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Lifetime Jump-Starts Emmy Campaigning with Early ‘UnReal’ Push

Oscar season is in full force, but is it already time it jump into Emmy season?

The first For Your Consideration screeners of 2016 were sent out this week in the form of all 10 episodes of the entire first season of Lifetime’s “UnReal.”

While Emmy campaigning usually hits a fever pitch around May, Lifetime is kicking things off in January — a clear move to stay top of mind and catch the Television Academy’s attention before members are knee-deep in actual Emmy season.

Premiering in June of last year, “UnReal” was not eligible for the 2015 Emmys. Now that the show, starring Constance Zimmer and Shiri Appleby, is eligible, Lifetime is ensuring that it does not go unnoticed by running ads on trade sites, in addition to sending out the early screeners, which direct TV Academy members to the cabler’s official FYC website.

A breakout critical darling, the reality dating parody has received largely positive reviews and though the ratings aren’t huge, the show has cultivated a passionate following, especially among industry-ites. Like USA Network’s “Mr. Robot,” “UnReal” came as a surprise hit last year, putting Lifetime on the map as a scripted competitor in the Peak TV era, even gaining a nod from FX CEO John Landgraf who applauded the series when discussing “the extraordinary amount of quality in this platinum age of television” at the winter Television Critics Association press tour.

At the Critics Choice Awards on Sunday, Zimmer won the award for best supporting actress in a drama, beating out Golden Globe winner Maura Tierney from “The Affair,” plus contenders from “The Leftovers.”

Regardless of what happens at the Emmys this year, Lifetime certainly takes the title for one honor: sending out the earliest Emmy screeners of 2016.

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