Emmy voters nominated actors and series on digital platforms this year, but at the 66th Primetime Emmys, they gave the awards to broadcast and cable networks and, in many cases, to performers who had won in the past.
ABC's Modern Family won for outstanding comedy for the fifth consecutive year; AMC’s Breaking Bad took outstanding drama for a second consecutive year. And every actor and actress who received an award in the comedy and drama categories had, at some point, won an Emmy earlier in their careers.
Even so, the telecast, hosted by Seth Meyers, produced surprises, including three awards for PBS’s Sherlock Holmes: His Last Vow for lead and supporting actor (Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, respectively). Along with the writing award for Steven Moffat, the Masterpiece series garnered a total of seven Emmys between the Primetime and Creative Arts shows (held on August 16), the most for any program this year.
CBS, FX and AMC tied for most awards during the Primetime telecast with five apiece.
All five AMC awards went to Breaking Bad. In addition to the show's win for outstanding drama, Bryan Cranston was selected lead actor in a drama (his fourth for the series), Aaron Paul was honored for supporting actor (his third for the series) and Anna Gunn won for supporting actress (her second for the series). Also, Moira Walley-Beckett won for writing in a drama series. Moira Walley-Beckett, who is also an executive producer of Breaking Bad, has won three Emmys for her work on the show.
Counting the Creative Arts show, Breaking Bad won six Emmys this year, second best among all series.
FX won two Emmys for Fargo (outstanding miniseries and directing by Colin Bucksey), two Emmys for American Horror Story: Coven (lead actress Jessica Lange and supporting actress Kathy Bates) and one for comedy writer Louis C.K. for his series, Louie.
CBS captured one Emmy each for The Good Wife (lead drama actress Julianna Margulies), The Big Bang Theory (lead comedy actor Jim Parsons), Mom (supporting actress in a comedy Allison Janney), The Amazing Race (outstanding reality-competition program) and the 67th Annual Tony Awards (director Glenn Weiss).
Margulies's win was her second for The Good Wife, Parsons's was his fourth for Big Bang and The Amazing Race prevailed for the tenth time in its category. Weiss's victory marked his tenth Emmy as well.
For Janney, the award for Mom was the sixth Emmy of her career and her second this year — at the Creative Arts ceremony, she was honored as guest actress in a drama for Showtime's Masters of Sex.
Other networks taking home Primetime Emmys were HBO (four), ABC and PBS (three each) and Comedy Central (one).
All three of ABC's Emmys went to Modern Family. In addition to outstanding comedy, the series won for supporting actor (Ty Burrell) and directing (Gail Mancuso). Both Burrell's and Mancuso's awards were their second for the show. With five straight Emmys for comedy series, Modern Family tied a record held by NBC’s Frasier for consecutive wins in the category.
Emmy-winning HBO shows were The Normal Heart (outstanding television movie), True Detective (Cary Joji Fukunaga for outstanding drama series directing), Sarah Silverman: We Are Miracles (Sarah Silverman for writing for a variety special) and Veep (Julia Louis-Dreyfus for lead actress in a comedy).
For the second year in a row, Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report won for outstanding variety series. The show is to end later this year as Colbert departs to take over David Letterman's late-night show next year on CBS.
Memorable moments in this year’s telecast included a kiss between Emmy winners Cranston and Louis-Dreyfus. Early in the telecast, when they presented an award together, he reminded her that he had kissed her when they both appeared in an episode of Seinfeld, but she pretended not to remember him from the episode. Later, when Louis-Dreyfus won for Veep, Cranston stopped her en route to the stage and they embraced for a lingering kiss.
Billy Crystal struck a poignant note with a tribute to the late Robin Williams. The homage to the comic genius followed an In Memoriam montage during which singer Sara Bareilles offered a moving version of the song “Smile.”
“For almost 40 years, he was the brightest star in our comedy galaxy,” said Crystal of his friend and fellow Comic Relief performer. Clips of Williams demonstrated that genius before the picture faded to black.
Don Mischer was executive producer of this year’s telecast; Steve Venezia was chair of the Television Academy's Primetime Emmy Awards Show Committee.
Between the Creative Arts and Primetime shows, HBO led all winners with 19 Emmys, followed by CBS and PBS with 11 each. NBC took 10; ABC and FX Networks received eight; and Fox and Netflix had seven. AMC won six, and Discovery Channel, Disney Channel, Fox/NatGeo and Showtime garnered four. Cartoon Network and Comedy Central won three each, followed by Starz with two. Adult Swim, CartoonNetwork.com, CNN, Comcast.com, ESPN, FunnyOrDie.com, JustaReflecktor.com, Nat Geo WILD, National Geographic Channel, Pivot.tv and TNT had one each.
A full list of this year’s winners is available here.
Download the Complete List of Winners here.