Network television’s downfall continued on September 17 as streaming and cable programming dominated the 70th Emmy Awards. The ceremony, hosted by “Saturday Night Live” cast members Colin Jost and Michael Che, saw traditional networks take home just two of the 26 televised awards. Untraditional content providers such as Netflix and HBO accounted for the other 24 categories. Despite numerous nominations in almost every category, network TV’s defeat seemed to already be a foregone conclusion, as Che joked in his opening monologue that being the most-nominated broadcast network is “like being the sexiest person on life support.”
Amazon Prime’s “The Marvelous Ms. Maisel” destroyed its comedic competition, winning five of the seven comedy awards. Along with taking home the coveted Best Comedy Series award, the show’s creator Amy Sherman-Palladino won for both directing and writing, and stars Rachel Brosnahan and Alex Borstein were awarded for Best Leading and Supporting Actress, respectively. HBO’s “Barry” grabbed the remaining two comedy awards: one for Bill Hader’s leading performance and the other for Henry Winkler’s supporting role. Winkler’s win was especially notable because he was nominated thrice in the 1970s for his work on “Happy Days” but never won until this year. Winkler stated that he wrote his acceptance speech “43 years ago” and promptly told his children (now grown adults) that they could go to bed because “daddy won!”
The dramatic awards were more evenly distributed. HBO’s “Game of Thrones” scored the prize for Outstanding Drama Series and a victory for supporting actor Peter Dinklage. Claire Foy earned the award for Best Actress in a Drama for her role as Queen Elizabeth on Netflix’s “The Crown,” and the series’ director Stephen Daldry also won Best Director. FX’s Russian spy drama “The Americans” took Best Actor for star Matthew Rhys, as well as Best Writing for a Drama. Netflix’s “Godless” and FX’s “American Crime Story” split the awards for limited series, with the former winning two acting awards and the latter taking Best Limited Series and Best Director.
The only two awards for standard TV networks were Outstanding Variety Show for “SNL” on NBC and Best Directing for a Variety Special for the Oscars on ABC. The latter category marked one of the most memorable moments from the telecast, as the winner Glenn Weiss utilized his acceptance speech to propose to his girlfriend Jan Svendsen. Weiss remarked, “You wonder why I don’t like to call you my girlfriend? Because I want to call you my wife.” The audience erupted in applause, and the couple left the ceremony engaged.