Awards HQ July 25: The Emmy Nomination Viewership Bump; Which Categories Will Appear at Each Emmy Ceremony; More!
Greetings from Variety Awards Headquarters! Today is July 25, 2022, which means18 days until final round voting begins on August 12, followed by 34 days until final round voting ends on August 22. Then comes the finales: It’s 40 days until the Creative Arts Emmys kicks off its two-night event on September 3; and then it’s 49 daysuntil the 74th Emmy Awards takes place, live on NBC, September 12.
I’m just back from San Diego Comic-Con, where the fans were back — and so were the networks and studios. Further down I’ll share some images from key activations, but it was fun to see several Emmy contenders strutting their stuff. I also got a chance to moderate two panels for new shows — Dan Harmon‘s new animated Fox comedy “Krapopolis,” and Peacock’s new thriller “The Resort” — which, who knows, could be 2023 Emmy contenders.
As of this writing, we still don’t have an Emmy host… fine, I’ll do it. See you on stage on Sept. 12! Now, let’s get going!
EXCLUSIVE: How Emmy Nominations Immediately Helped Spark More Demand For TV’s Top Shows
According to Reelgood, there was a noticeable boost in viewership and engagement for the TV shows in the comedy series, drama series and limited or anthology series categories a week after the Emmy nominees’ announcement.
Reelgood looks at weekly streaming and engagement activity, and data is indexed against the average of each title’s weekly streaming and engagement activity from January to July 2022. According to Reelgood, its weekly streaming engagement is an aggregate of behavioral data on the Reelgood site and apps, including playback, tracking, and other interactions.
See below for the week to week growth for nominated series. For example, activity for “Ted Lasso” in the Reelgood platform was 1.15 times higher that week than the average streaming and engagement index activity it has had since January 2022. Here are the index for series the week of July 4, followed by the week of July 11. (Nominations were announced July 12.)
“Abbott Elementary”: 0.48 to 1.65 “Barry”: 0.71 to 0.88 “Curb Your Enthusiasm”: 0.86 to 1.44 “Hacks”: 0.97 to 1.18 “Only Murders in the Building”: 3.55 to 3.37 “Ted Lasso”: 0.77 to 1.15 “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”: 0.25 to 0.33 “What We Do in the Shadows”: 1.89 to 4.19
“Better Call Saul”: 0.7 to 1.76 “Euphoria”: 0.17 to 0.29 “Ozark”: 0.41 to 0.51 “Severance”: 0.25 to 0.43 “Squid Game”: 0.72 to 1.21 “Stranger Things”: 2.39 to 2.22 “Succession”: 0.63 to 1.31 “Yellowjackets”: 0.69 to 1.15
LIMITED OR ANTHOLOGY SERIES
“Dopesick”: 0.44 to 1.35 “Inventing Anna”: 0.17 to 0.62 “Pam & Tommy”: 0.24 to 0.98 “The Dropout”: 0.18 to 0.54 “The White Lotus”: 0.69 to 2.25
AWARDS CIRCUIT COLUMN: Why the TV Academy Sidestepped Debate Over Corporate Bragging Rights With This Year’s Emmys
It was the Television Academy’s version of “if you kids don’t behave, we’re turning this car around.” And this year, that’s exactly what the org did. When this year’s Emmy nominations were announced last week, the TV Academy decided not to tally up the contenders by network.
Sort of. The group still sent out a document listing all nominees by network as submitted but left the hard work of counting those noms, and deciding how to present that data, to others. This caused a lot of scrambling on nomination morning — and resulted in some early bad math — before it finally became clear that HBO, with or without HBO Max, had won this year’s derby over Netflix.
The decision to eliminate those network tallies has everything to do with the inter-network squabble over how they identify themselves. It’s all about ego and bragging rights, and after things got testy last year, the TV Academy decided to extract itself from the debate — and yes, turn the car around and head home.
