HBO Steamrolls the competition at the 2022 Emmys, capping a tumultuous summer

Between Netflix’s subscriber issues and cost-cutting at Warner Bros. Discovery, the summer hasn’t been particularly easy in Hollywood. But you wouldn’t know that watching the 74th Primetime Emmy Awards on Monday night.

Of course, host Kenan Thompson snuck into a beard about Netflix – ‘massively and desperately in debt for cash’ – joining the cast of the next season of the global breakout squid game. And Thompson’s Saturday Night Live coworker Bowen Yang joked that he was willing to fill in if Thompson “disappears right away like a show on HBO Max.” But as most awards experts predicted, HBO and its sister streamer, HBO Max, rocked the competition, ending the night with 12 trophies thanks in large part to Emmy darling’s performance. Succession and newcomer The White Lotus.

Taking into account the Creative Arts Emmys, which were handed out on Labor Day weekend, networks owned by Warner Bros. Discovery have won even more trophies. A dominant Emmy season was all but guaranteed after snagging 140 industry-leading nominations in July.

And while Netflix only picked up three wins during the Emmys broadcast (behind Apple, with four wins for the enjoyment of the audience Ted Lasso) the streamer also picked up substantial wins at the Creative Arts Emmys for squid game and stranger things, among others. Perhaps most importantly, the first streamer to win an Emmy has shown that, even amid some commercial stumbles, he can still make history by scoring two major wins for squid gamethe Korean thriller that broke ground for international shows at the Emmys.

Even broadcast TV – which seemed to be heading for a slow demise since the advent of streaming – had a good night thanks to the success of the first year. Abbott Elementary Schoolwho won an acting award for veteran actress Sheryl Lee Ralph and a writing trophy for its creator and star, Quinta Brunson.

Although Hollywood spends millions on awards campaigns, it’s unclear how much of a correlation there is between a company’s ability to bring home some material and its bottom line. But no executive will tell you that they approve of these big FYC budgets because they hope they will translate into bigger profits. Rewards are really about influence – and if they help bring in a few extra viewers (or subscribers), that’s icing on the cake.

For Netflix, the rewards are about proving its power in Hollywood and building its reputation among top talent. It’s never been more important for the streamer, who got TV talent talking when he revealed plans to limit content spending amid subscriber losses. At HBO, meanwhile, Emmy’s continued dominance shows it can continue to compete with deep-pocketed streamers, even as it sees a revolving door of cost-conscious owners. John Smartfor HBO Max Comedy Series Lead Actress hacks– its second in two years – also comes amid growing concerns over the future of the streamer’s original programming, which will be merged with Discovery+ next year. (Warner Bros. Discovery management, for what it’s worth, said HBO and HBO Max would be “the centerpiece” of this new streaming service.)

Although HBO’s high end Casey Bloys recently signed a new contract, there’s no better way to burnish his reputation with new boss David Zaslav than hearing his name on the lips of Emmy winner after Emmy winner. At least until he has to take the awards gauntlet again next year.


Live Updates from the 2022 Emmys

Succession versus. Squid Game, Ted Lasso versus. Barry, and of course, red carpet fashion. Follow updates.


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