Eleven television awards were given out at the 74th annual Golden Globes last night, and for the first time in almost three decades, HBO was not among the winners.
The last time HBO failed to win a single Golden Globe award was in 1991, but that was before the premium cable network consistently developed its own programming. By then, it had started making a few sporadic series and made-for-TV movies, but didn’t really become a major player until the late 1990s. HBO has won at least one Emmy every year since 1987.
Unlike the Emmys, the Globes combine the limited series and TV movie categories. HBO has long dominated the TV movie category, but when competing with the likes of the FX limited series The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, the network didn’t fare as well last night as it’s used to. The Globes also only give out individual TV awards for acting, while the Emmys have awards for directing, writing, and other niche categories that HBO shows routinely win.
Caveats aside, it’s somewhat of a shock to see HBO go home empty-handed, especially because the network led the field with 14 nominations. FX won the network battle with four wins (two for Atlanta and two for The People v. O.J. Simpson), followed by AMC with three (all for its miniseries The Night Manager). Netflix grabbed two wins for The Crown.
FX’s ascendancy, however, was very much expected. Network president John Landgraf has FX churning out critically-acclaimed hit after hit. Under Landgraf, a former producer who became president in 2005, FX has developed a reputation for fostering ambition, taking creative risks, and supporting its showrunners through thick and thin. The result is a network that can now boast two of the top four shows of the year. The four Globes wins were its most ever.
And in terms of winning awards, FX is flourishing at the perfect time, as rival HBO experiences a bit of a lull in between seasons of established shows like Game of Thrones, Westworld, The Leftovers, and The Night Of, and while it awaits new shows like Big Little Lies and The Deuce to premiere.
HBO should fare better at the Emmys in September, but FX isn’t going away. The fight to be cable television’s most prestigious network is now squarely between two evenly matched competitors.