The argument centers on whether HBO and HBO Max should combine their noms. Last year, it was only when the two combined that HBO beat out Netflix. This year, those concerns were moot, as HBO by itself was the leader, with 108 nominations versus 105 for Netflix. But combine HBO’s number with HBO Max’s 32, and suddenly that 140 total looks a lot more dominant.
So what’s the right way to go? If you, like me, think HBO and HBO Max will eventually be the same thing (as linear fades away), it probably, ultimately, won’t matter, and the outlet will simple be called “HBO,” “HBO Max” or even just “Max.”
But for now, HBO /HBO Max chief content officer Casey Bloys notes that it’s already one company under his oversight, so ultimately it should be combined as one number.
“I can’t think of another platform that has the same management, the same business affairs, the same production, same programming head,” he told me after the nominations were announced. “Everything on HBO airs on HBO Max.”
On the other hand, as Netflix would counter, HBO Max has a team under Sarah Aubrey that reports to Bloys, and it’s still accessed via very different platforms. The HBO shows are “HBO Originals,” and the HBO Max shows are deemed “Max Originals.” Hulu, ABC, Disney+, FX and Freeform all report to Dana Walden at Disney, but their respective nominations are counted toward their individual outlets.
KCET Once Again Leads Local LA Emmys; KTLA, KVEA, KNBC Win Newscast Awards
Local public broadcaster KCET led all outlets at this year’s Los Angeles Area Emmy Awards, with six total, out of 15 nominations. At the ceremony, held Saturday night at the Television Academy’s headquarters in North Hollywood, ABC-owned KABC and NBC-owned KNBC tied for second place, with five.
This is the sixth year in a row that KCET won the most, having landed nine last year.
In the key newscast categories, KTLA won the regularly scheduled daily evening newscast (7 p.n. to 12 a.m.), while KNBC’s “Today In LA” was tops for morning newscast and KVEA’s “Noticiero Telemundo 52 A Las 6PM” was tops for daytime newscast (11 a.m. to 7 p.m.).
Local cable news upstart Spectrum News 1 had landed the most nominations, with 23 nods. Eligibility for this year’s L.A. Area Emmy Awards was between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2021. The Los Angeles Area Emmy Awards honor locally produced programs in the categories of crime and social issues, culture and history, the arts, human interest, sports, the environment, and live and breaking news coverage.
Spectrum News 1’s Giselle Fernández hosted this year’s awards ceremony, which was produced by Bob Bain and Bob Bain Productions.
Television Academy chairman and CEO Frank Scherma presented the 2022 Los Angeles Area Emmy Governors Award to KTLA’s Gayle Anderson. The award is presented annually to “an individual, company or organization that has made a substantial contribution to television broadcasting in the greater Los Angeles area.”
Emmys 2022 Voters’ Guide: Analyzing Early Frontrunners and the Power of Timing
Emily Longeretta writes:
With the race tighter than ever, scheduling strategy comes into play for Emmys frontrunners. Here, Variety analyzes the competitive stakes in the key races.
With one more nominee than last year, this category is again a mixed bag. Early predictions were that it would be a battle between Netflix’s “Squid Game” and HBO’s “Succession.” At the SAG Awards, “Succession” took home the ensemble, but the Netflix series pulled out the acting wins. But they’re far from the only names in the game. Apple TV+’s “Severance” and Showtime’s “Yellowjackets” are two freshman shows in contention; the previous first-season show to win was “The Handmaid’s Tale” — proving that when a new show does take home the trophy, it has the ability to sweep . Plus, “Severance” earned writing, directing and casting noms, which bodes well. Of course, Netflix’s “Ozark” and AMC’s “Better Call Saul” are closing out their runs while the last-minute drop of “Stranger Things” may be in its favor, and HBO’s “Euphoria” has been a fan favorite all along
One of my favorite stats to pull out is the fact that “Friends” didn’t win best comedy series until 2002 for Season 8; that year, the sitcom wasn’t nominated in the directing or writing categories, so don’t let the number of noms fool you. This year, ABC’s “Abbott Elementary” missed the directing nom, but creator and star Quinta Brunson still made history as the first Black woman to receive comedy nominations in the acting, writing and series categories. The sitcom is also one of few keeping broadcast television in the Emmy awards conversation. Elsewhere, HBO’s “Barry” brings the darker element to the category while Hulu’s “Only Murders in the Building” and “Hacks” tied with a whopping 17 nominations each. And don’t forget about last season’s winner, Apple TV+’s “Ted Lasso,” which led the race with 20 nominations. HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm” isn’t in the zeitgeist as much, but still landed a nom for nine of its 10 years, while FX’s “What We Do in the Shadows” proved it’s not a sleeper either with seven noms. Amazon Prime Video’s “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” took home the trophy for its first season and this could be the comeback tour.
