×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Could ‘Fleabag’ and ‘Succession’ Be Spoilers on Emmy Night? (Column)

At the onset, this year’s Emmy Awards felt a bit anticlimactic, as the final seasons of “Game of Thrones” and “Veep” appeared to have this year’s drama and comedy categories locked up before campaigning even began. But that’s how upsets happen: Just when we’re pretty confident about how things might go, a couple of wild cards get dealt at the last minute.

Make no mistake: The drama race is probably still down to “Thrones” versus “Killing Eve,” and the comedy competish between “Veep” and “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” 

Nonetheless, as final voting got under way last month, “Thrones” and “Veep” were a distant memory for most. Even at Emmy FYC events, the two shows being discussed the most inside the biz by late August were a pair of underdogs: HBO’s delicious media-mogul saga “Succession” and Amazon’s wickedly sharp comedy “Fleabag.”

Succession,” which earned an outstanding drama series nomination for its freshman season, returned for its sophomore run on Aug. 11 — right before final round voting began. The show was a quiet performer last year, but its juicy, and often hysterical, take on a Murdoch-esque family has now caught the attention of Hollywood and critics, who have taken to obsessively chronicling the show.

That won’t be enough for “Succession” to siphon many votes for top drama from HBO’s other nominee, the 800-pound gorilla that is “Game of Thrones,” but it could give its nominations a boost in the directing, casting and writing categories. And then there’s the show’s original main title theme music nomination: The show’s catchy opener may have piqued enough ears over the past month to land it a win. Expect bigger things for the series’ Emmy presence when Season 2 is eligible next year, including likely nominations for some of the show’s cast.

Meanwhile, angling even more for spoiler status may be “Fleabag,” which returned for Season 2 on May 17 after a three-year absence. That’s a lifetime in this Peak TV era, yet the timing of its comeback turned out to be a bit of serendipity for the comedy, which entered the pop culture zeitgeist (thanks in part to its now-infamous Hot Priest, played by Andrew Scott) as nominations got underway.

TV critics continued to heap tons of attention on “Fleabag” — including big wins at the Television Critics Assn. press tour — guaranteeing that it would continue to be in the conversation during final Emmy voting. “Fleabag” boasts several key nominations, starting with creator-star Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who’s up for lead actress. The show’s Sian Clifford and Olivia Colman are up for supporting actress, and the program is nominated for writing and directing for a comedy series.

Amazon’s “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” is the incumbent winner, and the streamer continued to put more of its campaign efforts there — including an extensive “Maisel Day” promotion that generated tons of press. But “Fleabag” could be the comedy that sneaks through, given the timing.

We wrote earlier this year about the strategy of premiering shows down to the May 31 eligibility cut-off wire, which could very well be a sound strategy for shows like “Fleabag.” Meanwhile, summer programs like “Succession” can benefit from the marketing push and buzz that come from the following year’s run landing right in the middle of voting.

But it’s also a reminder of the idiosyncrasies of the Emmy calendar, which mirrors the broadcast network fall-to-spring TV season. A year before the 2020 Emmys, next year’s race is already shaping up, thanks to what may be the busiest summer in TV history. Before “Succession” became TV’s show du jour, audiences were obsessing over the return of “Big Little Lies,” while fans were seen waiting in line for hours to get a taste of a pop-up version of the Scoops Ahoy ice cream parlor from “Stranger Things.” Other shows people couldn’t stop talking about over the past few months included newcomers like HBO’s “Euphoria” and “Years and Years,” Amazon’s “The Boys,” CBS All Access’ “Why Women Kill” and OWN’s “David Makes Man,” as well as new installments (and in the case of “Orange Is the New Black,” final ones) of FX’s “Pose,” Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale,” Paramount Network’s “Yellowstone,” TNT’s “Claws” and Netflix’s “GLOW,” “Mindhunter” and “Orange.”

All of those shows are already 2020 Emmy contenders, and that’s just the beginning, as outlets like Apple Plus and HBO Max come on line with more originals, and the existing cable and streaming outlets ramp up their output. Right now, we’re entertaining the idea of Emmy spoilers, but 2020 may be the year the race is ripped wide open — and nothing is considered a lock. 

More TV

  • Ted Sarandos Netflix

    Ted Sarandos: Netflix Is Why 'Friends,' 'The Office' Remain So Popular

    In an onstage conversation with Katie Couric at Vanity Fair’s New Establishment Summit on Wednesday, Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos waved away concerns over the streaming service’s upcoming loss of “Friends” and “The Office,” instead focusing on the company’s push in original programming and its international content growth. “One of the reasons ‘Friends’ and [...]

  • Castle Rock -- "Let The River

    'Castle Rock' Boss on Annie Wilkes' Origins, Telling an Immigration Story in Season 2

    SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched the first three episodes of “Castle Rock” Season 2, streaming now on Hulu. When “Castle Rock” co-creators and executive producers Dusty Thomason and Sam Shaw were first researching Maine to develop their Hulu anthology series based on the world of Stephen King, something that [...]

  • 'Adventure Time': HBO Max Orders Four

    'Adventure Time': HBO Max Orders Four One-Hour Specials

    Less than a week after announcing its historic deal with Studio Ghibli, HBO Max is continuing its push into animation. The forthcoming streamer has ordered four one-hour “Adventure Time” specials from Cartoon Network Studios, the first two of which will debut exclusively on HBO Max in 2020. Collectively titled “Adventure Time: Distant Lands,” the specials [...]

  • Euphoria HBO

    'It's an Explosion': Inside the Rising Costs of Making a Scripted TV Series

    When Apple TV plus launches on Nov. 1, it will do so with what’s arguably the most expensive new-series lineup in TV history. Among the streamer’s initial offerings are the drama “The Morning Show,” bearing a price tag believed to be more than $15 million an episode, and the dystopian sci-fi series “See,” which is [...]

  • Peter Coyote, winner of the award

    Peter Coyote to Play Robert Mueller in CBS Studios James Comey Miniseries

    The CBS Studios miniseries based on James Comey’s  book “A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies and Leadership” has added another player. Robert Coyote has boarded the show to play Robert Mueller, Comey’s predecessor in the role of FBI Director, who was appointed to lead an investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. His final [...]

  • CBS HEADQUARTERS

    Wall Street Trims ViacomCBS Forecasts After Post-Deal Financial Disclosure

    Top media analysts have cut their short-term growth prospects for ViacomCBS following last week’s financial disclosures that came as part of the closing of CBS Corp.’s stock-swap takeover deal for Viacom. In the Oct. 17 filing, CBS Corp. released specific year-to-year projections for its free cash flow yield, guidance that the company has not offered [...]

  • CBS

    CBS Sets Six Participants in 2019-20 Writers Mentoring Program

    CBS has announced the six writers who will participate in its 2019-2020 Writers Mentoring Program. The eight-month mentoring program, set up in 2004, aims to provide access and opportunity for writers by pairing them with a CBS executive mentor who helps them develop a new piece of material. Following the mentorship period, the writers will [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content