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'This Is Us,' Stranger Things' stars arrive early for Emmys

By Jill Serjeant

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Satirical sketch show "Saturday Night Live' took the Emmys by storm on Sunday, winning three early awards in a ceremony marked by multiple jabs at U.S. President Donald Trump.

After the show's most-watched season in 23 years, Alec Baldwin won the comedy supporting actor Emmy for his withering impersonations of Trump, while Kate McKinnon was a winner for her spoofs of his presidential election rival Hillary Clinton and White House aide Kellyanne Conway.

"Saturday Night Live," which airs on Comcast Corp's NBC, also won the Emmy for best variety sketch series, while Melissa McCarthy's turn as former White House press secretary Sean Spicer won her an Emmy last week.

Spicer, who resigned in July, was a surprise guest at Sunday's Emmys, appearing with his famous press podium to declare that the Emmys telecast would attract the largest audience ever. Period.

But it was Trump who was front and center of the live ceremony in Los Angeles.

"The biggest TV star of the past year is Donald Trump - and Alec Baldwin, obviously," said Colbert, who has relentlessly attacked Trump on his talk show "The Late Show."

Colbert also joked about Trump's multiple Emmy nominations but zero wins for his reality show "Celebrity Apprentice," before he decided to run for the White House

"If he had won an Emmy, I bet he wouldn't have run for president," Colbert told the A-list audience.

"It's your fault! He never forgave you and he never will. But unlike the presidency, the Emmys go to the winners of the popular vote," Colbert quipped, referring to the 2016 election result.

Accepting his statuette, Baldwin quipped, "I suppose I should say, 'at long last Mr. President, here is your Emmy'."

Laura Dern and John Lithgow won Emmys for their respective supporting roles in "Big Little Lies" and "The Crown."

Other awards are expected to bring a slew of new winners to the Emmys, especially in the coveted best drama series category, announced at the end of the show.

The absence of two-time Emmy champ "Game of Thrones" because of a later broadcast date opened the door to two new Netflix contenders "Stranger Things" and British royal series "The Crown." They are joined by newcomers "The Handmaid's Tale," on Hulu, HBO's sci-fi drama "Westworld and NBC's "This Is Us."

Millie Bobby Brown, 13, could become the youngest actress ever to win an Emmy for her role as a girl with special powers in "Stranger Things."

In comedy, Julia Louis-Dreyfus is expected to win her sixth consecutive Emmy for playing an egotistical, losing presidential candidate on Time Warner's HBO comedy "Veep."

"Veep" could also be a repeat winner for best comedy series, with actor-director Donald Glover's hip-hop themed "Atlanta" and contemporary African-American family show "black-ish" seen by pundits as its closest rivals.

(additional reporting by Lisa Richwine and Piya Sinha-Roy, Editing by Mary Milliken)