'Schitt's Creek' has record-setting Emmy sweep, while HBO scores big with 'Watchmen,' 'Succession'

Key Points
  • HBO nabbed 11 wins during the 72nd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards for shows like "Succession" and "Watchmen."
  • "Schitt's Creek" broke Emmy records by sweeping the comedy category and winning all four major acting awards.

In this article

Dan Levy congratulates fellow "Schitt's Creek" star Annie Murphy on her Emmy win for best supporting actress in a comedy series.
ABC | Walt Disney Television | Getty Images

Emmy history was made on Sunday when Pop TV darling "Schitt's Creek" swept the comedy category's seven major awards during the 72nd Primetime Emmy Award Show, a first for the Hollywood event.

Catherine O'Hara and Eugene Levy took home the awards for best lead actress and best lead actress in a comedy series. Dan Levy and Annie Murphy won for best supporting actor and best supporting actress in a comedy. Dan Levy garnered the top prize for writing for a comedy series. He also won the award for best direction of a comedy alongside Andrew Cividino. The show took also home the prize for outstanding comedy series.

"Schitt's Creek," which aired its sixth and final season earlier this year, previously had not won any Emmy awards for the show. During the Creative Arts Emmys earlier this week, the show took home awards for best casting and best contemporary costuming.

With those acting wins "Schitt's Creek" has become the first TV show to sweep all four acting awards in the comedy or drama categories in Emmy history. In total, the show's nine Emmy wins breaks the record for most wins, which was previously held by "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" for its eight wins in both 2018 and 2019.

Premium cable network HBO dominated the limited series and drama categories, hauling in the majority of its awards for its critically-acclaimed shows "Watchmen" and "Succession." Zendaya, who won for her work HBO's "Euphoria," is the youngest Emmy winner in the lead actress category at 24.

In total, HBO snagged 11 primetime Emmy awards, the most of any network for the night. 

Between the Creative Arts Emmys and the primetime Emmys, HBO won 30 trophies, the most of any network.

Netflix garnered two Emmy wins Sunday, bringing its total of wins to 21. VH1, Hulu and Apple each nabbed one primetime Emmy win a piece. Overall, Pop TV had the third-most wins with 10 and first-timer Disney+ tied for the fourth-most Emmy wins with NBC with 8 wins.

An Emmys ceremony like no other

"Why would you have an award show in the middle of a pandemic?" Jimmy Kimmel asked rows of empty seats at the Staples Center as the show kicked off Sunday. In the tongue-in-cheek opener, the veteran host promised viewers an Emmy awards show like no other.

"No, seriously, why are we having an award show in the middle of a pandemic?" he asks as the team at ABC intercuts reaction shots and track laughter from previous Emmy ceremonies. "...What is happening tonight is not important. It's not going to stop Covid. It's not going to put out the fires. But it's fun and right now we need fun. My God do we need fun. This has been a miserable year. This has been a year of division, injustice, disease, Zoom school, disaster and death."

The event doesn't have an audience or a red carpet. Instead, nominees have been sent their own camera kit to broadcast live from their living rooms as Hollywood doles out trophies to TV's top talent in the first major entertainment industry ceremony since the coronavirus pandemic began. 

In total, ABC shipped out 130 cameras to nominees in 20 cities and 10 countries. Winners gave their acceptance speeches and then were transferred over to a virtual press room to conduct quick press conferences with reporters.

For comparison, the Creative Arts Emmys, which took place last week, had pre-taped acceptance speeches from each nominee. Whoever won had their speech broadcast.

On Sunday, a number of winners reminded the audience to register and get out to vote in November during their speeches. Additionally, nominees and winners wore different T-shirts with slogans like "Vote," "Remember Her Name" and "Black Lives Matter."

Regina King ("Watchmen") and Uzo Aduba ("Mrs. America") paid tribute to Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old African-American emergency medical technician who was fatally shot by Louisville Metro Police Department officers in March.

Taylor's death, along with several other Black people who were killed by police, led to protests around the country in recent months. Her death is still being investigated and no one is facing any charges yet. However, last week the city of Louisville, Kentucky agreed to pay $12 million to Taylor's family.

Damon Lindelof and Cord Jefferson, who won the best writing award for "Watchmen," recognized the Tulsa Massacre in 1921 during their speech. The event, in which white residents violently attacked black residents and business, is featured heavily in the lore of the HBO show. 

Kimmel ended the telecast by telling viewers to "please vote." 

Mixed in with celebrity presenters were a number of essential workers including health care workers, farmers and postal workers. These pre-taped segments focused on how these workers are aiding fellow Americans during the pandemic.

ABC presented winners in the comedy category with Emmy trophies by sending people in tuxedo hazmat suits to nominees' homes.

