AWARDS CIRCUIT COLUMN: Will ‘Better Call Saul’ Be the Last Basic Cable Drama to Receive Big Emmy Love?
ABC’s “Abbott Elementary” has been rightly praised as broadcast TV’s great new Emmy hope, a critically acclaimed comedy that helped the traditional networks avoid completely getting shut out in the key scripted categories this year. But while the broadcasters have lamented the loss of their competitive edge among Television Academy voters for more than a decade, now it’s basic cable’s turn to watch their fortunes fade.
This year, just two basic cable series made it into the outstanding series field: AMC’s “Better Call Saul,” in drama, and FX’s “What We Do In the Shadows” in comedy. It’s a far cry from the golden age of basic cable at the Emmys, when the drama field, in particular, was dominated by the platform. The streak began in 2002, when FX made history by becoming the first basic cable network to win one of the major Emmy awards — when Michael Chiklis was named best actor for “The Shield.”
By 2008, basic cable was on the same path first forged by HBO when it leveled the playing field for premium cable a decade earlier. That year, both AMC (“Mad Men”) and FX (“Damages”) received drama series nominations — and “Mad Men” won.
“Mad Men” kept that streak alive in 2009, 2010 and 2011 — and then AMC was back in 2013 and 2014 with “Breaking Bad.” Comedy has been a bit harder for basic cable to pull off a win; it finally happened in 2020 with Pop TV’s “Schitt’s Creek” — but that victory was driven in tremendous part by the show’s exposure on streaming services (specifically, Netflix).
And there’s the rub. The quick acceleration of streamers from novelty to awards dominance has now pushed much of basic cable aside — just as cable started doing that to broadcast at the start of the millennium.
The earlier success of FX and AMC convinced plenty of other scripted basic cable networks — TBS, TNT, MTV, Lifetime, even E! and Bravo, briefly — to get into the prestige drama and comedy business. And it briefly worked. But it was a costly investment, and as cable began bleeding audiences to streamers, it didn’t make sense to continue. Many networks like Lifetime and MTV eventually went back to reality. And now others are getting out of it due to shifting corporate priorities. Pop TV is out of the originals game, and so now are the networks formerly known as Turner.
The remaining basic cable networks still doing scripted are either focused on longform (Hallmark, Lifetime) or are premiering their shows on a streamer, like FX’s shift to Hulu. AMC is holding on, but it, too, has a streamer it is steering programming to. (AMC also didn’t get much Emmy attention for its “The Walking Dead” juggernaut, and it’s uncertain whether the cabler’s next big franchise, the Anne Rice vampireverse, will do any better with kudos.)
That’s what makes the nominations for “Better Call Saul” and stars Bob Odenkirk and Rhea Seehorn so bittersweet. As cable morphs into something different, is this a last hurrah for the cord? In a few years, will HBO (as it relies more on HBO Max), Showtime, FX and AMC even be considered cable — or will they all be streaming services, part of a larger digital entity?
Read more here.
Sydney Sweeney Leads All Emmy Nominees, at Least According to Fandom’s User Pages (EXCLUSIVE)
Online fan platform Fandom looked at fan engagement as it relates directly to this year’s Emmy nominees, and found perhaps very different results for some of this year’s key categories.
Looking at total 2022 page views on the Fandom site, the site found that Sydney Sweeney (“Euphoria”) has generated far and away the most page views of any individual nominee, while “The Great” star Nicholas Hoult narrowly led the lead actor, comedy, category. Also, “What We Do In the Shadows” was tops with fans in total page views.