With three of the five nominations this year, Hulu is leading the limited space — and could surely pull out the win. With “Dopesick” and “The Dropout” likely to take home acting prizes as well, both series are popular with the Academy. “Pam & Tommy” was a bit of a wild card but with 10 noms, it’s clear that the pop culture-heavy show was a hit with voters. Outside of Hulu, Netflix’s “Inventing Anna” made a splash as one of the first series Shonda Rhimes created within her Netflix deal, as did HBO’s “The White Lotus,” which remains in the limited category, despite being in production on Season 2. (While it will take place at a new resort, supporting nominee Jennifer Coolidge is returning.) Plus, the show racked up 20 noms so don’t count it out from any category.
Variety Talk Series
It’s hard to imagine a world in which “Last Week Tonight With John Oliver” doesn’t take the win in this category, mostly because it has for the past six years. This year, the show earned five noms overall and HBO/HBO Max remains the most nominated of all, so it seems likely. That said, with “Conan” out of the mix, “Late Night With Seth Meyers” broke in — the perfect time with this timely takes on the COVID-19 pandemic and the up and down political landscape. On the ballot again this year is “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” Despite consistently earning recognition on noms day, the show’s never taken home a Primetime Emmy. But he is more in the conversation than ever, thanks to the popularity of “Live in Front of a Studio Audience,” which earned two noms this year.
In the unscripted series, it’s hard to make a change. Since VH1’s “RuPaul’s Drag Race” broke into the category in 2018, and has won for four consecutive years. This time, the flagship earned eight noms and its three spinoffs snagged one nom each. Past winners are also in the category: CBS’ “The Amazing Race,” a 10-time winner, has two noms, while NBC’s “The Voice” (three overall noms) has been nominated every year since 2012 and has won four times. Netflix’s “Nailed It!” (two noms) and Bravo’s “Top Chef ” (five noms for the flagship and one for its spinoff) are back. The one to watch is newcomer “Lizzo ’s Watch Out for the Big Grrrls” from Prime Video with six noms. Just as “Drag Race” did, this one could make quite the splash, especially if the Academy is looking to evolve.
ON THE CIRCUIT: ‘Ted Lasso’ Celebration, Comic-Con Activations and More
Apple TV+ held a Los Angeles screening and tailgate event celebrating the massive Emmy haul for “Ted Lasso,” and featuring stars Hannah Waddingham, Brett Goldstein, Juno Temple, Jeremy Swift, Phil Dunster, Sarah Niles, Toheeb Jimoh, Cristo Fernández, Kola Bokinni, James Lance and Sam Richardson. It was a massive panel, but my colleague Jenelle Riley deftly handled the moderating duties at the The Rooftop Conservatory at the Maybourne Hotel.
Meanwhile, I hit Comic-Con this weekend, like I mentioned above, to moderate multiple panels and take in the sights. Above, “Severance” star Tramell Tillman, as Milchick, welcomes us to Lumon in a video debrief. Apple TV+’s “Severance” activation was a highlight of the weekend, as attendees got to experience visiting the actual “severed” floor of Lumon, in a detailed re-creation of the show’s sets.
