TV Academy Honors Salute Programs That Promote Social Change

Org honors eight specials and series

The initial audience for HBO’s “One Nation Under Dog: Stories of Fear, Loss & Betrayal” was barely 100,000 viewers — about the number of people that watch a show like NBC’s “The Voice” in Detroit.

Similarly, while millions take in the Primetime Emmys each year, only hundreds on May 9 will attend Television Academy Honors, the annual salute by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences to programs that promote social change.

For each, however, there’s a payoff that extends far beyond the initial ceremony.

“One Nation,” one of eight specials and series tapped for TV Academy Honors this year, has enjoyed a durable run on HBO since its June 18 premiere, passing 2 million in channel viewership (alongside additional viewings via DVD and other sources). That still might still seem small potatoes, but it illustrates how the story of a program’s success isn’t told with the initial viewing.

“When I began in this business, we looked at premiere ratings,” says HBO Documentary Films prexy Sheila Nevins. “We were sort of playing the network game, even though as a pay TV network we have multiple airings.

“We don’t look at that anymore. We look at the sum total at the end of a period. You get the sense that the subscriber is using your product, though not at the same time, not on the same platform and not necessarily when you decide they should see it.”

The nod from the TV Academy Honors (now in its sixth year) stamps the three-part documentary’s legacy as one of the most significant programs of the year, even if, as Nevins says, the Emmys grab more attention.

“We live in an era of bold-faced names, and bold-faced names tend to take the (Emmy),” Nevins says. “It’s hard to win big prizes for shows like that. These are lower-case people (in One Nation).

We understand we’re not selling anything here except the human experience.”

As the years pass and its gallery of awardees grows, it won’t be surprising to see the TV Academy Honors gain more recognition as well.

“We’re so grateful,” says Nevins, “and so honored.”

“Parenthood” Marches On

Showing that some good deeds do go unpunished, NBC’s “Parenthood” not only provided compelling, meaningful television in 2012-13, it drew steady ratings to earn a fifth-season renewal from the Peacock with an increased episode order.

Averaging about 5 million in same-night viewing last season, including 5.7 million for its last episode of
calendar 2012, Parenthood will come back next season for a 22-episode run – seven more than before.

Having tackled the tough topic of a child with Asperger’s syndrome from its first episodes, “Parenthood”
took on the additional challenge of Monica Potter’s character battling cancer. In each case, the show avoids melodrama.

Wrote Jace Lacob of the Daily Beast: “Where ‘Parenthood’ consistently succeeds is in making the small and mundane as important—and indeed powerful—as the large, life-and-death issues that face each of us in our
own lives.”


More TV

  • How Cooking-Travel Shows Are Changing TV

    How Cooking-Travel Shows Are Changing TV

    Toyo hunches over his street food stove, cooking tuna with a blow torch, stopping to light his cigarette with it and produce a cheeky grin. The Japanese chef, who owns a roadside stand in the city of Osaka, is one of many highlighted in the Netflix series “Street Food.” Over the course of 30 minutes, [...]


    SAG-AFTRA Leaders Approve Proposal for New Film-TV Contract

    The SAG-AFTRA national board has approved proposals for a successor deal to its master contract covering feature film and primetime television — a key step in the upcoming negotiations cycle with companies. The board approved the package Saturday with the performers union declining to reveal any specifics — its usual policy. The board established the wages [...]

  • Shannen Doherty'Jennie Garth: A Little Bit

    Shannen Doherty Joins 'Riverdale' Season 4 in Luke Perry Tribute

    “Riverdale” is planning to make a special tribute to Luke Perry. The show’s executive producer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa announced at Comic-Con that Shannen Doherty, Perry’s longtime friend and “Beverly Hills 90210” co-star, will guest star in the season 4 premiere. The tribute episode will “reflect Perry’s enduring legacy and the indelible imprint his character” Fred Andrews [...]

  • Supernatural CW

    'Supernatural' Team Gets Emotional Final Season Sendoff at Comic-Con

    The cast and creative team of “Supernatural” bid a fond farewell to the attendees of San Diego Comic-Con on Sunday. At the show’s final panel in the gargantuan Hall H, the team thanked the fans for all of their support over the years as the series prepares to enter its final season. “I’m trying not [...]

  • Alicia Rodis photographed by Alicia Rodis

    SAG-AFTRA Moves to Standardize Guidelines for Intimacy Coordinators

    SAG-AFTRA is moving to standardize guidelines for intimacy coordinators as part of an effort to establish policies for union members when their work involves nudity and simulated sex. “Our goal is to normalize and promote the use of intimacy coordinators within our industry,” said SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris. “Intimacy coordinators provide an important safety net for [...]

  • SDCC TV News Roundup: Syfy Releases

    SDCC TV News Roundup: Syfy Releases 'The Magicians' Season 5 Clip (Watch)

    In today’s SDCC TV news roundup, Syfy shares a clip from “The Magicians” Season 5, and Amazon sets the Season 4 premiere of “The Expanse.” CASTING Julie Gonzalo and Staz Nair have joined the cast of “Supergirl” for its upcoming fifth season. Gonzalo will portray iconic DC character Andrea Rojas aka Acrata, a polished businesswoman [...]

  • Doom Patrol -- Ep. 101 --

    'Doom Patrol' Renewed, Season 2 to Stream on DC Universe and HBO Max

    “Doom Patrol” has been renewed for a second season and will soon be available outside of DC Universe. At San Diego Comic-Con, series executive producer Jeremy Carver and star Diane Guerrero announced not only that the show will be back for another season but also that it will be available on HBO Max, the upcoming [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content