Netflix took a victory lap on Monday morning following a history-making showing at the Primetime Emmy Awards.
After winning 44 Emmys in total this year — tying the record for most wins by a single platform/network in a single year, set by CBS in 1974 — Bela Bajaria, the Netflix head of global TV, said the scores of statuettes made for “an historic night.”
“I think last night was an historic night in many ways,” Bajaria said on a press call. “Tying the record of CBS’ 44 wins from 1974, when there was three networks, was historic. ‘The Crown’ sweeping all seven drama series categories was historic. It was an historic night for streaming, to win drama, comedy, and limited awards. I think if you look at ‘The Crown,’ everything from the cinematography to the casting to the writing and the execution of that show was rewarded in that way. The craft of what Peter Morgan and the team did was so exquisite and it’s amazing to see it rewarded in that way.”
Peter Friedlander, Netflix’s head of US and Canada scripted series, discussed his reaction to seeing the streamer questioning whether or not it was even eligible for such awards years ago to where it is now.
“I was here eight years ago when we started having drama shows with ‘House of Cards’ and we had no idea if we were going to be eligible even,” he said. “So to be where we are as of last night eight years later felt like such a sea change, and it’s so thrilling.”
For the first time ever, Netflix won more Emmys than any other platform. It did so while more than doubling the Emmy haul of its nearest competition, which was HBO/HBO Max with 19 total wins.
But the night was not without its controversies, with no actors of color winning a single award during Sunday’s telecast. This came despite the fact that there was a record number of nominees of color this year.
“I think that what converts nominations into wins is the voting body,” Bajaria said. “I do think that the industry is putting more focus and intention behind what kinds of shows and who gets to tell those stories. So I think a big part of what we do and what we focus on is greenlighting those shows and supporting that talent all the way through.”
Bajaria was also asked about the notion that, given that broadcast shows rarely win major Emmys at this point, it would make more sense for a streamer like Netflix to take over hosting the award show.
“We don’t do live in that way and I’m sure when the rights are up there are plenty of different platforms…that will still talk about the right places for the show,” she responded. “But I think broadcast TV still does great live events and they know how to put these shows on.”