“The Big Bang Theory,” “Modern Family” and “Veep” won Emmy awards for comedy as the television industry began handing out its top honors.
Jim Parsons won the award for best actor in a comedy series for his performance as physicist Sheldon Cooper in CBS’s “The Big Bang Theory.” Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who plays a fictional vice president on HBO’s “Veep,” won her third consecutive Emmy for best actress today at the 66th Primetime Emmy Awards, telecast live on Comcast Corp. (CMCSA:US)’s NBC network from Los Angeles.
The broadcast networks garnered the early wins in their category of strength, comedy. Cable networks with the freedom to program edgier shows like “True Detective” and “Game of Thrones” have dominated the drama and miniseries categories in recent years.
Louis-Dreyfus was the only actor from a cable show to win a major award for comedy. Ty Burrell won an Emmy award for his supporting role in the ABC comedy series “Modern Family,” while Gail Mancuso won for directing on the same show. Allison Janney was recognized for her supporting role in the CBS comedy ‘Mom.’’
This year’s Emmy race pits HBO, Time Warner Inc. (TWX:US)’s perennial Emmy heavyweight on cable, against Netflix Inc. (NFLX:US), the online upstart. HBO, led by its “Game of Thrones” series, checked in with 99 nominations, while its Internet rival garnered 31, buoyed by “House of Cards” and “Orange Is the New Black.” Seth Meyers, from NBC’s “Late Night with Seth Meyers,” is hosting the show.
Airing near the start of the new TV season, the Emmy telecast showcases programs most admired by the industry and is a forum to promote returning hits.
The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, which hands out the awards, plans a tribute to the late Robin Williams. During the show, fellow comic and actor Billy Crystal will honor his longtime friend, who rose to fame with the 1970s sitcom “Mork & Mindy” and took his own life two weeks ago.
The awards typically air on a Sunday night. NBC scheduled the ceremony for tonight, the first Monday Emmys telecast in 40 years, according to the network, to avoid clashing with its regularly scheduled “Sunday Night Football.” Last year’s show on CBS drew an audience of 17.6 million, the most since 2005. Tonight’s event is also running about a month earlier than last year’s telecast.
NBC, after a decade-long losing streak, ranked No. 1 in prime time last season, for audiences ages 18 to 49, on the strength of its football telecast, the Olympics and shows like “The Voice” and “The Blacklist.”
This year’s telecast coincides with renewed consolidation in the film and TV industries.
This month, Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox Inc. dropped an unsolicited $75 billion bid for Time Warner.
Pay TV providers are also trying to combine. AT&T Inc. (T:US) is seeking to acquire DirecTV, the largest U.S. satellite TV service, for $48.5 billion, while Comcast is planning to buy Time Warner Cable Inc. for $45.2 billion.
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