The ratings are in… and they're not good
TV's biggest night returned in 2022! Comedian and "Saturday Night Live" star Kenan Thompson served as the master of ceremonies at the 74th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards on Sept. 12 where before the show, there was an overwhelming feeling that "Succession" would be hearing its name often, as the HBO show garnered an astounding 25 nominations. Not to be outdone, Apple TV+ comedy "Ted Lasso," which cleaned up last year, and HBO's "The White Lotus" both had an impressive 20 nominations each. All three shows did win — but some were more successful than others. Wonderwall.com has the rundown on all the must-see moments that had people talking during and after the telecast from Los Angeles… Let's start with this bad news…
Ratings for the 2022 Emmys were… not good. Viewership dropped to a record low, according to Nielsen, with just 5.9 million tuning in to watch — which is about 1.5 million fewer than the 2021 ceremony. The ratings this year were even lower than they were for the 2020 ceremony that took place just months into the coronavirus pandemic and scored 6.1 million viewers — the previous record low.
Pete Davidson makes a surprise appearance fresh off his breakup with Kim Kardashian
He's back in Hollywood! Producers delivered a surprise when funnyman Pete Davidson showed up to present the award for best comedy series, which "Ted Lasso" won. Pete was introduced as a man "who needs no introduction." The "Saturday Night Live" alum, fresh from his August breakup with Kim Kardashian, was in typical form as he ad-libbed some of his presentation while wearing white sunglasses. He initially praised Emmys host Kenan Thompson and joked about the microphone being low. "I didn't come to rehearsal," he deadpanned before likening his appearance to one on "SNL." "Kenan's doing all the work and I'm refusing to say what the writers want," he joked.
"Succession" wins for best drama, creator takes jabs at new British monarch King Charles III
After being largely shut out of the acting categories (aside from Matthew Macfadyen, who won for outstanding supporting actor in a drama series), "Succession" finally had its moment at the very end of the night when it won the big award: best drama series. While on stage, the happy group hugged each other and made reference to the succession happening in Britain's monarchy. Then, unprovoked shots were fired. "Big week for successions. New king in the U.K., at least for us," said showrunner Jesse Armstrong. "Evidently a little more voting involved in our winning than Prince Charles." After the jab, Brian Cox urged Jesse to "keep it royal-less." This prompted Jesse to say, "I'm not saying we're more legitimate in our position than he is. We'll leave that to other people."
Stifler's Mom is now an Emmy winner!
Jennifer Coolidge has come a long way from Stifler's Mom in "American Pie" and Paulette in "Legally Blonde." The actress took home the Emmy for best supporting actress in a limited or anthology series or movie for her performance on "The White Lotus" at the 2022 Emmys ceremony. During her breathy acceptance speech, she reminded us all why we love her so much. "I took a lavender bath and it made me swell up inside my dress. I'm having a hard time speaking," the Groundlings alum said, drawing big laughs from the crowd. As music started playing her off, the "Best in Show" star begged for more time, which wasn't granted, drawing boos from the audience. But rather than walking off the stage, Jennifer decided to dance along to the music. The audience — and Twitter — roared in approval. "White Lotus" took home 10 Emmys this year, also notably winning for best limited series and best supporting actor in a limited series for star Murray Bartlett.
Zendaya makes history
That's two-time Emmy winner Zendaya to you! Like she did in 2020, Zendaya took home an Emmy for outstanding lead actress in a drama series this year. Variety reported that she's now the first Black woman to win the Emmy for lead actress in a drama series twice as well as the youngest two-time winner of any Emmy in history. It was quite a night for Zendaya, who also got teased by host Kenan Thompson earlier in the show. "Zendaya just turned 26, happy birthday. Twenty-six is a weird age in Hollywood. Young enough to play a high school student, but too old to date Leonardo DiCaprio," he joked.
The best dressed star on the Emmys red carpet — according to Twitter
Who won the 2022 Emmys red carpet? According to Twitter, it was Lily James, and it's not even close. The actress — a nominee for best lead actress in a limited or anthology series or movie for her performance in "Pam & Tommy" — was trending on Twitter thanks to her shimmering metallic gown. Lily stunned in a custom-made Versace dress… a dress that she had to be sewn into! "I am sewn into it at the back and it's corseted," she told "Entertainment Tonight" on the Emmys red carpet. "They designed it for me. The people that made this dress are phenomenal… We had so many fittings perfecting it and I'm so lucky." Twitter, too, thought the look was perfect, with many calling the British actress a "vision."
It's another big night for "Ted Lasso"
The "Ted Lasso" wins continue. At the end of the night, the acclaimed AppleTV+ series won the best comedy series Emmy for the second year in a row. Earlier in the night, Brett Goldstein won his second Emmy in a row for best supporting actor in a comedy for his work on the show. A bit later, Jason Sudeikis won the Emmy for best actor in a comedy series — also for the second time. "I'm truly, truly surprised and flattered," Jason said after his win. Backstage, Brett was asked how Jason has changed his life. "Jason and the show completely changed my life, and I'm forever indebted to them. If Jason wants me to kill people, I will," he joked. MJ Delaney also won an Emmy for best directing for a comedy series for her work on the hit AppleTV+ show.
An epic speech in song
Sheryl Lee Ralph was overcome with emotion after winning the Emmy for best supporting actress in a comedy for her work in "Abbott Elementary." The actress, however, managed to get her thoughts together, delivering an operatic-style verse from Dianne Reeves' song "Endangered Species." As the crowd applauded loudly, she said, "Anyone who has ever, ever had a dream and thought your dream… couldn't come true. I am here to tell you that this is what believing looks like. This is what striving looks like. And don't you ever, ever give up on you."
