Emmycast fair game for NBC’s rivals

HBO, AMC among nets to make a play for auds

A lot is riding on Sunday’s Emmycast — but the competition isn’t making it easy for the TV Acad.

Although late August is usually considered a dead time of year in TV land, this Sunday promises to be a busy one.

HBO has lined up new episodes of “True Blood,” “Hung” and “Entourage.” AMC isn’t standing down against the Emmys, offering up a new “Mad Men” seg — even though the show is a favorite to once again clean up on the kudocast — and an original “Rubicon.”

Fox, meanwhile, has the NFL pre-season Steelers/Broncos matchup, while CBS continues with “Big Brother 12.” A&E’s “The Glades,” Lifetime’s “Drop Dead Diva” and E!’s “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” are also in originals. MTV even has a “Jersey Shore” marathon on tap.

In other words, the days of rival nets stepping aside and letting the Emmys shine are long over.

“You’ve just got to roll with the punches,” said one insider close to NBC’s Emmycast. “It’s too competitive now. Emmys may celebrate the best of TV, but no one’s getting a free ride anymore for anything.”

That’s no help to the TV Academy, as it heads into negotiations with the Big Four broadcast nets to renew Emmy’s broadcast “wheel” deal. The Acad would benefit if the show turns in a strong performance on Sunday.

But that might be tough: Fans of HBO shows will likely be watching HBO. For “Mad Men” lovers, the draw of a fresh episode will likely outweigh the allure of briefly catching Jon Hamm on stage in a tux.

An AMC spokeswoman said running a repeat against the Emmys wasn’t an option.

“Our scheduling decisions are made in service to our viewers,” she said. ” ‘Mad Men’s’ audience is bigger than ever and we don’t think interrupting the series is in viewers’ best interest.”

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