Awards HQ August 1: Exclusive ‘Severance’ Video; BET’s Big Bet; Norman Lear’s 100th Birthday; More!
Greetings from Variety Awards Headquarters! Today is August 1, 2022, which means11 days until final round voting begins on August 12, followed by 27 days until final round voting ends on August 22. Then comes the finales: It’s 33 days until the Creative Arts Emmys kicks off its two-night event on September 3; and then it’s 42 daysuntil the 74th Emmy Awards takes place, live on NBC, September 12.
Happy August! Or as we can also refer to it, my birthday month! I am very disappointed to report that I did not win the Mega Millions this weekend… but that’s probably clear by the fact that you’re still receiving this email today. Had I become a billionaire over the weekend, well, I think it’s safe to say I would already be on an island somewhere.
Instead, you’re stuck with me for the rest of Emmy season. As we’re now less than two weeks away from voting, the Variety Emmy Extra Editions, curated by my colleague Emily Longeretta, are back, starting today with the actor issue, and then the actress issue on August 4. Keep an eye on your mailbox or your inbox (the digital version is immediately available for all)! More pop-up events are on the way too. Now, let’s get going!
EXCLUSIVE: See How Emmy Nominee ‘Severance’ Brought Lumon Industries to Comic-Con
Not all of this year’s San Diego Comic-Con action took place on the convention center floor or in its ballrooms. While studios and producers like Marvel made headlines in Hall H, thousands of attendees to this year’s Con took time out to visit lavish, expensive activations geared toward an experiential visit to the worlds of films and series like Apple TV+’s “Severance,” HBO’s upcoming “Game of Thrones” prequel “House of the Dragon” and the upcoming “Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves” movie. For fans, hungry to return to Comic-Con — the first since 2019, after two years of virtual events due to the pandemic — the ability to once again interact with pop culture was most welcome.
Above, watch how Apple TV+ turned a wing of the Hard Rock Hotel into the mysterious Lumon Industries of Emmy nominee “Severance.”
And praise Kier, Comic-Con attendees had the chance to undergo their own “Severance.” As “new employees,” visitors had a chance for first-day orientation, starting with the boardroom (where Adam Scott’s voice welcomed crowds). They then were shuttled to different sections of the “severed” floor, with sets copied directly from the show — including the MDR, where new “innies” had a chance to refine data, interact with actors playing Lumon employees… and of course, dance to some defiant jazz.
AWARDS CIRCUIT COLUMN: How BET Finally Got Some Overdue Emmy Recognition, Thanks to Its Big Programming Bets
We talk a lot about history-making Emmy nominations and wins, and it’s always fun to talk about “firsts” — such as “Squid Game” becoming the first non-English-language show to land a series nomination. But one breakthrough that struck me was BET’s significant showing via its streaming service, BET+.
That includes a nod in the directing for a comedy series category, for the freshman series “The Ms. Pat Show,” and choreography for scripted programming via the period drama “The Porter.” It’s the first time BET has received any major scripted series nominations; the company’s previous three nods were for music direction, actress in a short-form series and exceptional merit in nonfiction filmmaking. BET’s only Emmy to date came from the New York-based National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, which honored it for the public service campaign “Rap-It-Up.”
In other words, it’s about time. Even though BET has been around for more than four decades — having launched in 1980 — it has never been in serious Primetime Emmy contention until this year. It’s the latest feather in the cap of BET head Scott Mills, who was promoted to CEO in November.
For much of BET’s existence, it was known more for its music programming and videos than for original fare. When he took over as company president nearly five years ago, Mills sought to change the image of BET, signing Tyler Perry to an overall deal, launching BET+ and creating BET Studios.
“These two historic nominations really are first important milestones and an extraordinary affirmation of this transformation of BET that the whole team has been working on for the last four-plus years,” Mills tells me. “We realized that to realize our potential, that we would really have to elevate the quality of the content that we delivered to our audience, we would have to expand the breadth of the content we delivered to our audience, we’d have to expand the resonance and relevance and ultimately the volume because we were creating all these platforms. And so, to do that, we knew we had to work with top Black content creators and we had to really expand BET’s relationships.”
Happy 100th Birthday to Emmy Nominee Norman Lear, Who Will Celebrate With a New Tribute Set to Air This Fall on ABC (EXCLUSIVE)
Television icon Norman Lear is celebrating his 100th birthday on Wednesday with some big news befitting the legend: ABC has revealed plans to celebrate Lear’s centennial with a primetime special this fall. Variety has exclusively learned that ABC will air “Norman Lear: 100 Years of Music and Laughter” on Thursday, Sept. 22 at 9 p.m. ET.
