It’s too soon to tell how a prolonged writers strike might impact the Primetime Emmy Awards, the TV Academy said last week. But even if the season is cut short and no new episodes are produced beyond the ones finishing up this month, the Emmy show could still go on.
That’s because, according to TV Academy rules, six episodes of a series must have been telecast to be eligible for the competish. Most shows — even midseason entries — already had at least that many segs in the can when the scribes hit the pavement.
“That means the shows currently on the air would not be in jeopardy,” a TV Academy rep said.
But that will make for an unusual Emmy faceoff, as most shows and thesps could have fewer choices this year when it comes time to pick their standout episode or performance.
And in an unusual twist, some cable series — which traditionally just produce 13 episodes a season, compared with 22 or more at the broadcast nets — may wind up with a larger body of work to showcase, as many went into production earlier (and began running earlier) than broadcast fare.
If a strike continues, the drama categories will also shake up, with “24” and Kiefer Sutherland ineligible to be nominated (as Fox has pushed the show until a strike is resolved). And it may be good news for new shows, which frequently submit their pilot — compared to returnees, which often submit their season finales (which are now put on hold) .
Of course, the questions are moot if the strike ends. And the Academy rep noted that it’s still too early to determine any contingency plans for the Emmycast itself, which doesn’t take place until next September.
Other kudocasts also could be impacted, should the strike go long.
The last time the WGA went on strike, in 1988, the guild refused to grant the Oscarcast a waiver for writers, so the show’s producers enlisted comedians and actors to write their own material for the telecast. Such work was not covered by WGA contract, giving the show some leeway.
It’s far too early to say whether the Oscars would seek a guild waiver this time around.