Emmys: Can HBO Keep Its Throne Without 'Game of Thrones'?

Game of Thrones Dragon Necklace - Publicity - H 2016
Courtesy of HBO

Game of Thrones Dragon Necklace - Publicity - H 2016

The best drama series winner won't air during next year's eligibility period because of a production delay as FX nips at its heels, threatening HBO's 15-year reign as the most awarded network.

It's become one of the few sure things in television: For a 15th straight year, HBO topped all networks, this time with 22 Emmy wins. But how long can the reign last?

Despite HBO taking two of the three most coveted awards (Veep as outstanding comedy, Game of Thrones as best drama) on Sept. 18, the gap is narrowing with FX, which came within four wins this year. That marks the lowest margin of victory during the past five years and puts pressure on HBO's new programming chief, Casey Bloys, who will compete for Emmys in 2017 without Game of Thrones — the drama that has collected the most statuettes the past two years won't air during the eligibility period because of a planned production delay. "My fingers are crossed for next year," Bloys tells THR. "I think we have enough in the pipeline. There's enough room for everyone to make good stuff."

Bloys, who took over in May for Michael Lombardo, will have a sixth season of Veep, plus the new variety series winner, Last Week Tonight With John Oliver. Bloys also points to the Nicole Kidman-Reese Witherspoon miniseries Big Little Lies, the twice-delayed genre play Westworld in the drama series category, the new comedies Insecure (starring Issa Rae) and Divorce (with Sarah Jessica Parker) as well as stalwart Silicon Valley. Also due during the coming months are two high-profile TV movies: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, starring Oprah Winfrey, and Robert De Niro taking on Bernie Madoff in The Wizard of Lies.

Bloys also hopes the well-reviewed summer crime drama The Night Of will be a big contender come next year and potentially beyond as producers mull what a second season might look like. Whether that means bringing back some or all of the first season's cast or taking the anthology route, Bloys says his network "would absolutely do a season two."

This story first appeared in the Sept. 30 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.