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HBO fends off Emmy challenge from surging Amazon

Stephen Battaglio, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Entertainment News

LOS ANGELES -- In what may be its last hurrah as the network that defined quality television, HBO topped the 71st Emmy Awards on Sunday with nine wins in the major categories presented on the Fox telecast.

But streaming services continued their incursion on HBO's Emmy dominance as Amazon had a strong night with a total of eight wins at the ceremony -- four for "Fleabag," including best comedy, and three for "The Amazing Mrs. Maisel."

HBO, The WarnerMedia-owned premium cable channel was propelled by Emmy victories for its fantasy drama "Game of Thrones," which earned 9 trophies, and the limited series "Chernobyl" for its final season.

Combined with last week's Emmy ceremony for creative arts categories, HBO held off Netflix with a total of 34 wins. The streaming behemoth walked away with a total of 31 statuetttes. Amazon had a total of 16.

Last year HBO tied Netflix with 23 wins, marking the first time in 17 years that it didn't win the most Emmys.

For "Game of Thrones," the fourth win for best drama ties it with the other four-time victors in the category -- "Hill Street Blues," "L.A. Law," "The West Wing" and "Mad Men."

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While many hard-core "Game of Thrones" expressed unhappiness over the quality of the final season of the drama based on the George R.R. Martin novels, the Television Academy members who vote on the Emmys tend to reward series for their entire body of work.

Surprisingly, the longtime Television Academy favorite "Veep," which ended after seven seasons on HBO, was shut out for the night.

While it was a celebratory night for HBO, the competition from streamers loomed larger than ever, underscoring the rapid transformation of the television industry as rising digital players compete for critical accolades.

Netflix came in second place with overall without the benefit of its three most acclaimed hits, "Stranger Things," "Orange Is the New Black" and "The Crown," which did not run during the qualifying period for the awards.

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