Kimmel opened the show with scenes of an audience, before he revealed that he was actually performing in a near-empty auditorium.
“Of course we don’t have an audience. This isn’t a MAGA rally. It’s the Emmys,” the ABC latenight host said, later referring to the show as “The No People’s Choice Awards.”
In early categories, Catherine O’Hara and Eugene Levy both won for the final season of “Schitt’s Creek,” the first Emmy for the two comedy veterans since receiving awards for writing “SCTV” in the early 1980s. Levy’s son, Daniel Levy, was also recognized for writing the Pop TV show.
Through the Creative Arts Ceremony, devoted to technical areas and programs in dozens of categories not included in the main primetime telecast, HBO and Netflix were tied with 19 awards each.
Netflix broke a record this year in terms of total nominations, with 160, thanks in part to the volume of programming that the streaming service pumps out.
It will be interesting to see if the unusual format engenders enough curiosity to prompt more people to tune in, especially with “Thrones,” a huge popular hit, no longer in the mix. Presented by the Television Academy, the Emmys experienced a sharp ratings decline last year to record-low numbers airing on Fox.