TV 2
Retro Report and Vice TV 2
Smithsonian Channel 2
Marshall Project and Topic 2
Vox 2
Wall Street Journal 2

[Photo: Frontline, “Once Upon a Time in Iraq”]

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