Sunday was a big night for HBO—and not just because the premium cable network absolutely cleaned up at the 67th Primetime Emmy Awards.
Time Warner’s (TWX) HBO, which won more than three times as many awards as any other network at last night’s event, also seems to have received some free advertising for its standalone streaming service from the awards show’s host. Comedian Andy Samberg gave out what he claimed was the password information for his personal HBO Now account, complete with a username/password combination that reportedly actually worked (briefly, anyway).
In what first appeared to be merely a joke at the expense of HBO CEO Richard Plepler — who said earlier this year that he didn’t care about HBO Now account password-sharing — Samberg told the millions of people watching to use “Khalessifan3@emmyhost.com” as the account email and “password1” as the password. “Gotta have a number in there; throw them off the scent,” Samberg joked. Based on the social media response, quite a few people immediately went online to try Samberg’s purported HBO Now account, with many reporting back via tweets that they did successfully log in to HBO Now before eventually getting booted from the service due to the large number of devices signed on to just the one account.
It remains to be seen just how much HBO was actually in on the joke itself, although a spokesman for HBO told Fortune that, while the network did receive some heads up from representatives of the awards show before it aired, HBO didn’t know exactly what to expect ahead of Samberg’s gag. (Vulture also reported that HBO did not pay to have the joke incorporated into the program.) The network acknowledged the joke at its expense with a tweet mock-thanking Samberg for the influx of visitors to its service:
Later, after Samberg’s account stopped working, HBO Now tweeted out a reminder that new customers who sign up for the service can get a free, 30-day trial.
Samberg is familiar with HBO and its original programming, having recently starred in the tennis mockumentary 7 Days in Hell, which premiered on HBO in July. Samberg stars in the sitcom Brooklyn 99, which airs on Fox (FOX), the network that aired last night’s Emmy Awards.