HBO reigns supreme amid lowest-rated Emmys ever

Network dominates 67th Primetime Emmy Awards with wins in 14 categories


HBO dominates TV these days.

During the 67th edition of the Primetime Emmy Awards on Sunday, HBO-produced shows won 14 major awards, including best drama, comedy, movie and miniseries. HBO shows like “Game of Thrones”and “Veep” won five of the 10 main Emmy award categories, including the two keynote awards for the night, Outstanding Drama Series and Outstanding Comedy Series.

This year the Emmys posted their worst ratings of all time with 11.9 million viewers – down nearly four million from last year, despite efforts by host Andy Samberg.

The Emmy Awards, held by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, was founded in 1949 to reward excellence in television. Every year, every award show is dissected, analyzed and commented on by news and cultural outlets alike. From the red carpet fashion to the awards themselves, the Emmys are consistently one of the most influential pop culture events of the year.

William Solomon, an associate English professor, said that a show’s cultural impact is tracked directly through the winners and losers, as reported through the multiple media outlets covering it. The indirect cultural impact, he said, is much harder to track.

“One primary effect of the Emmys is that they manage to stimulate public conversation on television shows people often consume in private,” Solomon said in an email. “So, in a sense, the awards ceremony helps create a stronger sense of a collective experience in an era when a great deal of viewing (but not all) occurs in isolation.”

The real question is whether or not the Emmys are truly representative of this “collective” experience or public opinion.

Elizabeth Littos, a freshman nursing major, said the winners of the night were not surprising at all.

“‘Game of Thrones’ really make its way into popular culture – it’s the show. Everyone watches it,” Littos said. “The show has good acting and plot and it’s genuine. I feel like ‘Game of Thrones’ has something for everyone.”

This year, apart from “Game of Thrones” and “Veep,” the biggest headlines were Jon Hamm finally winning Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series for “Mad Men” and Viola Davis becoming the first Black woman to win Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for her role in “How to Get Away with Murder.”

Julia Laugeman, a freshman biomedical sciences major, said Viola Davis’s acceptance speech was her one of her favorite parts of the show.

“[In her speech, Davis] talked about how black women are marginalized in the television industry,” Laugeman said. “It was really inspiring.”

Of course, for some, the awards are the least interesting part of the show. Halley Rachel and Hayley Ziedman, a senior communication major and first-year social studies graduate student, respectively, said they barely watched the show’s award ceremony. They instead prefer the red carpet.

“My favorite part of the show was, of course, the red carpet,” Rachel said. “I felt Sarah Hyland, Emma Roberts and Amy Poehler were some of the best dressed of the night.”

Whether it’s the fashion or television, the 2015 Emmys will be discussed for weeks to come.

Brian Windschitl is the senior arts editor and can be reached at