Here are some of their fan-centric findings:
Winner: “Stranger Things,” 36M (2022 page views)
Alt: “Better Call Saul,” 21M (2022 page views)
Winner: “What We Do In The Shadows,” 757K
Alt: “Ted Lasso,” 694K
Winner: “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” 18M
Alt: “The Amazing Race,” 3M
Lead Actor In A Drama Series:
Winner: Jason Bateman, “Ozark,” 92K
Alt: Jeremy Strong, “Succession,” 91.9K
Lead Actor In A Comedy Series:
Winner: Nicholas Hoult, “The Great,” 21K
Alt: Jason Sudeikis, “Ted Lasso,” 20K
Lead Actress In A Drama Series:
Winner: Zendaya, “Euphoria,” 428K
Alt: Laura Linney, “Ozark,” 138K
Lead Actress In A Comedy Series:
Winner: Rachel Brosnahan, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” 21K
Alt: Kaley Cuoco, “The Flight Attendant,” 20K
Supporting Actor In A Drama Series:
Winner: Nicholas Braun, “Succession,” 86K
Alt: Kieran Culkin, “Succession,” 82K
Supporting Actress In A Drama Series:
Winner: Sydney Sweeney, “Euphoria,” 1M
Alt: Julia Garner, “Ozark,” 308K
Supporting Actor In A Comedy Series:
Winner: Brett Goldstein, “Ted Lasso,” 50K
Alt: Nick Mohammed, “Ted Lasso,” 25K
Supporting Actress In A Comedy Series:
Winner: Juno Temple, “Ted Lasso,” 25K
Alt: Hannah Waddingham, “Ted Lasso,” 23K
Kudos in Crisis: As Globes Eye NBC Return, SAG and Spirit Awards Continue Search for New Homes
NBC took a Golden Globes breather in 2022 after new allegations of questionable financial practices inside the small, insular organization — as well as its paltry record of diversity and representation — turned the already controversial HFPA into more of a pariah. The org has spent more than a year in reform mode, to the point that NBC appears ready to bring the show back in 2023.
NBC and the HFPA remain in talks to make it official, but insiders say much of the heavy negotiating is done, and now it comes down to remaining smaller issues. It’s unclear whether NBC will pay the whopping $60 million license fee that was renegotiated in 2018, when networks were particularly desperate to hold on to live events. But the real question mark revolves around the willingness of stars to show up for the event. No A-list commitment translates to no interest from NBC.
The Globes, at least, has a theoretical broadcast home to return to. The Screen Actors Guild Awards will find itself homeless in 2023, as longtime partner TNT (and its sister network TBS) continue to downsize in the wake of the Warner Bros. Discovery merger. As the T-Nets shed assets, the SAG Awards parted ways with the cabler company after 25 years.
SAG-AFTRA has employed power attorney Ken Ziffren to find a new home for the telecast, which is now being shopped to outlets. But so far, insiders say the price tag is steep, as are the costs of producing the show. With budgets tightening as the economy grows shaky, and the appetite for awards shows becoming even less apparent, it’s unlikely any of the major nets has any money to spare to bid very high.
“There’s no win,” says one network exec. “The SAG Awards at its best is not going to move anyone’s needle.”
Also on the market: The Film Independent Spirit Awards, which has aired for years on IFC. Of course, IFC hasn’t been the Independent Film Channel in nearly a decade, which made the ceremony a bit out of place on a network now focused on quirky comedies and sitcom reruns. With IFC now out of the picture, it’s unclear where — or if — the Indie Spirits might land, but it may bump into the same limitations as the SAG Awards.
Read more here.
Creative Arts Emmys Producer Bob Bain Previews This Weekend’s Ceremonies
(Above: RuPaul at the 2021 Creative Arts Emmys.)
There’s a reason why event producer Bob Bain didn’t employ a host for this year’s two Creative Arts Emmy ceremonies. He has 45 awards to give out on Saturday, Sept. 3, and 48 categories to honor on Sunday, Sept. 4 — which means there’s little time for anything else.
“If you think about it, the biggest challenge for a host is that once you have him or her, you have to justify them being up there,” Bain says. “For us to create, over the course of two hours, six or eight throws or standups for a host, just takes up more time than we feel we need to spend.”
Instead, the two Creative Arts ceremonies will open with short monologue, with other comedic breaks that will be sprinkled throughout the shows. But Bain’s goal is to bring these shows in at between two and two-and-a-half hours, before sending the audiences on to the post-show Governors Galas (formerly known as the “Ball”) on each night.
“It’s pacing,” Bain says. “If I had to put my job into one word, that’s it. We’re still learning, but we’ve got it down to a science because we’ve been doing this now for six or seven years. It really is about moving through this material as quickly as you can and peppering the proceedings with very short variety pitstops, so that people don’t get too bored with the inherent monotony of the process.”