The two-hour special will honor the life and legacy of Lear, including his work as a producer, activist and philanthropist. The list of celebrity guests and musical performances set to appear on the special and pay homage to Lear will be announced at a later date.
The special will come just ten days after the 74th Emmy Awards, which Lear — already the TV Academy’s oldest Emmy nominee and winner ever — plans to attend in person. Lear, who has won two Emmys in recent years for his “Live in Front of a Studio Audience” specials with Jimmy Kimmel on ABC, is nominated again this year for the third edition, which aired last year and re-created “Diff’rent Strokes” and “The Facts of Life.”
Done+Dusted — which is coincidentally executive producing the Emmys again this year with Reggie Hudlin (for NBC), is set to produce the Lear special, along with Walt Disney Television Alternative. Executive producers are David Jammy, Brent Miller, Raj Kapoor and Eric Cook.
Lear and Miller have been based at Sony Pictures TV, where their Act III Prods. has held a deal right up to his 100th birthday.
Lear is a 2017 Kennedy Center Honoree; a recipient of the National Medal of Arts in 1999 and the Peabody Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016; and part of the inaugural group of inductees to the Television Academy Hall of Fame in 1984. He has won six Primetime Emmys and a Golden Globe.
In Move to Save Golden Globes, HFPA to Become For-Profit Org, Add More Voting Members
Eldridge Industries is taking over the Golden Globe Awards, which will be turned into a private entity separate from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s charitable and philanthropic programs, which will be managed as a non-profit entity.
The HFPA membership voted to approve the transfer of ownership to Eldridge, which is run by Todd Boehly, who has served as the org’s interim CEO since last year. The HFPA put itself on the auction block in May, and Boehly had been looking to buy the organization since then. This spring, the group formed a special committee within the nonprofit organization to determine potential outside strategic interest in its organization and assets.
“This is a historic moment for the HFPA and the Golden Globes,” said HFPA president Helen Hoehne. “We have taken a decisive step forward to transform ourselves and adapt to this increasingly competitive economic landscape for both award shows and the journalism marketplace. Our special committee and team of legal and financial advisors did an incredible amount of work in reviewing, analyzing, and comparing the options presented to us. We are excited to move forward with a mandate to ensure we continue our support for increasing diversity in all areas and maintaining our life-changing charitable and philanthropic efforts.”
According to the HFPA, Eldridge will create a new private company, which would acquire all rights for the Golden Globes intellectual property “and be empowered to oversee the professionalization and modernization of the Golden Globe Awards. The transition will include the development of staff and an executive team to lead the new organization.”
As part of the transition, the group will add additional Golden Globes voters “to increase the size and diversity of the available voters for the annual awards,” the group said. But it also calls into question what a for-profit entity will look like, and whether that will further cause concerns over the org’s already frequently lambasted conduct. There’s also the question of Boehly now both owning the Globes and, through Eldridge, MRC Live and Alternative — the company formerly known as Dick Clark Prods., which produces the Globes. (Boehly is also reportedly aiming to acquire MRC Live and Alternative outright, according to Puck. Such a move may further surface conflict-of-interest questions.) The HFPA said in its press release that it would have no further statements or address the news beyond what was announced.
The HFPA’s move comes after more than a year of turmoil for the nearly 80-year-old press organization that has thrived over the past 25 years on lucrative fees from NBCUniversal and other partners for the Golden Globe Awards.
There’s still no confirmation as to whether the Globes will return to NBC in 2023, but the new ownership structure is likely a step forward in potentially making that happen. As Varietyreported in June, the HFPA had met with major studios in networks in the spring and early summer to lay out the list of changes the org had made over the past year and a half. The HFPA touted the addition of 21 new members (nearly half of whom were women, and most of whom where people of color), as well as DEI training, a new chief diversity officer, new independent advisors and consultants, an NAACP partnership, new gift, travel and conflict of interest policies and other bylaws, among other reforms.
The HFPA has been in reform mode since spring 2021, when the Los Angeles Times detailed new allegations of questionable financial practices inside the small, insular organization, as well as paltry record of diversity and representation (including an entire lack of Black members). The group responded by releasing a framework for reform that included measures to increase the number of people of color in its ranks. The org had already instituted new restrictions on gifts that the members could receive and payments for work on their committees.
Nonetheless, those charges of questionable practices and a lack of diverse membership led NBC to announce that it would not air the Golden Globes in 2022.
In May 2021, HFPA announced a timeline that would overhaul the organization by creating “five pillars of change: accountability, membership, inclusion, good governance/ethics, and transparency.”
