“Game of Thrones” might have broken records with its staggering 32 Emmy nominations this morning, but it was hardly the only reason HBO Entertainment blew every other production studio out of the water.
HBO Entertainment received 137 Emmy nominations Tuesday morning, more than twice as many as any other studio. Scratch “Game of Thrones” off that list, and HBO Entertainment still dominated all of its competitors. In fact, the same holds true if you also ignore the Emmy nominations for the studio’s “Chernobyl” and “Barry,” which received a combined 36 Emmy nominations. HBO Entertainment’s monumental success can’t be pinned on just a few shows: The production studio is simply churning out a huge amount of well-received content.
It turns out that owning the rights to seemingly every other brand on the planet increases your odds of winning big during awards season. Tuesday’s Emmy nominations were also kind to Disney Television Studios, the television production arm of The Walt Disney Company. Disney Television Studios received an impressive 58 Emmy nominations this morning, the second most of any studio. Disney Television Studios might not have the rights to White Walkers or the Iron Throne, but its rich content library, aided by its recent acquisition of 21st Century Fox, helped the studio garner more Emmy nominations than most of its competitors.
The fact that HBO Entertainment and Disney Television Studios lead the nomination pack also presents a Ghost of Christmas Future-style prediction for awards seasons down the road. When the free-for-all of the streaming age comes to end shortly and intellectual properties revert back to their owned and operated outlets, it will be these legacy entertainment companies that will be able to parlay their libraries of award-winning content to attract viewers. HBO Max and Disney+ execs are smiling today.
And while quality obviously matters during awards season, but it doesn’t hurt to have a plenty of quantity, too. Emmy-nominated Disney Television Studios series hailed from all sorts of genres, ranging from animated comedy (“The Simpsons” and “Family Guy”), to sitcoms (“Black-ish”), and horror (“American Horror Story: Apocalypse”). The production studio’s varied television lineup means that it probably has at least one show that a typical consumer will enjoy.
Amazon Studios and Universal Television, which closely trailed Disney Television Studios with 47 and 43 nominations, respectively, were on the other end of the spectrum. Both studios were carried by two of their standout shows: Universal Television’s “SNL” and “Russian Doll” received a combined 32 Emmy nominations, while Amazon Studios’ “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” and “Fleabag” earned 31 Emmy nominations.
Of course, that’s great for those shows – but it may be something of the TV version of a one-hit wonder in music. “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” and “SNL” received more nominations than any of Disney Television Studios’ series, but that studio still beat out its competitors by sheer force of numbers.
The record-breaking Emmy nominations that “Game of Thrones” received will understandably be one of the main highlights from today’s Emmy announcements, but the show’s critical and commercial milestones will always be an anomaly. The success of “Game of Thrones” does not mean production studios will begin hedging all their bets on a select one or two shows to drive viewership up and woo critics during award season. Diversification is the name of the game, and as content exclusivity becomes more important, production studios will continue to double down on their investments in new kinds of original content.
The 2019 Emmy Awards will air September 22 on Fox.