For the winner of the best variety talk series and best competition show, ABC shipped black boxes to each of the nominees with the promise that only the person who won would find an Emmy inside.

Samantha Bee, who was nominated for "Full Frontal with Samantha Bee" and did not win, broke open her box to find a bottle of champagne as a condolence prize.

And the winners are:

Lead Actress in a Comedy Series:
WINNER: Catherine O'Hara — "Schitt's Creek" (Pop TV)
Christina Applegate — "Dead to Me" (Netflix)
Linda Cardellini — "Dead to Me" (Netflix)
Rachel Brosnahan — "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" (Amazon)
Issa Rae — "Insecure" (HBO)
Tracee Ellis Ross — "Blackish" (ABC)

Lead Actor in a Comedy Series:
WINNER: Eugene Levy — "Schitt's Creek" (Pop TV)
Anthony Anderson — "Black-ish" (ABC)
Don Cheadle — "Black Monday" (Showtime)
Ted Danson — "The Good Place" (NBC)
Michael Douglas — "The Kominsky Method" (Netflix)
Ramy Youssef — "Ramy" (Hulu)

Writing for a Comedy Series
WINNER: Dan Levy — "Schitt's Creek" (Pop TV)
Sam Johnson and Chris Marcil — "What We Do in the Shadows" (FX)
Tony McNamara — "The Great" (Hulu)
Stefani Robinson — "What We Do in the Shadows" (FX)
Michael Schur — "The Good Place" (NBC)
Paul Simms, "What We Do in the Shadows" (FX)
David West Read, "Schitt's Creek" (Pop TV)

Directing for a Comedy Series
WINNER: Andrew Cividino and Daniel Levy — "Schitt's Creek" (Pop TV)
James Burrows — "Will & Grace" (NBC)
Gail Mancuso — "Modern Family" (ABC)
Daniel Palladino — "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" (Prime Video)
Matt Shakman — "The Great" (Hulu)
Amy Sherman-Palladino — "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" (Prime Video)
Ramy Youssef — "Ramy" (Hulu)

Supporting Actor, Comedy
WINNER: Dan Levy  "Schitt's Creek" (Pop TV)
Mahershala Ali — "Ramy" (Hulu)
Alan Arkin — "The Kominsky Method" (Netflix)
Andre Braugher — "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" (NBC)
Sterling K. Brown — "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" (Prime Video)
William Jackson Harper — "The Good Place" (NBC)
Tony Shalhoub — "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" (Prime Video)
Kenan Thompson — "Saturday Night Live" (NBC)

Supporting Actress, Comedy
WINNER: Annie Murphy — "Schitt's Creek" (Pop TV)
Alex Borstein — "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" (Prime Video)
Betty Gilpin — "GLOW" (Netflix)
D'Arcy Carden — "The Good Place" (NBC)
Marin Hinkle — "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" (Prime Video)
Kate McKinnon — "Saturday Night Live" (NBC)
Yvonne Orji — "Insecure" (HBO)
Cecily Strong — "Saturday Night Live" (NBC)

Best Comedy Series
WINNER: "Schitt's Creek" (Pop TV)
"Curb Your Enthusiasm" (HBO)
"Dead to Me" (Netflix)
"The Good Place" (NBC)
"Insecure" (HBO)
"The Kominsky Method" (Netflix)
"The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" (Amazon)
"What We Do in the Shadows" (FX)

Best Variety Talk Series
WINNER: "Last Week Tonight With John Oliver" (HBO)
"The Daily Show With Trevor Noah" (Comedy Central)
"Full Frontal With Samantha Bee" (TBS)
"Jimmy Kimmel Live!" (ABC)
"The Late Show With Stephen Colbert" (CBS)

Best Actress in a Limited Series or a Television Movie
WINNER: Regina King — "Watchmen" (HBO)
Cate Blanchett — "Mrs. America" (FX)
Shira Haas — "Unorthodox" (Netflix)
Octavia Spencer — "Self Made" 
Kerry Washington — "Little Fires Everywhere" (Hulu)

Best Actor in a Limited Series or a Television Movie
WINNER: Mark Ruffalo — "I Know This Much Is True" (HBO)
Jeremy Irons — "Watchmen" (HBO)
Hugh Jackman — "Bad Education" (HBO)
Paul Mescal — "Normal People" (Hulu)
Jeremy Pope — "Hollywood" (Netflix)

Writing for a Limited Series, Movie or Drama Special
WINNER: Damon Lindelof and Cord Jefferson 
"Watchmen" (HBO)
Tanya Barfield — "Mrs. America" (Hulu)
Susannah Grant, Michael Chabon and Ayelet Waldman — "Unbelievable" (Netflix)
Sally Rooney and Alice Birch — "Normal People" (Hulu)
Anna Winger — "Unorthodox" (Netflix)