ON THE CIRCUIT: ‘House of the Dragon’ Premiere, ‘Better Call Saul’ Mailer and More
HBO’s “Game of Thrones” prequel “House of the Dragon” held its big world premiere last week on July 27 at the new Academy Museum of Motion Pictures. Here are Matt Smith, Katya Zvereva and Caleb Landry Jones at the after party. (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer via Getty Images)
As “Better Call Saul” ends its run, Sony Pictures TV sent this mailer, featuring the wine stopper, flip phone, coffee mug, Saul’s license plate and other iconic items from the show — and in particular, this final season.
Shark Week mailers continue to be legendary, although under the new Warner Bros. Discovery world.
ABC News and CNN are among the top-nominated news outlets in the 43rd Annual News and Documentary Emmy Awards administered by The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.
Walt Disney-backed ABC News secured 39 different nominated, while Warner Bros. Discovery’s CNN garnered 37, according to a breakdown compiled by the independent accountancy firm of Lutz and Carr, LLP, for NATAS. PBS and Vice both secured 28 and Paramount Global’s CBS News generated 26, while Warner Bros. Discovery’s HBO notched 23.
These particular awards honor programming content from more than 2500 submissions that originally premiered in calendar-year 2021, judged by a pool of over 800 peer professionals from across the television and streaming/digital media news and documentary sector.
”At a time when critical, monumental, and world-changing events are more immediately available and accessible than ever before, the work of the journalists and documentarians that bring us the truth of these stories is under tremendous assault. We honor these individuals’ courage and excellence of craft that allows each of us to be better informed and understanding of the issues of our day,” said Adam Sharp, NATAS president and CEO, in a prepared statement.
This year’s categories are more content-driven than daypart-driven, focusing on distinctions such as live/edited content and long form/short form. In the Outstanding Live News Program category, for example, NBC’s “Today” will compete against ABC’s “World News Tonight,” while ABC’s “20/20” is represented in the Outstanding Recorded News Program category alongside programs such as “CBS Sunday Morning.”
The News Emmys have added an Outstanding Emerging Journalist category for the first time.
The awards will be presented in two individual ceremonies. News categories will be awarded Wednesday, September 28, 2022 at 7:30 p.m. ET, and documentary categories will be awarded Thursday, September 29th, 2022 at 7:30 p.m. ET. The awards will be made live at the Palladium Times Square in New York City, and will be streamed live on NATAS’ dedicated viewing platform powered by Vimeo, available on the web at Watch.TheEmmys.TV and via The Emmys apps for iOS, tvOS, Android, FireTV, and Roku.
As part of the ceremonies, two people will receive a lifetime achievement award. Judy Woodruff, anchor and managing editor, PBS NewsHour, will be given one for news. She has covered politics and other news for five decades at NBC, CNN and PBS. Sir David Attenborough, biologist, humanist and filmmaker, will be given one for documentary. He is one of the world’s leading natural history filmmakers, making many landmark series including Life on Earth, The Blue Planet and Planet Earth.
VARIETY EMMY COVER: Michael Keaton Dissects the Difficulties of Working in TV, Taking On a Drug Crusade and Revisiting Bruce Wayne
The Variety Emmy special editions are back for Phase 2, edited by Emily Longeretta! Today’s edition focuses on best actor. Emily writes:
Michael Keaton has a reputation for saying no. He’s not sure how it began — but he’s aware of it. In fact, he nearly said no to “Dopesick.”
When his agent first told him about the project, he didn’t think he’d have time since he had a commitment out of the country. Then he was told it was coming from creator Danny Strong and took a look at the script.
“Then it was real. The writing was good, we had a discussion and then we were filming,” says Keaton, who had already signed on to do a movie in London, so all his scenes were pushed together into a short period.
“I was told that people used to refer to me as ‘Doctor No,’ because apparently, I used to say no a lot. I don’t think I really said no to that much. The things that I said no to, there was a reason. It wasn’t like I was above it. It just wasn’t fitting into my life, or I didn’t think I could do the job very well,” he explains. “There were a lot of times I’ve looked at something and think, ‘There probably are 50 guys who could do this better than I could.’ But I’d never done anything like this.”
After he agreed to take on the series, Strong began writing more episodes.
“We were so lucky to get Michael Keaton to star in ‘Dopesick,’ because he is one of the most talented actors in the business,” the writer says. “He exudes an innate depth and kindness and has an incredible emotional range that was perfect to capture the ups and downs of Dr. Finnix’s complex journey.”
