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After months of delays, TV's highest honors were given out at the Emmy Awards

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Last night, the TV industry finally had the party it has been waiting for - the Emmys. Postponed by the dual actors' and writers' strike from last summer, the Emmy Awards were also celebrating their 75th anniversary. Joining us to take us through TV's big night is NPR's Mandalit del Barco. Mandalit, good morning.

MANDALIT DEL BARCO, BYLINE: Good morning, Michel.

MARTIN: Let's begin with the night's big winners. Any sweeps or surprises?

DEL BARCO: Well, actually, it was maybe not surprising that the HBO series "Succession" about a media dynasty inspired by Rupert Murdoch picked up six awards. It won for outstanding drama series and also awards for its creator and writer, Jesse Armstrong, and actors Kieran Culkin, Sarah Snook and Matthew Macfadyen.

And the culinary series "The Bear" also got six Emmys for outstanding comedy series and its actors Jeremy Allen White and Ayo Edebiri. And finally, in the limited series category, "Beef" won five Emmys for outstanding series, as well as for actors Steven Yeun and Ali Wong and writer/director Lee Sung Jin.

MARTIN: So it doesn't sound like there were too many surprises there, but plenty of sweeps.

DEL BARCO: Right.

MARTIN: So obviously, with the actors fully back in the mix, you know, we got all the full glam, right? Were there any memorable speeches or moments on stage?

DEL BARCO: Well, you know, this time, as the Emmys celebrated 75 years of television, the ceremony was filled with nostalgia. There were a lot of familiar TV theme songs and cast reunions on re-created sets of "All In The Family," "Cheers," "The Sopranos," "Grey's Anatomy," "Martin," "Ally McBeal," even "SNL's" Weekend Update. And some TV legends were - presented the awards, including Carol Burnett. But among the winners, the most memorable speech came from Niecy Nash-Betts, who picked up an Emmy for her role in "Dahmer - Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story."

(SOUNDBITE OF 75TH EMMY AWARDS BROADCAST)

NIECY NASH-BETTS: And you know who I want to thank? I want to thank me...

(APPLAUSE)

NASH-BETTS: ...For believing in me and doing what they said I could not do. And I want to say to myself in front of all you beautiful people, go on girl with your bad self. You did that.

DEL BARCO: You know, she also gave a shoutout to what she called unheard, yet overpoliced Black and brown women, like Sandra Bland and Breonna Taylor.

MARTIN: As we mentioned earlier, this was a delayed Emmys. Did the strikes come up in the speeches or in the host, Anthony Anderson's, monologue?

DEL BARCO: Well, you know, so this ceremony was supposed to have happened last September, but the writers and actors were still on strike. They were on the picket lines, and Hollywood productions were shut down. Contract negotiations with the studios and streamers were contentious. But, Michel, I was surprised that there was only one mention of all of that by Sofia Manfredi. She's one of the writers of "Last Week Tonight With John Oliver."

(SOUNDBITE OF 75TH EMMY AWARDS BROADCAST)

SOFIA MANFREDI: We also want to thank our union, the WGA, and all the other unions that backed...

(APPLAUSE)

MANFREDI: ...With so much solidarity. The strike felt long. It did not feel lonely. So thank you so much.

MARTIN: And I do have to mention here, Mandalit, that tonight's awards were on the same day as Martin Luther King Day and the Iowa caucuses. I just wondered if there were any political moments, which sometimes happens.

DEL BARCO: Well, you know, during the ceremony, the organization GLAAD was honored for its decades of advocacy for LGBTQ characters and stories on TV. That was one reference to protecting and showcasing queer stories. And when the reality competition show "RuPaul's Drag Race" won an Emmy once again, RuPaul Charles directly addressed the recent backlash against drag queens.

(SOUNDBITE OF 75TH EMMY AWARDS BROADCAST)

RUPAUL CHARLES: Listen. If a drag queen wants to read you a story at a library, listen to her because...

(CHEERING)

CHARLES: ...Knowledge is power.

DEL BARCO: And since the ceremony was on MLK Day, the Emmys ended with one of the most powerful TV moments ever - Martin Luther King's "I Have A Dream" speech from 1963.

MARTIN: All right. Thanks for catching us up, Mandalit.

DEL BARCO: Thank you so much.

MARTIN: Mandalit del Barco. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Michel Martin is the weekend host of All Things Considered, where she draws on her deep reporting and interviewing experience to dig in to the week's news. Outside the studio, she has also hosted "Michel Martin: Going There," an ambitious live event series in collaboration with Member Stations.
As an arts correspondent based at NPR West, Mandalit del Barco reports and produces stories about film, television, music, visual arts, dance and other topics. Over the years, she has also covered everything from street gangs to Hollywood, police and prisons, marijuana, immigration, race relations, natural disasters, Latino arts and urban street culture (including hip hop dance, music, and art). Every year, she covers the Oscars and the Grammy awards for NPR, as well as the Sundance Film Festival and other events. Her news reports, feature stories and photos, filed from Los Angeles and abroad, can be heard on All Things Considered, Morning Edition, Weekend Edition, Alt.latino, and npr.org.

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