Emmys 2016: How to watch and what to expect

In the game of Emmys, you win or you die.
In the game of Emmys, you win or you die.
Image: Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP
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The 68th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards are Sunday, Sept. 18, at 7pm eastern on ABC. Comedian Jimmy Kimmel, who hosted the ceremony once before (in 2012), will return as the best actors, writers, and directors in television are honored at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.

“Best,” however, is debatable (HBO’s The Leftovers didn’t receive any nominations, for goodness sake). What’s not debatable is that the Emmys is the biggest night in television and this year’s nominees demonstrate just how much TV, both as a platform and as a storytelling medium, has evolved in the last few years.

Here is the full list of nominations. HBO’s Game of Thrones is the frontrunner to win best drama, though USA’s Mr. Robot or FX’s The Americans could spoil that. HBO’s Veep is the heavy favorite to win best comedy series, an award the political satire has been up for five years in a row, winning last year.

If you’re noticing a pattern, it’s because HBO yet again dominated the nominations, leading the field with 94 total. FX is a distant second with 56 nominations, and Netflix is third with 54. Still, the sheer number of cable networks—and streaming services—represented prove that television is bigger and broader than ever before. Gone are the days when the major broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC) would win most of the awards. In fact, no broadcast networks are up for best drama, while only one (ABC) is nominated for best comedy (Black-ish and Modern Family).

Here’s how to watch the show (and the Red Carpet beforehand):


If you live in the United States, the ceremony will be broadcast live on ABC. If you live in the US, own a TV, but don’t subscribe to a cable package, you can get ABC for free over the air with an HD antenna. Red carpet coverage begins at 7pm eastern, while the actual show should begin at 8pm.

E! will be live from the Red Carpet starting at 4:30pm eastern. CBS News will have its own Red Carpet coverage here.


If you pay for a cable TV subscription that includes ABC, you’ll be able to stream the awards live on ABC’s website and the ABC app. You’ll be asked to authenticate your cable credentials, meaning those without a login (or a parent’s or friend’s) are out of luck.

Cord-cutters do have a few other options. Internet TV service Sling TV offers ABC as part of its “Broadcast Extra” package in select metropolitan areas (Chicago, Fresno-Visalia, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, Raleigh-Durham, and San Francisco). Sling offers a 7-day free trial.

Playstation Vue offers ABC, but, once again, only in select cities (New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Dallas, San Francisco, and Miami). Vue recently expanded to the entire US, but unless you live in one of those cities, you won’t be able to watch the broadcast networks, including ABC, live. You’ll only get their on-demand content. Vue also offers a 7-day free trial.

If you live outside the US and want to watch via Sling or Vue, you could try signing up through a VPN service that tricks Vue into thinking you live in the US. That said, such practices are legally murky, and it’s possible Sling or Vue would detect that you’re using a VPN anyway.

If all else fails, and you really must watch the show live, you can try googling “Emmys live streams” and find any one of a number of seedy streams for free. Just know that those are indeed illegal, and usually stream in bad quality.