Tonight, television will broadcast a celebration of all things television. The 68th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards, organized by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, will honor the biggest and best shows in TV in the past year (with a little help and campaigning from their respective networks, of course). Red carpet coverage starts at 7PM ET on ABC, with the awards themselves starting at 8PM ET. You'll be able to stream everything live via ABC's website or via its Android / iOS app — in all those cases, that's going to require login credentials from a TV provider.
Update: It has begun! Check out all the Emmy winners here!
While the crux of the program is to honor individual series and those who work on them, from a macro view (e.g., Game of Thrones and whichever American Horror / Crime Story Ryan Murphy did last), it’s also a chance for powerhouse networks like HBO, FX, and Netflix to compete on a numbers game and try and rack up the most statues. As is the case pretty much every year, HBO leads with 94 nominations in all, with FX (56) and Netflix (54) trailing in second and third place:
Top 12 nominees by network (and change vs. 2015)
HBO – 94 (-32)
FX – 56 (+18)
Netflix – 54 (+20)
NBC – 41 (+0)
ABC – 35 (-7)
CBS – 35 (-6)
FOX – 29 (-6)
PBS – 26 (-3)
AMC – 24 (+0)
Showtime – 22 (+4)
Comedy Central – 17 (-8)
Amazon – 16 (+4)
Notably, HBO’s lead has been cut pretty drastically in favor of the other two, which in turn have surpassed all the broadcast networks. For Netflix to be in third place just three years after its first nomination is really impressive, and with the company continuing to spend billions on original content, it’s clearly hoping to keep the trend going.
It’s also worth mentioning that the numbers above include both the major nominations — i.e., the ones that are being televised tonight — and the more technical-focused Creative Arts Emmys, which were already given out last weekend. Specifically looking at tonight’s awards, HBO (40), FX (28), and Netflix (17) still dominate the top three spots.
I’m sure you have a lot of questions, so let’s get on with it:
What can I expect tonight? Talk about the shows
There are 27 awards to give out tonight, all of which break down into one of four groups: comedy, drama, limited series / movie, or variety. Let’s talk about those:
Limited Series / Television Movies
Increasingly the most interesting category both in terms of nominees and, frankly, its categorization, the limited series categories honor not only shows with one-off runs (The Night Manager, Roots) but also recurring shows whose "plot" changes every year (American Horror Story, Fargo). Or sometimes it’s shows that just do very few episodes like Luther and Sherlock, both of which only had single-episode "specials" this year and were nominated for outstanding television movie. It’s also the coolest category.
FX’s The People vs. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story has more nominations than any other show during tonight’s ceremony (13 — 22 including Creative Arts Emmys, which is just one fewer than Game of Thrones). We wouldn’t be surprised to see it take the top award, with the various acting awards going to Fargo, The Night Manager, and Emmy-favorite Bryan Cranston (All the Way).
HBO’s magic-and-dragons-and-sex-and-violence romp won last year’s top honors, and frankly, we wouldn’t be surprised to see it win again. Where things could get interesting is Mr. Robot, USA Network’s breakout show from last year — especially for the best actor category, where Rami Malek seems to be favorite.
Last year the big comedy award went to HBO’s Veep. The five years before that, it went to Modern Family. Smart money’s on Veep to keep a new tradition alive in both best comedy and best actress for national treasure Julia Louis-Dreyfus. As for the acting categories, we’d love to see Amazon’s Transparent get some recognition.
The Daily Show ended its historic run with one final Emmy last year, and as far as outstanding variety talk series go, we’d love to see John Oliver’s heir apparent Last Week Tonight carry the torch. As for sketch series, we wouldn’t be surprised if Key & Peele won for its final season, but the category feels like a toss-up between that and Inside Amy Schumer.
I want more predictions! More!
Okay, okay, check out Vox’s piece by Todd VanDerWerff. I agree with most of those.
I know I ask this every year but... the Creative Arts Emmys? Huh?
The Creative Arts Emmys, which were given out last year, honor the more technical, behind-the-scenes work (think: title cards, soundtracks, and special effects). Unsurprisingly, this year’s big winner was Game of Thrones, but there’s a more interesting story from that night: both Marvel and Oculus Story Studio won their first-ever Emmy Awards — the former for Jessica Jones (outstanding main title theme music) and the latter for a hedgehog voiced by Elijah Wood (Henry, for outstanding interactive program).
I skipped the intro to this piece and jumped down to the big titles, so just tell me when and how to stream it
Red carpet coverage starts at 7PM ET on ABC, with the awards themselves starting at 8PM ET. You'll be able to stream everything live via ABC's website or via its Android / iOS app — in all those cases, that's going to require login credentials from a TV provider.