The Creative Arts Emmys used to be a single night affair, but that ceremony would clock in at more than four hours. “I mean, it was complete drudgery,” Bain says. “And that’s one of the smartest things that I think the Academy has done since I’ve been here, is split these into two nights.”
Last year’s Creative Arts Emmys was actually carved into three shows over two days, but that was a function of safety and social distancing in the middle of the COVID-19 outbreak. Of course, the pandemic is still a concern this year, and proper measures are still being followed.
The Creative Arts Emmys will be back at the Microsoft Theater in downtown Los Angeles’ L.A. Live complex, where the Primetime Emmys will be held the following week, on Sept. 12. The Microsoft’s usual theater-style seating will instead be decked with 94 tables, each with a capacity for 12 people. (Others will still be accommodated with traditional seats in the back.)
“We wanted to create this kind of nightclub environment,” Bain says. “And they’re basically being positioned around satellite stages, so that it makes it easier to get to a stage, depending on where your table is.”
Once the second show is over that Sunday night, Bain’s work is far from over. After that, he and his team must take two nights’ worth of footage — more than four hours of awards — and condense it down into a two-hour recap, set to air Sept. 10 on FXX. The special must be delivered to the network by Thursday, just four days later.
“That means we are jammin’ from the moment that this show is done,” Bain says.
ON THE CIRCUIT: BAFTA Garden Tea, Sponsored by ‘Squid Game,’ and More
This weekend’s BAFTA Garden Party, co-hosted by Netflix and “Squid Game,” served as a fundraiser to support BAFTA’s work to raise awareness and support for their learning, inclusion and talent initiatives in North America. Held at the British Residence in Hancock Park under a sweltering sun, the scones with clotted cream were very delicious.
Hey look, it’s Variety’s Team TV! Well, those on the west coast, along with special guest Joe Otterson, visiting from New York for the week. As Emmy season (and summer!) draws to a close, and as we prepare for a new TV season (yes, those still exist!), I thought it would be fun to have everyone over for a little Variety fun. From left: Diane Garrett, Kate Aurthur, Elizabeth Wagmeister, me, Jenelle Riley, Clayton Davis, Emily Longeretta, Selome Hailu, Joe Otterson
and BreAnna Bell.
The newest show from “The Americans” masterminds Joel Fields and Joe Weisberg is FX’s “The Patient,” featuring Steve Carell and Domhnall Gleeson in a thriller that clocks in at 30 minutes an episode! More of that, please. Above at last week’s premiere event, the four of them in a re-creation of he set where Gleeson’s character keeps Carell’s character hostage.
Peacock sharing some source material for upcoming and returning shows including “Vampire Academy,” “One of Us is Lying” and “Everything I Know About Love.”
Executive producers E. Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin are behind Nat Geo’s “Edge of the Unknown with Jimmy Chin,” a 10-episode look at pioneering adventure athletes.
“Rick and Morty” is back for Season 6! And this time, it’s “Wormageddon.”
AppleTV+ is marking one final season of Jason Momoa‘s “See.”
BURNING QUESTION: Do ‘The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power’ Theatrical Screenings Impact Emmy Eligibility?
Writes J. Kim Murphy:
“The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” will screen its first two episodes at fan events across the world on Aug. 31, two days before it makes its streaming debut on Amazon Prime Video.
Cinemark created a page for the one-night-only event, with a note that tickets will become available on Monday at 9 am PT. The reservation also comes with a $10 snack voucher. The event is only available to Cinemark Movie Rewards members — the theater chain’s two-tiered loyalty program, which includes a free subscription option.
Outside of the U.S. and Canada, Amazon will also screen the series in locations in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Argentina, Colombia, Australia and New Zealand. Reports indicate that the fan event will unfold across roughly 200 locations globally.
Here are the TV Academy rules when it comes to theatrical screenings:
9a. Television programs that are offered for “general theatrical release” occurring prior to their airing or Internet exhibition are not eligible. A “limited theatrical release” prior to the airing or Internet exhibition of the television program cannot exceed an aggregate of up to seventy (70) days prior exhibitions (i.e., 7 theaters for 10 days). A program with a prior theatrical release loses eligibility if it does not air within a year of its initial public exhibition, regardless of if this is or is not a general release. Film festival screenings do not count as theatrical screenings.
