Last night's 71st Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles was full of several historic "firsts" as beloved shows and talent were recognized for top-notch cinematic programming and powerful storytelling that keep viewers coming back for more. Together with the Creative Arts Emmys, cable networks came away with 61 Emmy wins, which surpassed all broadcast networks and streaming services.
HBO took the title for the network with the most awards with a total of 34 out of a record-breaking 137 nominations. In this year's competition, National Geographic came in second for cable networks after HBO with eight awards, followed by: CNN (5), FX Networks (5), VH1 (4), Sundance TV (3), BBC America (1), and NASA TV (1).
HBO's Game of Thrones took 12 of the network's wins, including Best Drama Series for the fourth time, despite its controversial final season. The network hit made history as it said goodbye to fans with 58 Emmys over its eight-season run. Another Game of Thrones standout included Peter Dinklage, who won for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series for the fourth time and set a new Emmy record for the category. He also gave a shout out to the progressive television environment he has become a part of. "I count myself so fortunate to be a member of a community that is all about tolerance and diversity, because nowhere else could I be standing on a stage like this," said Dinklage.
Highlights of the night included:
- BBC America's Killing Eve received the Emmy for Jodie Comer's win in the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series category (her costar Sandra Oh was also nominated in the same category), a first win for the show. Killing Eve surprised audiences when it came out last year with a feminist-centered plot and female-led cast. The show also proved to be a ratings rarity as it gained more and more viewership and popularity with each episode that aired. (Check out NCTA's interview with a BBC America top executive before the show became a hit.)
- FX's Fosse/Verdon took home a win for Michelle Williams in the Outstanding Actress in a Limited Series or Movie category. Williams paid tribute to FX by thanking the network for giving her the same salary as her male co-star, Sam Rockwell, and issued a call to the industry as a whole to stand up for gender parity in the business. "The next time a woman, and especially a woman of color—because she stands to make 52 cents on the dollar compared to her white, male counterpart—tells you what she needs in order to do her job, listen to her. Believe her, because one day she might stand in front of you and say thank you for allowing [her] to succeed because of her workplace environment and not in spite of it," said Williams.
- FX's Pose also snagged its first Emmy as Billy Porter won for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series. Porter is the first openly gay black man to win in this category. Pose, a dance musical series, has been considered a breakthrough show for the transgender community as it features the largest cast of transgender series characters on an American TV show.
- HBO also won accolades for its slate of other hit shows including Bill Hader's performance in Barry for Outstanding Comedy Actor, three Emmys for Chernobyl including Outstanding Limited Series, and two for Last Week Tonight With John Oliver for a Variety Series.
Diverse programming is thriving, and while there is still a long way to go, this year's awards show demonstrates that today's television networks are paving the way towards a more inclusive Hollywood as viewers continue to enjoy old time favorites, new and progressive programming, and a TV menu ripe with infinite choices and possibilities.