With 126 nominations, HBO was expected to win big at the Emmys, though perhaps not quite as big as the premium cable net did.
HBO grabbed 14 Emmys, including the two most prestigious—Veep taking Outstanding Comedy and Game of Thrones seizing Outstanding Drama. At one point in the evening, HBO won six out of seven Emmys, largely on the back of acclaimed limited series Olive Kitteridge, which took home a half dozen gold trophies. Kitteridge swept the major acting and creative categories for a limited series, movie or a dramatic special, the first time this has been done since HBO's Angels in America in 2004.
Second place on the night went to Comedy Central, with strong showings from The Daily Show and Inside Amy Schumer. Amazon Studios won a pair, including Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series for Jeffrey Tambor, as did ABC, as Viola Davis became the first African American actor to win Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for How to Get Away With Murder.
"The only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity," said an impassioned Davis.
Broadcast ruled the night for the first 15 or so minutes, with Andy Samberg delivering a well received song and dance opener, playing off the glut of strong programs on TV these days, and snappy monologue. The first Emmy also went to one of the Big Five with Allison Janney taking home here seventh statuette for her supporting role on CBS comedy Mom. But it was otherwise a harsh night for the broadcast nets. CBS and NBC (The Voice) got one, while host network Fox got nothing.
Veep's Outstanding Comedy win meant ABC's Modern Family streak was broken.
Netflix, which has modeled its creative output after HBO, won for Orange Is the New Black, as Uzo Aduba took home Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama honors.
One of the more compelling questions heading into Emmy night was if Jon Hamm, who brought Mad Men's iconoclastic Don Draper to life, would finally claim the Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama prize. Indeed, he did, and looked somewhat stunned onstage. Hamm thanked studio Lionsgate and network AMC, and the “incredible cast, these incredible people, these incredible writers, our incredible crew.”
But it was HBO's night. Several Emmys recipients credited the network for backing their projects, and giving them the creative leeway to execute their vision. Game of Thrones executive producer David Benioff told the media after the show, “There's no other place we could really imagine the show working.”
Fellow executive producer D.B. Weiss added that his friends in the business are “jealous of the way we get to work with HBO.”