HBO took home Emmy Awards for the sixth time in eight years on Monday night, dominating television’s biggest night thanks to the darkly humorous show Continuity and White Lotus.
The network, a division of Warner Bros. Discovery, earned a 12 during the Monday primetime telecast. No other network has won more than four. Continuity won the best drama series for the second time White lotus was named Best Limited Series. Apple Ted Lassowhich is produced by the Warner Bros TV studio, was the best comedy series.
As more people tune in to the Oscars, which honor the best movies of the year, the Emmys have become the focus of competition between the world’s biggest media and technology companies as they seek to expand their new streaming services. Netflix, for example, has spent tens of millions of dollars chasing awards that validate its shows in the eyes of viewers and talent.
Netflix and HBO led the nominees in 2022, as they have for the past six years. HBO, which earned more nominations than any network this year, has remained the gold standard among peers despite changing ownership twice in the past decade. It has won Best Drama Series four times Game of Thrones and now twice over Continuity.
Created by Jesse Armstrong, Continuity stumbles upon the pettiness, privilege, and fragile egos of the wealthy, in this case a family that owns a media empire that bears some resemblance to the real-life Murdoch and Redstone families.
Netflix’s recent subscriber losses have cast a pall over the entertainment industry this year. Companies spent billions of dollars to attract as many customers as possible to their new streaming services, but instead investors demanded profits. Shares of all major entertainment companies have fallen this year.
This made Netflix a perfect target for the Emmy host for a long time Saturday Night Live cast Kenan Thompson.
“Squid game it’s a contest you enter when you’re in massive debt and in desperate need of cash. Joining the cast next season? Netflix,” Thompson joked at the start of the program, later adding that he would donate his salary from the late-night show to the company. The ceremony took place at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles and was broadcast live on NBC and its affiliate streaming service Peacock.
Despite the company winning Emmys previously awarded in other categories, Netflix only picked up three as of Monday night. The debut season of his drama Squid game won awards for directing and acting, the first series in a language other than English to win one of the top awards. It won a total of six prizes, ranking second among all shows.
“I sincerely hope Squid game won’t be the last non-English-language series to be presented at the Emmys,” creator Hwang Dong-hyuk said after accepting the directing award.
Yet a year after it won best drama series Crown and the best limited edition for Queen’s GambitNetflix handed over both categories to HBO.
The Emmys showcased the breadth and depth of programming on HBO and its affiliated streaming service, HBO Max. Comedies Haki and Barry won several prizes as well Euphoria, a drama about promiscuous teenagers. The show won six awards, including Best Actress in a Drama Series for its star Zendaya.
The biggest winner of the evening was White lotus, writer Mike White’s drama about the relationship between wealthy guests and hotel staff at a luxury resort in Hawaii. It won in the limited series categories, taking home prizes for writing, directing and acting. In total, the show won 10 prizes.
HBO continues to churn out award-winning programming as its new owner, Warner Bros. Discovery, looks to cut costs company-wide. CEO David Zaslav has pledged to continue funding HBO and earlier this year extended the contract of Casey Bloys, the network’s head of programming. However, Bloys did have to lay off about 14% of its programming staff earlier this year. The company is reportedly set to lay off more employees on Tuesday.
Best Comedy Series was the only one of the three major awards that HBO did not win on Monday night. This prize went to Apple Ted Lasso. The story about an American soccer coach who takes over a British soccer team won the award two years in a row, an early confirmation of Apple’s foray into Hollywood. The tech giant also won Best Picture at the Oscars earlier this year code. Ted Lasso won four awards Monday night, including for director and star Jason Sudeikis.
Although the Emmys are most prominently televised, the show has recently evolved into a crowning of the best shows on premium cable networks and streaming services. Abbott Elementary and Saturday Night Live were the only shows to debut on the air and win an award on Monday night.
“Tonight we’re celebrating the hundreds and hundreds of shows that have been made this year, and then we’re honoring about five of them,” Thompson said during his opening monologue. — (c) 2022 Bloomberg LP