×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

For Awards, the Divide Between U.S., Global TV Shows Is Blurred Thanks to Streaming

Back in May, “Killing Eve” killed it at the BAFTA TV awards, winning the drama series prize as well as best actress for Jodie Comer and supporting actress for Fiona Shaw.

Killing Eve” is a phenomenal show, and deserves the accolades it has received, including a Golden Globe earlier this year for star Sandra Oh. But those three BAFTA wins came with a bit of controversy. In allowing the series to score 14 total nominations between its TV awards and TV craft awards, BAFTA (aka the British Academy of Film and Television Arts) bent its own rules. 

In order for a program to be eligible, the org usually requires it to premiere in the U.K., and for creative control to reside inside the U.K. “Killing Eve,” however, first aired in the United States, on BBC America (and in Season 2, was simulcast with AMC). The show was also first developed for BBC America. As a U.S. commission, it shouldn’t have been eligible for a BAFTA. 

But the program was nonetheless considered “British” enough — given that it was created by English writer-producer Phoebe Waller-Bridge, produced by the U.K.’s Sid Gentle Films, and predominantly set in the U.K. — that BAFTA gave it special dispensation.

“Killing Eve” is now also a major Emmy contender on this side of the pond, with nine nominations, including drama series, lead actress for Oh and Comer, and supporting actress for Shaw. The series’ success at the top TV awards shows in both the U.S. and the U.K. is a reminder that television has become much more global over the past decade.

The streaming services have hastened a teardown of those walls, but they’ve also added a level of confusion over what can even be considered an “international show.” Once upon a time, there was a clear divide between international and domestic productions, with just a few slightly blurred lines — PBS and WGBH with its “Masterpiece” projects, and HBO with its occasional U.K. co-productions. 

But even with those shows, it was usually clear that the U.S. partners were in on the ground floor and that these weren’t just acquisitions; U.S. programmers rarely acquired foreign productions — they remade them for domestic audiences. 

Now, with so much content flowing both ways, it’s often hard to tell what originated overseas before arriving here and what was jointly developed as an international co-production from the beginning.

In the case of the Emmys, semantics are important. According to TV Academy rules, “foreign television production is ineligible unless it is the result of a co-production (both financially and creatively) between U.S. and foreign partners, which precedes the start of production, and with a purpose to be shown on U.S. television.”

But “precedes the start of production” is a tricky stipulation that may be hard to pinpoint. Netflix’s “Bodyguard” and Amazon’s “A Very English Scandal” were initially announced in the U.K. as BBC productions, and it was only later that Netflix and Amazon were announced as partners. But in both cases, the streamers said they signed on early enough to have a say in production — and therefore the programs were eligible.

It’s a bit of an honor system, as the TV Academy requires that a U.S. partner be involved with creative input early enough in a season’s creative process but doesn’t do a deep dive into specifics. If Netflix and Amazon say they were involved from the beginning, unless someone objects, there’s no reason to doubt them.

In the case of Pop TV’s “Schitt’s Creek,” the comedy’s first season wasn’t submitted for Primetime Emmys because it was solely a CBC production in Canada. But Pop became involved as a co-producer in Season 2, subsequently making the show Emmy eligible — and leading to its four nominations this year, including comedy series, lead comedy actor (Eugene Levy) and lead comedy actress (Catherine O’Hara). Another series, Amazon’s “Absentia,” was originally produced overseas for AXN, and also wasn’t up for an Emmy in its first year due to the international restriction.

Of course, the International Emmy Awards are another option for any program that doesn’t meet Primetime Emmy eligibility. And they also serve a greater purpose, often honoring foreign language productions both U.S.-based and internationally produced. The Primetime Emmys honor English-language programming only.

But now that programs from around the world are available domestically — almost immediately via streaming services — and even linear broadcasters are more willing to take a shot on shows that originate outside U.S. borders, does it still make sense to try to parse where they came from? If TV is breaking down those barriers, perhaps it’s time for the Emmys to do the same.  

More TV

  • Writers vs Agents Packaging War WGA

    Agencies' Antitrust Suit Against Writers Guild Set for January Hearing

    The antitrust suit filed by Hollywood’s major agencies against the Writers Guild of America has been set for a Jan. 17 hearing. U.S. District Court Judge Andre Birotte issued the calendar update this week on the litigation, filed on Sept. 27 by CAA, UTA and WME after the agencies consolidated their individual agency suits. The [...]

  • Gabrielle Carteris SAG Awards

    Gabrielle Carteris Preps for 26th Annual SAG Awards

    SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris is already looking forward to the 26th SAG Awards on Jan. 19, held in its usual location at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. “One of the best things about the SAG Awards is that it’s a peer-to-peer recognition,” she says. “It’s the highest honor for performers to be recognized by [...]

  • GoliathSeason 3CR: Greg Lewis/Amazon Studios

    'Goliath’ Renewed for Fourth and Final Season at Amazon

    Amazon has renewed gritty legal drama “Goliath” for a fourth and final season. The series centers on washed-up lawyer Billy McBride, played by Billy Bob Thornton, who seeks redemption after a client he successfully defended from a murder charge went on to slaughter a family. Thornton won a Golden Globe for his performance in 2017. [...]

  • Jon Favreau'The Mandalorian' TV show premiere,

    Jon Favreau Already Has a Star Picked for His 'Star Wars' Holiday Special

    The “Star Wars” franchise is no stranger to the strange and odd. But the wildest of all the offerings from the galaxy far, far away is the bizarre (but beautiful) “Star Wars Holiday Special.” And Jon Favreau is ready to resurrect it. The TV special celebrating the Wookiee holiday “Light Day” aired on CBS in [...]

  • Justin Marks FX

    'The Jungle Book' Writer Justin Marks Inks Overall Deal With FX Productions

    “Counterpart” creator and showrunner and “The Jungle Book” scribe Justin Marks has signed an overall deal to create new content for FX Productions. “Justin is a true creative talent and we feel fortunate to be his partners in supporting his vision of bold and ambitious storytelling,” said FX Entertainment original programming president Gina Balian. Marks, [...]

  • Tye Sheridan

    Tye Sheridan Starring in Survival Thriller 'Wireless' From Steven Soderbergh for Quibi

    Quibi has ordered another show with notable Hollywood talent attached: scripted series “Wireless” starring Tye Sheridan with Steven Soderbergh on board as executive producer. In the made-for-mobile-screens thriller, a smartphone has a central role. Sheridan (“Ready Player One,” “X-Men: Apocalypse”) plays a self-obsessed college student who is stranded in the Colorado mountains after he crashes [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content