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Emmy nominations 2022: HBO and HBO Max lead with 140. But there’s a small asterisk

A woman and man stand before a counter
Natasha Rothwell and Murray Bartlett in a scene from “The White Lotus.” Credit: Mario Perez/HBO
(Mario Perez/HBO)

With “Succession,” “The White Lotus,” “Hacks” and “Euphoria,” HBO and its sibling streaming service HBO Max led all networks in nominations for the 74th Emmy Awards, garnering 140 nods for their programming.

The prestigious pair topped the closest rival, Netflix, by a significant margin.

Netflix earned 105 of the nominations, which were announced Tuesday morning, thanks to acclaimed series including “Stranger Things,” “Ozark” and “Squid Game,” the first non-English language show nominated for drama series.

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However, HBO’s lead comes with an asterisk.

HBO and HBO Max are, in fact, different networks, but they are treated as interchangeable in the Emmy counts. HBO shows are streamed through HBO Max, though HBO Max has its own programming produced specifically for streaming.

On the other hand, both outlets share the same programming head, Casey Bloys, who is chief content officer of HBO and HBO Max. Bloys, in an interview, said that the more important thing is that the shows themselves are recognized.

“When it was just HBO, obviously the world changed with streaming, so we added a streaming component, and now we’re playing on a more level playing field,” Bloys said. “Now we’ve got more at bats. We’re doing more impactful programming. It’s just that many more opportunities to engage subscribers.”

Separating them out, HBO Max’s shows, which include “Hacks,” “The Flight Attendant” and “Station Eleven,” earned 32 nominations, leaving HBO’s true total at 108 — still No. 1, but not by as big of a margin as the combined figure would suggest.

The Emmys volume game has for years been a two-horse race between HBO, long the standard-bearer of high-quality TV, and Netflix, the leading streaming company in terms of subscriptions with 222 million worldwide.

With so much television, the Emmy nominations were bound to have snubs and surprises. Voters did not disappoint.

The Emmy nominations come at pivotal moments for both companies.

Netflix is facing pressure from investors amid a slowdown in subscriptions and revenue. The company reports earnings next week, when it is expected to say it lost about 2 million subscribers in the most recent quarter. HBO recently changed ownership again and is now part of the combined Warner Bros. Discovery, run by David Zaslav.

Both are competing in the increasingly brutal streaming wars and are trying to find the right balance between quantity and quality in their programming budgets. HBO has always been known for quality but needs volume to compete. Netflix is famous for its sheer amount of content, but executives have shown a desire to be choosier with their programming.

Awards are validation for those efforts.

Last year, HBO and Netflix were neck and neck, with HBO and HBO Max just barely topping Netflix’s 129 nominations with 130 — a difference of a single nod.

HBO and HBO Max managed to extend their lead this time, growing their nomination count by about 8% thanks to an industry-leading 25 kudos for “Succession,” 20 for the limited series “The White Lotus,” 17 for “Hacks” and 16 for “Euphoria.” Netflix’s tally for this year is 19% lower than its 2021 count, which benefited from a bushel of noms for “The Crown.”

Other streaming services made strong showings in the Emmy nominations, showing that the awards are not a two-horse race.

Hulu, controlled by Walt Disney Co., scored 58 nominations for shows including “Dopesick,” “Only Murders in the Building” and “The Dropout.” Apple TV+ nabbed 51 nominations, buoyed by 20 for soccer comedy “Ted Lasso” and 14 for the dystopian drama, “Severance.”

Disney+ had 34 nominations, propelled by Peter Jackson’s “The Beatles: Get Back” and multiple honors for the Marvel shows “Loki” and “Moon Knight.” Amazon Prime Video earned 30 nominations, led by “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.”

Comparing network and company totals is nuanced because of the number of outlets, including streaming and cable channels, that are part of larger conglomerates.

Disney, for example, owns ABC, FX, Freeform, ESPN, Hulu and Disney+, and has a total of 147 nominations. Netflix, in contrast, is one company with one platform. Warner Bros. Discovery, which owns not only HBO but also CNN, Discovery Channel, Discovery+, Adult Swim and others, came in with a corporate total of 155.


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