Snubbed WB huffy over ‘Buffy’

Emmy noms leap Frog, UPN smacks down 10

“Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Gilmore Girls” be damned: TV Academy voters completely shut out the WB on Thursday, handing the Frog net a whopping zero Emmy nominations.

The snub comes despite an extensive “Buffy” campaign by 20th Century Fox TV (and even the show’s fans), as well as a push by Warner Bros. Television to get the word out about those “Gilmore Girls.”

Both shows are frequently high up on critics’ lists and have been considered hot Emmy contenders.

Yet, despite 83 possible categories — and 416 separate nominations — the WB came up empty on all fronts.

Adding fuel to the WB’s ire, weblet UPN managed to smack down 10 noms — eight of which went to “Star Trek: Voyager.”

“If ‘Catcher in the Rye’ were released today, Academy members would look at the book and consider it a dime-store paperback,” railed WB Entertainment prexy Jordan Levin. “The Academy is totally out of step with the viewing public. Every report I heard this morning listed the same old boring shows.”

The noms in the comedy and drama series categories have been fairly constant for the past three years (see chart, page 32), but The WB has never been a big draw with Emmy voters. The weblet landed just five nominations last year, and four nods in 1999. None of those noms have been for what’s considered the top awards.

Levin, who’s an academy member, said he thinks there’s a “reverse ageism” in place among voters.

“They for some reason don’t look at young adult programming as important enough to be nominated,” he said. “There’s an arrogance and egotism about it. They’re making the Emmy Awards irrelevant.”

But TV Academy chair Meryl Marshall-Daniels disagreed, noting that there’s not a weak link in the dramas nominated for best series — leaving little room for other choices.

“The process is a tough one,” she said. “The WB has some superb programming, and there’s no reason why that shouldn’t be reflected somewhere. It’s tough to break through the consciousness of a significant body of professionals.”

Dearth of youth?

Levin also said he believed the Academy needs to reach out and recruit more young industry players as members. Marshall-Daniels said that remains an ongo-ing challenge for the org.

“It’s always a question whether people new to the industry are joining the Academy or know that they don’t need a formal invite to join,” Marshall-Daniels said. “The idea of getting younger members is extremely important to us, and I’m sure it will be on the agenda in the coming year.”

While disappointed that “Gilmore Girls” wasn’t nominated, exec producer Gavin Polone said the WB’s smaller distribution means fewer Emmy voters watch the show.

“We don’t produce our show for Emmy voters,” Polone said. “We produce it for the people who watch the WB.”

As for the weblet’s Emmy goose egg, “I’m not sure ‘Nikki’ should’ve gotten a nomination, but ‘Buffy’s’ a great show, and we’re great.”

Others irked

Of course, disgruntlement from net execs over the Emmy award process is hardly new. Ten years ago, Fox lobbied hard to get “The Simpsons” considered for a best comedy nomination; the show continues to compete in the animation category.

CBS’ fear that “Survivor” might not get a trophy helped convince the Academy to create two new nonfiction program categories.

And broadcasters continue to silently grumble that HBO’s loose broadcast standards and big budgets make for an uneven playing field in some categories.

(Josef Adalian contributed to this report.)

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