So the key issue here in this case is the term “release.” Since it’s a free promotional screening, it doesn’t count as a release. The TV Academy tells me: “Since these screenings are by invitation only, and tickets are not being sold, we see these as promotional screenings, which will not affect Emmy eligibility.”
In other words, “The Rings of Power” is still on tap next year to compete as Lord of the Emmys.
Television Academy Announces This Year’s Emmy Sponsors
The Television Academy has announced its new and returning corporate partners for the 2022 Emmy Awards season, which is why you’ll be seeing these products a lot in the next few weeks, particularly at the TV Academy events. Newbies include Justin Vineywards and Winery, which is the Emmys official wine partner for the first time.
Other sponsors include:
Kia America returns as the official automotive partner of the Emmys for the third year in a row; Franciacorta is providing numerous varietals of sparkling wines, in its second Emmy partnership; and yes, Fiji water — you remember their really aggressive workers popping up in photos all over the place — is back as well.
Also, Ketel One Family Made Vodka returns as the official spirits partner of the 74th Emmy Awards Season; People is… wait, what? Official entertainment magazine partner… ok, sure; and United Airlines is in its 23rd year in partnership with the Television Academy as official air carrier.
AWARDS CIRCUIT PODCAST: Trevor Noah on Kanye, Will Smith and How Social Media Poisons the Well of Civil Discourse
Trevor Noah admits that he didn’t think his exchange with Kanye West on social media earlier this year would blow up the way it did.
After Noah discussed, on “The Daily Show,” West’s behavior toward ex-wife Kim Kardashian, West responded by directing a racial slur at him on Instagram, which led to West being banned on the platform for a day. At the time, Noah responded on Instagram by noting that “the biggest trick racists ever played on black people was teaching us to strip each other of our blackness whenever we disagree,” and also that “I don’t care if you support Trump and I don’t care if you roast Pete. I do however care when I see you on a path that’s dangerously close to peril and pain.”
The Grammys, which Noah hosted, canceled West’s appearance on the show, in a move that Noah criticized. In speaking with Variety’s Awards Circuit Podcast, Noah explained why he responded in the way that he did.
“I’ve just become more comfortable speaking my mind in situations where I feel like the mob forgets that we’re dealing with human beings,” he says. “It’s easy to stand on the sidelines, see a train crash coming and say nothing about it. And then after the train crashes off the tracks, we say, ‘Oh, I saw that coming!’ Well, then why didn’t you say anything? Especially if you have some sort of platform, you have some sort of obligation to speak a truth. You know, see something and say some thing.
“And I also understand that human beings are a paradox. We can love people who we hate, we can hate people who we love. Human beings as a whole are complicated paradox. And so, I don’t like to live in a world where we constantly discard human beings like pieces of trash. Kanye West is somebody who has an indelible impression on my life. His music has literally taken me through different periods of my journey, But then there are also moments where I go, like, ‘man, Kanye, you, you’re going off the rails here.’ But I can still say that, ‘I care for you as a human being, that’s, that’s why I’m speaking out. I’m not going to not care for you, I’m not going to hate you all of a sudden.’ That’s how I try and see the world, that’s how I would hope people would see me.
“If I’ve engaged you as a human being, and if you like me, or if you like anyone in your life, I hope you’d have the ability to say to that person, ‘hey, I think what you’re doing here is wrong. I think you may be headed in the dangerous direction. And I’m saying that you because I like you. I don’t discard you as a person.’ And I think we have gotten very comfortable discarding human beings, immediately tossing them away and making them irredeemable characters. When in fact, I think all of us should be afforded the opportunity to redeem ourselves. All of us should have an opportunity at redemption.”
On this edition of Variety’s Awards Circuit podcast, we talk to “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah” host about a wide range of topics, including doing a topical late night show when the news is so incessantly grim. Also, the success of his correspondents, the fact that he may be the only weeknight talk show host who hasn’t gotten COVID, how he got his audience groove back and also the show’s multiple Emmy nominations — seven across “The Daily Show” and its companion series, the most for the franchise since Noah took over as host in 2015. Listen below!