A stunning upset for "Succession" — and a huge win for "Squid Game"
Talk about an upset! All signs pointed to either Brian Cox or Jeremy Strong winning the Emmy for best actor in a drama series for their work on "Succession," but something funny happened… "Squid Game" star Lee Jung-Jae won the award. A stunner! With the win, Lee became the first actor from a non-English show to take home an Emmy. Variety reported that he's the first Asian actor to ever win lead actor in a drama series at the Emmys, and the fourth Asian actor to ever win an acting Emmy.
John Oliver is in seventh heaven
Should we just rename the outstanding variety talk series Emmy after John Oliver at this point? "Last Week Tonight With John Oliver" took home the Emmy in that category for the seventh time in 2022. In his acceptance speech, John thanked the crew of the show and managed to crack a self-deprecating joke. "It says 'stop now' in big letters," he said while pointing at a teleprompter. "I don't know if that's this speech or in general, but either way, it's a fair point." With that, he walked off the stage. Don't worry, if history is any indication, he'll be back on stage next year for an eighth time.
Lizzo wins an Emmy: "This is for the big girls"
Lizzo's trophy case has an addition. The music star won the Emmy for outstanding competition program for her show "Watch Out For The Big Grrrls," and her speech was moving. An emotional Lizzo called for more stories to be told. Speaking specifically of the "big girls," the three-time Grammy winner said, "The stories that they shared, they're not that unique, they just don't get the platform." Being reflective, she said, "When I was a little girl, all I wanted to see in the media was a girl like me. Fat like me. Black like me. Beautiful like me… If I could go back and tell little Lizzo something, I'd be 'You're gonna see that person, but, b****, it's gonna have to be you!' This is for the big girls."
A "Brady Bunch" reunion
Here's the story! Five original "Brady Bunch" stars reunited at the 2022 Emmys: Barry Williams, Mike Lookinland, Susan Olsen, Christopher Knight and Eve Plumb — all of whom starred on the sitcom in the '70s — came together on TV's biggest night. Unfortunately, there was no sighting of Marcia, Marcia, Marcia.
Big risk, big reward
It was all worth it. Jerrod Carmichael came out as a gay man on his "Jerrod Carmichael: Rothaniel" comedy special, which debuted in April. On Sept. 12, he won the Emmy for outstanding writing for a variety special and while accepting his trophy, he made a point to remind his fans that it wasn't easy to come out in the way he did. "I made something that was of great personal consequence to me and this definitely contributes to the meaning of it," he said in his acceptance speech. Wearing an open white faux fur coat, he added, "I wanted to win, and I'm happy I won. I'm not a sore winner but I'm gonna go home because I can't top this right now."
Host Kenan Thompson kicks things off with a dance party
The evening's host, "Saturday Night Live" star Kenan Thompson, kicked off the Emmys by lauding television and reinterpreting "legally cleared" TV theme songs from shows including "Friends," "Law & Order," "The Brady Bunch" and "Game of Thrones" (pictured) as dance tracks. He then brought out Oprah Winfrey, who received a standing ovation. "As you can see, tonight is a party," she said. "It's a celebration of the most successful broadcast medium in the world, television." The queen of daytime TV praised the nominees. "There are 8 billion people on this planet but only 25 Emmys to hand out tonight," she said, and with that, the Emmys were off and running…
A three-peat for this "Ozark" actress
The more things change, the more they stay the same. Julia Garner took home the award for best supporting actress in a drama series for her work on "Ozark." It marked her third win in the category. After hearing her name called, Julia knocked over her chair as she stood up and looked down at the chair in disbelief while walking back to the stage.
Steve Martin clarifies those retirement rumors
Over the last few weeks, rumors claiming "Only Murders in the Building" star Steve Martin was retiring made the rounds after he spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about slowing down. Not so fast, my friends! While speaking with E! News on the red carpet, the comedy icon said the rumors are "overstated." Steve clarified, explaining, "I have a television show, I have a book coming out and I'm touring with [Martin Short]. So that kind of is my retirement. That's what it's going to look like." After setting the record straight, co-star and longtime friend Martin Short was asked what he thought about his pal's retirement rumors. "I can't imagine him ever retiring," Martin said.
The good ol' days are over for broadcast TV networks
Well, this is awkward. Remember when shows from major networks dominated the Emmys? Those days are long past. Besides ABC's "Abbott Elementary," there were no nominees from ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX or The CW in the best show categories for comedy, drama or limited series this year. The mighty have fallen.
Barack Obama is now one of 2 presidents to win an Emmy
POTUS has his Emmy! At the Creative Arts Emmys ceremony a week earlier, former President Barack Obama nabbed an Emmy — his first — for narrating Netflix's "Our Great National Parks." The ex-prez already has two Grammys to his name, so he's halfway to an EGOT! Obama is only the second president to win an Emmy. Dwight D. Eisenhower received the Primetime Emmy Governors Award in 1956.
Chadwick Boseman posthumously wins an Emmy for Marvel TV project
The late Chadwick Boseman isn't done winning awards. Two years after his August 2020 death from colon cancer, the actor won an Emmy for his voice work on the Disney+ and Marvel Studios animated show "What If…?" His win was announced at the 2022 Creative Arts Emmy Awards ceremony — during which his widow, Simone Ledward Boseman, accepted his trophy — one week before the Primetime Emmys telecast. In 2021, the "Black Panther" actor posthumously won a Golden Globe.
Seventh time's the charm!
Finally! On his seventh try, Nathan Lane became an Emmy winner when he was named outstanding guest actor in a comedy series for his performance on "Only Murders in The Building." The prize was awarded at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards on Sept. 4, a week ahead of the Primetime Emmys ceremony. Nathan is also a three-time Tony Award winner.