“The White Lotus,” “Ozark” and “Dopesick” nabbed early awards at the 74th annual Emmy Awards, as HBO and Netflix geared up for another in their now-annual battles for supremacy in the realm of prestige TV.
Julia Garner received her third Emmy for her supporting role as Ruth in Netflix’s grim drama “Ozark.” Matthew Macfadyen took the supporting actor award for HBO’s “Succession,” this year’s most-nominated program, joined by fellow first-time winners Michael Keaton for the Hulu limited series “Dopesick,” and Murray Bartlett for HBO’s “The White Lotus.”
Netflix tied a 47-year-old record (originally set by CBS) with a total of 44 Emmys last year across the Creative Arts Awards, dedicated primarily to technical categories, and the main telecast. That included sweeping the top drama categories with “The Crown,” which didn’t air during this year’s eligibility period.
HBO and HBO Max topped all platforms coming into this year’s primary telecast, with 26 awards, versus 23 for Netflix. Both were well ahead of the nearest competitors, Disney+ and Hulu – both owned by Disney – with nine and eight wins, respectively. (Like CNN, HBO is a unit of Warner Bros. Discovery.)
HBO was the most-honored network in 2019 and 2020, tying with Netflix the year before that.
Hosted by Kenan Thompson, the ceremony kicked off with a tribute to TV theme songs, and a standing ovation for Oprah Winfrey, who presented the first award of the night.
After record-low ratings in 2020 with a virtual ceremony, viewership of the Emmys rebounded last year to an estimated 7.4 million viewers – still low by historic standards, but a marked improvement over the previous two years.
Ratings for linear TV have been declining in general, and the Emmys are perceived to have been impacted by nominating fewer widely popular shows as streaming has taken over the awards competition.
TV rights to the Emmys rotate among the four major broadcast networks. This year’s show moved from its usual Sunday broadcast because it’s airing on NBC, which carries “Sunday Night Football.”