Variety’s “Awards Circuit” podcast, produced by Michael Schneider, is your one-stop listen for lively conversations about the best in film and television. Each week “Awards Circuit” features interviews with top film and TV talent and creatives; discussions and debates about awards races and industry headlines; and much, much more. Subscribe via Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify or anywhere you download podcasts. New episodes post weekly.
Read more here.
Clayton Davis’ Emmy Winner Predictions: Outstanding Structured Reality and Unstructured Reality Categories
Clayton Davis is putting up his early Emmy predictions. This time out, he tackles unstructured and structured reality:
“Love is Blind,” the streaming sensation with Nick and Vanessa Lachey guiding the viewer has tickled the zeitgeist by finding people willing to get engaged before seeing each other’s faces. The second season had plenty of twists and turns, and it managed to return after a brief hiatus due to COVID. The nom might be another stepping stone toward an eventual win, but it doesn’t look like it’ll be this year.
“Queer Eye” is tied with “Shark Tank” as the most awarded in this category, it’ll be a photo finish to see who gets to set the record and keep the notoriety all for themselves. The Fab 5’s sixth season performed very well on the streamer and continues to be a fan favorite, spreading positive messages all around, something our world desperately needs more of. The record could be well within reach.
“Shark Tank” is the second most nominated series ever behind “Antiques Roadshow,” it’s also tied for the most wins alongside “Queer Eye.” The “sharks” (Barbara Corcoran, Mark Cuban, Lori Greiner, Robert Herjavec, Daymond John and Kevin O’Leary) continue to make dreams come true and dash them in the wake of their movement. With the economy having a seemingly strange and downward turn, will that affect whether voters pull away from voting for the ABC series — especially since it hasn’t won since 2017?
The first nomination for Chip and Joanna Gaines is priceless, but it also came with the launch of their own Magnolia Network. Not just renovating homes, they continue to renovate the TV landscape and the Academy voters are noticing. They could be a dark horse in the race and start a winning trend.
The sole nomination for “Antiques Roadshow,” the PBS series, it’s garnered 20 Emmy nominations across multiple categories shifting from non-fiction to reality program and finally into structured reality program in 2015; it has yet to win a single statuette. Will the Public Broadcasting Service ever go beyond collecting noms and move to trophies? The appraisal seems to be low at the moment.
After the main series “Below Deck” snuck into the lineup last year, the Bravo spin-off found its way into the fold after seven seasons. This season follows Captain Sandy Yawn and her entertaining crew on the superyacht. Is there room for it to make a big splash in the category? Voters have been known to surprise us from time to time.
These types of noms bring pure joy to the awards season, showcased by the mention of Netflix’s reality love series, “Love on the Spectrum U.S.” Following people on the autism spectrum as they explore the dating world, the charms and hearts of Ronan, Kassandra, Teo and fan-favorite Michael, is the type of programming and diversity inclusion the TV Academy should be rewarding.
The spin-off of VH1’s multiple Emmy-winning “RuPaul’s Drag Race” is coming off its first win last year and is tied for the third most noms ever in this category. But, with momentum for the main competition show and the added visibility on Paramount+, will the expanded “werk room” created in accordance with COVID-19 protocols be too much of a call back to the past two years that many would like to forget?
The home-field advantage revolves around the Oppenheim Group, the high-end real estate firm in Los Angeles, which landed its second nom consecutively over its five seasons. Following twin brothers, Brett and Jason, and their band of brokers, can the West Hollywood and Newport Beach agents get a massive commission with its first Emmy win? Perhaps the MTV Award for Chrishell Stause and docu-reality show is an indicator.
The second season of the cheerleading series following the nationally ranked Navarro College Bulldogs Cheer Team has been embraced again. Impressive because it managed to get the nom with the added distraction of Season 1 star Jerry Harris being sentenced to 12 years in prison. Winning in 2020, could coach Monica Aldama bring the “W” again? Only three shows have won this category more than once, but it’s possible.
Send Me Your Questions, Comments and More!Feel free to send your burning Emmy questions and suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org, and your hot tips as well! Thanks for reading.