Here's what the new 'Game of Thrones' Emmys record means for TV

'Thrones' has become the most-honored fictional program in Emmys history after the show's wins at the 2016 Emmy Awards, passing NBC's comedy 'Frasier.' What does this new record-setting say about today's industry?

Macall B. Polay/HBO/AP
'Game of Thrones' stars Emilia Clarke (r.) and Joe Naufahu (l.).

The TV program “Game of Thrones” may center on various characters battling for the right to rule the land of Westeros, but the 2016 Emmy Awards left no doubt that “Thrones” itself is king of TV. 

With its most recent wins, the HBO fantasy program has won the most Emmy Awards of any fictional primetime TV show. This year, the TV show, which is based on the bestselling novels by writer George R.R. Martin and concluded its sixth season earlier this past summer, won such prizes as best drama series and outstanding writing and directing for a drama series. 

In taking its new title, “Thrones” beats the NBC program “Frasier,” which had won 37 Emmy Awards. “Thrones” has now won 38. (The NBC TV show “Saturday Night Live” has won the most Emmys in the awards show’s history.)

Entertainment Weekly writer James Hibberd points out that “Thrones” overtaking “Frasier” is a great feat partially because “Thrones” hasn’t been on TV as long, and because the new TV world means “Thrones” has so many more shows to vie against.

“The record is particularly impressive considering Thrones has ‘only’ been on six seasons, while Fraiser was on for 11,” Mr. Hibberd writes. “And ‘Frasier’ was competing in an era of only a few TV channels, whereas this year offered more than 400 scripted shows.” 

However, Hibberd pointed out, “’Thrones’ has the advantage of being a lavishly produced drama that’s competitive in so many varied categories, from special effects to costumes to writing to directing to acting,” in contrast to “Frasier” being a traditional sitcom. 

Yet “Thrones” beating “Frasier” may also emphasize networks' recent struggles at awards ceremonies. Broadcast networks still get nominated for prizes, with such TV shows as ABC’s “Black-ish,” “American Crime,” and “Modern Family” and Fox’s “Empire” receiving nods, but had a difficult time picking up trophies this year.

“The broadcast networks continued to have a diminished presence at the Emmys,” New York Times writer John Koblin noted of this year’s ceremony. “NBC won two awards Sunday night, and ABC and Fox won one. CBS was shut out altogether.”

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