At the time, Keaton was working on other projects and then was finally sent new scripts. “I realized, ‘Whoa, boy, this is gonna be a lot harder than I thought.’ But I was already in.”
ILM’s StageCraft and ARRI Among Engineering Emmy Awards Recipients
Jazz Tangcay writes:
Industrial Light and Magic’s StageCraft suite of virtual production tools and ARRI were among the recipients of this year’s Engineering, Science and Technology Emmy Awards.
The Television Academy on Thursday unveiled the 2022 recipients of the awards that honor an individual, company or organization for developments in broadcast technology. The lifetime achievement honor will be bestowed to Paul Debevec for his contributions to imaging and other technology that powers virtual production.
“Innovation is a vital part of television production; and the talented engineers, scientists and technologists we have recognized are essential to the growth of our industry, said Frank Scherma, chairman and CEO of the Academy. “These pioneering companies and visionaries have leveraged the power of technology to elevate television and storytelling in fundamental ways.”
Added Committee Chair John Leverence, “Earlier this year the Academy formed the Science & Technology Peer Group representing members who are involved in the strategy and development of technologies that enable or advance the storytelling process for the television industry.” Leverence went on to say, “Under the leadership of the new peer group’s governors and co-chairs Wendy Aylsworth and Barry Zegel, this year’s newly constituted Engineering Emmy Awards Committee honors a wide range of innovative solutions to once seemingly intractable technical problems.”
AWARDS CIRCUIT PODCAST: ‘Pam & Tommy’ Star Lily James Understands Why Pamela Anderson Didn’t Want to Watch Her Portrayal
Sebastian Stan was on set and Lily James was in the middle of a massage when the Emmy nominations were announced last month. Both became first time nominees, thanks to their work on the Hulu limited series “Pam & Tommy,” which was also nominated for outstanding limited or anthology series.
The Emmy-nominated pair guest on the Awards Circuit podcast this week – in separate interviews with Variety’s Jenelle Riley – and discuss how they immersed themselves into the roles of Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee. James also reveals what it was like going back and watching “Baywatch” to prepare for the role and the stress of putting herself in Anderson’s shoes during some of the emotionally grueling scenes. Stan discusses moments he can relate to being in the eye of the public (right before his interview, he was escaping paparazzi) and delves into working with his acting coach Larry Moss, who helped him prepare for Tommy.
Also on this episode, our Awards Circuit Roundtable discusses the lead actress categories for this year’s Emmy awards. Listen below!
Variety’s “Awards Circuit” podcast, produced by Michael Schneider, is your one-stop listen for lively conversations about the best in film and television. Each week “Awards Circuit” features interviews with top film and TV talent and creatives; discussions and debates about awards races and industry headlines; and much, much more. Subscribe via Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify or anywhere you download podcasts. New episodes post every Thursday and Friday.
MTV VMA 2022 Nominations Revealed: Kendrick Lamar, Lil Nas X, Jack Harlow, Harry Styles, More
Jem Aswad writes:
MTV has unveiled the nominations for the 2022 VMAs: leading the pack are Jack Harlow, Kendrick Lamar and Lil Nas X with seven each, closely followed by Doja Cat and Harry Styles with six, and Billie Eilish, Drake, Dua Lipa, Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift and the Weeknd with five. The show takes place at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey on Sunday, August 28 at 8 p.m. ET/PT.
Harlow and Lil Nas X both earned multiple nods for their No. 1 hit collaboration “Industry Baby,” while Madonna, who is the most-awarded artist in MTV history with 20 wins, becomes the only artist to be nominated in each of the VMAs five decades (1980s-2020s), as she earns her 69th nomination for “Madame X.”
2022 also sees 26 first-time nominees, including Baby Keem with four and Gayle, Kacey Musgraves and Måneskin with two each, plus first nominations for Anitta, Becky G, Dove Cameron, Karol G, Itzy, Jid, Muni Long, Tems, Wet Leg and more.
For the third consecutive year, the “VMAs” will simulcast on The CW Network, making the show available to an expanded broadcast audience, in addition to BET, BET Her, CMT, Comedy Central, Logo, MTV2, Nickelodeon, Paramount Network, Pop, TVLand and Vh3.
Fans can vote for their favorites across 22 gender-neutral categories, including “Video of the Year,” “Artist of the Year,” “Best Collaboration” and two all-new categories “Best Longform Video” and “Best Metaverse Performance,” by visiting vote.mtv.com through Friday, August 19, 2022. Voting for “Best New Artist” will remain active into the show on Sunday, August 28. Nominations for social categories including “Group of the Year” and “Song of Summer” will be announced at a later date.