HBO, Pop TV Win Top Awards at First-Ever Virtually Produced Emmys

Schitt's Creek, Watchmen and Succession dominated the telecast

With Emmy producers juggling 130 live feeds, host Jimmy Kimmel told viewers, "What could go right?" ABC
Headshot of Kelsey Sutton

The 72nd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards promised to make a little bit of history Sunday night. It was the first time the show would be produced remotely, where host Jimmy Kimmel tossed to 130 live feeds from around the world. For nominees and winners, it meant their awards would be delivered by Hazmat-suited messengers. In another first, essential workers like teachers, farmers and UPS deliverymen introduced the nominees in several categories.

And it was also a night of firsts for Pop TV’s Schitt’s Creek, which swept all seven comedy categories during the telecast and set a record for most wins in a single season for a comedy. The night’s other big winners included Succession, which was named Outstanding Drama Series; Watchmen, which won for Outstanding Miniseries; and HBO, which aired both of those shows and won a whopping 11 awards during the telecast, and 30 Emmys overall this year (including Creative Arts Emmys, which were given out last week).

The acclaimed comedy series Schitt’s Creek, whose sixth and final season aired earlier this year, finished the night with seven awards, which the cast accepted during a socially distant watch party in Toronto. The show won for outstanding comedy series, and performers Catherine O’Hara, Eugene Levy, Annie Murphy and Daniel Levy each received Emmys for their performances in the series, which is Pop’s most-watched show.

Daniel Levy also won for Outstanding Writing in a Comedy, and he and Andrew Cividino were honored for Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series. The Canadian TV show went into the night with 19 nominations and walked away with nine awards, after already winning two Creative Arts Emmys last week.

Among the telecast’s top winners was HBO’s buzzy miniseries Watchmen, which walked away with four awards, including Outstanding Limited Series—the first time a comic book adaptation took home top honors. Star Regina King, who accepted her award wearing a shirt with Breonna Taylor‘s name on it, won for Best Actress in a Limited Series, while show creator and executive story editor Damon Lindelof and Cord Jefferson received an Emmy for Best Writing in a Limited Series.

Actor Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, who played Dr. Manhattan in the series, won for Best Supporting Actor in a Limited Series. The show brought in a total of 11 awards, including wins from last week’s Creative Arts Emmys in categories of cinematography, costumes and editing.

Fellow HBO show Succession also took home four awards, including Outstanding Drama Series. Star Jeremy Strong beat out castmate Brian Cox to win the Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series award, while director Andrij Parekh won outstanding direction and screenwriter Jesse Armstrong received the Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series Emmy for the second year in a row.

HBO’s three other awards included Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, which won its fifth consecutive variety talk series Emmy, I Know This Much Is True’s Mark Ruffalo for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie, and Zendaya, a surprise Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama winner for Euphoria.

Meanwhile, Netflix which dominated this year’s nominations with 160 nods, took home only two awards during Sunday’s telecast, finishing a distant second to HBO in overall wins with 21. Miniseries Unorthodox won for Best Directing in a Limited Series, while Julia Garner won Best Supporting Actress in a Drama for her performance in Netflix’s Ozark.


@kelseymsutton kelsey.sutton@adweek.com Kelsey Sutton is the streaming editor at Adweek, where she covers the business of streaming television.
{"taxonomy":"default","sortby":"default","label":"","shouldShow":"on"}