Directing for a Limited Series
WINNER: Maria Schrader 
"Unorthodox" (Netflix)
Lenny Abrahamson — "Normal People" (Hulu)
Steph Green — "Watchmen" (HBO)
Nicole Kassell — "Watchmen" (HBO)
Lynn Shelton — "Little Fires Everywhere" (Hulu)
Stephen Williams — "Watchmen" (HBO)

Supporting Actor, Limited Series or Movie
WINNER: Yahya Abdul-Mateen II — "Watchmen" (HBO)

Jovan Adepo — "Watchmen" (HBO)
Tituss Burgess — "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Kimmy vs. the Reverend" (Netflix)
Louis Gossett Jr. — "Watchmen" (HBO)
Dylan McDermott — "Hollywood" (Netflix)
Jim Parsons — "Hollywood" (Netflix)

Supporting Actress, Limited Series or a Movie
WINNER: Uzo Aduba —  "Mrs. America" (Hulu)

Toni Collette — "Unbelievable" (Netflix)
Margo Martindale — "Mrs. America" (Hulu)
Jean Smart — "Watchmen" (HBO)
Holland Taylor — "Hollywood" (Netflix)
Tracey Ullman — "Mrs. America" (Hulu)

Best Limited Series
WINNER: "Watchmen" (HBO)
"Little Fires Everywhere" (Hulu)
"Mrs. America" (FX)
"Unbelievable" (Netflix)
"Unorthodox" (Netflix)

Best Competition Series
WINNER: "RuPaul's Drag Race" (VH1)
"The Masked Singer" (Fox)
"Nailed It" (Netflix)
"Top Chef" (Bravo)
"The Voice" (NBC)

Best Actor in a Drama Series
WINNER: Jeremy Strong — "Succession" (HBO)
Jason Bateman — "Ozark" (Netflix)
Sterling K. Brown — "This Is Us" (NBC)
Steve Carell — "The Morning Show" (Apple)
Brian Cox — "Succession" (HBO)
Billy Porter — "Pose" (FX)

Best Actress in a Drama Series
WINNER: Zendaya — "Euphoria" (HBO)
Jennifer Aniston — "The Morning Show" (Apple)
Olivia Colman — "The Crown" (Netflix)
Jodie Comer — "Killing Eve" (BBC)
Laura Linney — "Ozark" (Netflix)
Sandra Oh — "Killing Eve" (BBC)

Writing for a Drama Series
WINNER: Jesse Armstrong 
"Succession" (HBO)
Miki Johnson — "Ozark" (Netflix)
Peter Morgan — "The Crown" (Netflix)
Chris Mundy — "Ozark" (Netflix)
Thomas Schnauz — "Better Call Saul" (AMC)
John Shiban — "Ozark" (Netflix)
Gordon Smith — "Better Call Saul" (AMC)

Directing for a Drama Series
WINNER: Andrij Parekh  "Succession" (HBO)
Benjamin Caron — "The Crown" (Netflix)
Jessica Hobbs — "The Crown" (Netflix)
Mimi Leder — "The Morning Show" (Apple TV+)
Lesli Linka Glatter — "Homeland" (Showtime)
Mark Mylod — "Succession" (HBO)
Alik Sakharov — "Ozark" (Netflix)
Ben Semanoff — "Ozark" (Netflix)

Supporting Actor, Drama
WINNER: Billy Crudup  "The Morning Show" (Apple)
Nicholas Braun — "Succession" (HBO)
Kieran Culkin — "Succession" (HBO)
Mark Duplass — "The Morning Show" (Apple)
Giancarlo Esposito — "Better Call Saul" (AMC)
Matthew Macfadyen — "Succession" (HBO)
Bradley Whitford — "The Handmaid's Tale" (Hulu)
Jeffrey Wright — "Westworld" (HBO)

Supporting Actress, Drama
WINNER: Julia Garner  "Ozark" (Netflix)
Helena Bonham Carter — "The Crown" (Netflix)
Laura Dern — "Big Little Lies" (HBO)
Thandie Newton — "Westworld"(HBO)
Sarah Snook — "Succession" (HBO)
Fiona Shaw — "Killing Eve" (BBC)
Meryl Streep — "Big Little Lies" (HBO)
Samira Wiley — "The Handmaid's Tale" (Hulu)

Best Drama Series
WINNER: "Succession" (HBO)
"Better Call Saul" (AMC)
"The Crown" (Netflix)
"The Handmaid's Tale" (Hulu)
"Killing Eve" (BBC)
"The Mandalorian" (Disney+)
"Ozark" (Netflix)
"Stranger Things" (Netflix)

Disclosure: Comcast is the parent company of NBCUniversal and CNBC.