Riz Ahmed

Emmy nominations pit mainstream programs against niche fare

"This Is Us." And that is them.

When Emmy nominations were announced Thursday, one side of the TV coin hinted that broadcast's cultural relevance might be staging a comeback. This was thanks largely to the 11 nods granted NBC's "This Is Us," which broke out last fall as something no one had seen in years: a hit mainstream family drama that had everybody talking (and sometimes choking up) while critics swooned.

The show's hold on the nation's hearts and eyeballs was further demonstrated by Emmy nominations that include those for best drama series, two for lead actor, and two more for best supporting actor and supporting actress.

NBC also scored...