LOS ANGELES

AFP

Netflix political drama “House of Cards” hopes to make television history this weekend by becoming the first online-only series ever to win a major Emmy award.

The series, starring Oscar winner Kevin Spacey as scheming US congressman Francis Underwood, is nominated in nine categories including best drama and best actor at the Emmys, the Oscars of the television world.

“Breaking Bad,” “Homeland” and “Mad Men” are key rivals for the coveted top drama prize, while “American Horror Story: Asylum” has the most nominations with 17 nods at the 65th annual primetime Emmy awards ceremony in Los Angeles.

Elton John will make his first ever appearance at the show in a tribute to piano legend Liberace, the subject of acclaimed biopic “Behind the Candelabra” — whose stars Michael Douglas and Matt Damon will be among the presenters.

Other stars handing out awards include Alec Baldwin of “30 Rock,” “Breaking Bad” star Bryan Cranston and “Homeland” nominee Claire Danes, while Sunday’s show will be hosted by “How I Met Your Mother” star Neil Patrick Harris.

“House of Cards,” inspired by a BBC series from the early 1990s, was made exclusively for Netflix, the online movie streaming website, which put all 13 episodes online in February in one fell swoop.

The series’ success highlights the radical changes underway in the TV industry, with more and more viewers “cutting the cable” and watching favorite shows via the Internet on cellphones, tablets and so-called “smart TVs.”

“Anyone who has recently been in a college dorm room or the home of a twentysomething may have noticed there is something missing: a television,” the LA Times noted.

“More and more young people are accessing TV content on their computers, iPads or cellphones. Somebody is going to profit from this and, right now, Netflix seems well positioned to be the chosen one.”

Other nominees for best drama include “Downton Abbey” and “Game of Thrones” — marking the first time no series from a mainstream US television network has been nominated in the category.

Cranston and Spacey are frontrunners for the best drama actor prize, while other nominees are Jon Hamm for “Mad Men,” Jeff Daniels for “The Newsroom” and Britons Damian Lewis (“Homeland”) and Hugh Bonneville (“Downton Abbey.”)