Succession and Ted Lasso lose out to surprise HBO Max show at 2022 Emmys

The cast of The White Lotus TV series wave someone off as they stand on a beach
The White Lotus was the biggest winner at the 84th Primetime Emmy Awards ceremony. (Image credit: HBO Max)

An unexpected HBO Max show has just been crowned the biggest winner at the 74th Primetime Emmy Awards.

The White Lotus, a comedy-drama anthology series that debuted on HBO Max in July 2021, has stolen the headlines with its surprising five gong haul at the 2022 awards ceremony. Fan favorite shows, such as Ted Lasso and Succession, were expected to be the biggest winners on the night. Despite their 20-plus award nominations, though, the pair were beaten by The White Lotus' quintet of gongs – Ted Lasso securing four and Succession earning three by comparison.

Unsurprisingly, Ted Lasso and Succession earned some of the biggest awards on the night. Ted Lasso's second season claimed victories in the Outstanding Comedy Series, Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series, Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series, and Directing. Meanwhile, Succession season 3 landed awards in the Outstanding Drama Series, Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series, and Outstanding Writing in a Drama Series.

Even so, the pair were powerless to stop The White Lotus from winning the 2022 Primetime Emmys' main award ceremony. The underrated HBO Max series took home a number of other top awards, including Outstanding Limited or Anthology Series, Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited or Anthology Series, and Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited or Anthology Series. The show's creator – Mike White – also earned victories for Outstanding Writing in a Limited or Anthology Series and Outstanding Directing in a Limited or Anthology Series.

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What makes The White Lotus' triumph all the more impressive is that it had the biggest award wins to nominations ratio of shows put forward for the Emmys. With five victories from 20 nominations, The White Lotus nabbed itself a superb 25% win to nominee ratio. By contrast, Ted Lasso, the crown jewel in Apple TV Plus' original series line-up, earned a 20% win ratio (four wins from 20 nominations), with Succession – one of HBO Max's biggest hits – lagging way behind with a 12% win ratio (three wins from 25 nominations).

Compared to shows on other streaming services, The White Lotus' multi-award success at the 2022 Emmys isn't to be sniffed at, either. Prime Video only landed one Emmy – Lizzo's Watch Out for the Big Grrrls unexpectedly winning the Outstanding Competition Program category. Meanwhile, Netflix only bagged three Emmys on the night, one for Ozark and two for global phenomenon Squid Game.

It seems, then, that there's a new kid on the block when it comes to TV shows that wider audiences should check out. The White Lotus is its name, and upsetting the odds at one of the world's biggest award ceremonies is it game.

Analysis: HBO Max is still the master of prestige TV

Brian Cox in Succession season 3

Succession is still one of HBO Max's biggest TV shows. (Image credit: HBO)

The White Lotus might have knocked Succession down a peg or two, but the duo's 2022 Emmys success indicates that HBO Max is still the leading light when it comes to prestige television.

With 12 wins in the 25 main categories, HBO Max is far and away the most decorated streaming service at this year's ceremony. No other streamer came close to matching its near 50% win ratio, with Apple TV Plus a distant second with a 16% win ratio (four wins in the 25 main categories), Netflix third with a sorry 12% win ratio (three from 25), and Hulu fourth with a timid 8% win ratio (two from 25). The less said about Prime Video's 4% win ratio (one from 25), the better. Still, at least it earned one more gong than Paramount Plus or Peacock.

Disney Plus and Netflix may have the biggest subscriber bases, and Apple might be able to land some of the biggest actors and directors around – Steven Spielberg and Leonardo DiCaprio, anyone? – for its original movies and TV shows. But, when it comes to delivering on the award-winning front, HBO Max continues to laud it over its competitors.

It's likely that HBO Max's hot streak might continue in the foreseeable future, too. Succession season 4 is currently in development, while the streamer has another major hit on its hands in House of the Dragon, a spin-off show from its live-action adaptation of George R.R. Martin's Game of Thrones fantasy novel series. Add in other popular titles, such as Barry, Euphoria, Hacks, and now The White Lotus – all of which earned 2022 Emmy nominations (and won a couple between them) – and HBO Max's dominance of streaming's current golden age should continue.

The only thing that could scupper that is Warner Bros' recent merger with Discovery. The newly formed entertainment conglomerate plans to combine HBO Max with Discovery Plus, meaning that a name change could be in the offing as the two services are blended into one. If HBO Max's name isn't retained in some form, audiences might be initially confused about where they can watch Succession, The White Lotus, and more if they think HBO Max no longer exists.

As long as Warner Bros. Discovery markets its new streaming platform effectively, it should continue to assert dominance on the prestige TV landscape. Fail to do so, however, and the likes of Apple TV Plus, Netflix, and company could start to muscle in on its territory – especially from an award winning perspective.

For more TV show-based content, check out the best Apple TV Plus shows, best Netflix shows, and best Prime Video shows around.

Senior Entertainment Reporter

As TechRadar's senior entertainment reporter, Tom covers all of the latest movies, TV shows, and streaming service news that you need to know about. You'll regularly find him writing about the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Star Wars, Netflix, Prime Video, Disney Plus, and many other topics of interest.

An NCTJ-accredited journalist, Tom also writes reviews, analytical articles, opinion pieces, and interview-led features on the biggest franchises, actors, directors and other industry leaders. You may see his quotes pop up in the odd official Marvel Studios video, too, such as this Moon Knight TV spot.

Away from work, Tom can be found checking out the latest video games, immersing himself in his favorite sporting pastime of football, reading the many unread books on his shelf, staying fit at the gym, and petting every dog he comes across.

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