Actors playing versions of Lumon employees, without breaking character, were a part of the experience as well. And yes, that’s me sitting at my new desk in data refinement.
I introduced the Comic-Con screening for the new Peacock series “The Resort,” followed by a chat with Andy Siara (Showrunner/Writer/EP) and stars William Jackson Harper, Cristin Milioti, Luis Gerardo Mendez, Nina Bloomgarden and Gabriela Cartol.
Catching up with “Community” creator and “Rick and Morty” co-creator Dan Harmon, who was there to take part in a panel for Fox’s new animated series “Krapopolis.” Also on the panel, which I moderated: Executive producer and showrunner Jordan Young, supervising director Pete Michels and stars Matt Berry (“What We Do in The Shadows”), Pam Murphy (“Mapleworth Murders”) and Duncan Trussell (“The Midnight Gospel”).
“Abbott Elementary” activation featured the fan experience “New Teacher Dis-Orientation.” Included were set recreations, the opportunity to take a photo behind Principal Ava’s official desk, and visit to Janine’s classroom. The activation also featured original art submitted by fans via the official “Abbott Elementary” Fan Art Contest, and performances by a professional step dance crew, double Dutch jump-rope team and more.
Disney Branded TV’s upcoming Disney+ series “American Born Chinese” held a mixer at Comic-Con featuring executive producers Kelvin Yu, Melvin Mar, Erin O’Malley, Gene Luen Yang (author of the graphic novel) and star Daniel Wu in addition to an exclusive first-look at the series, and plenty of entertainment — like the dragon above!
Also seen on the floor: “Stranger Things,” “Squid Games,” and other well-represented series!
Simu Liu at the Backstage Creations Celebrity Suite at the 2022 ESPYs featuring SpiritHoods, HempHera, Dr Tyler Hales Celebrity Dentistry, Muse, NeuroVascular Life, Tom James, resort stays with Four Seasons Nevis and Villa La Valencia Los Cabos, Avensole Winery, Champion, Empiria, Lumify, Mace, Moonshot, Simply Spiked Lemonade, Thera Cane.
Creative Arts and Primetime Emmys Categories By Show: The Complete List
Trying to figure out which Creative Arts Emmy ceremony to attend, or how long the Primetime Emmys will be? First things first: This year’s Primetime Emmys boasts 25 categories… so yeah, it’s gonna be a long show. But here’s how everything will break down this year, all listed in alphabetical order:
2022 Creative Arts Emmy Award Categories Saturday, September 3, 2022
1. OUTSTANDING ANIMATED PROGRAM 2. OUTSTANDING CASTING FOR A REALITY PROGRAM 3. OUTSTANDING CHARACTER VOICE-OVER PERFORMANCE 4. OUTSTANDING CHOREOGRAPHY FOR VARIETY OR REALITY PROGRAMMING 5. OUTSTANDING CINEMATOGRAPHY FOR A NONFICTION PROGRAM 6. OUTSTANDING CINEMATOGRAPHY FOR A REALITY PROGRAM 7. OUTSTANDING COMMERCIAL 8. OUTSTANDING COSTUMES FOR VARIETY, NONFICTION OR REALITY PROGRAMMING 9. OUTSTANDING DIRECTING FOR A DOCUMENTARY/NONFICTION PROGRAM 10. OUTSTANDING DIRECTING FOR A REALITY PROGRAM 11. OUTSTANDING DIRECTING FOR A VARIETY SERIES 12. OUTSTANDING DIRECTING FOR A VARIETY SPECIAL 13. OUTSTANDING DOCUMENTARY OR NONFICTION SERIES 14. OUTSTANDING DOCUMENTARY OR NONFICTION SPECIAL 15. OUTSTANDING EXCEPTIONAL MERIT IN DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKING 16. OUTSTANDING HAIRSTYLING FOR A VARIETY, NONFICTION OR REALITY PROGRAM 17. OUTSTANDING HOST FOR A REALITY OR COMPETITION PROGRAM 18. OUTSTANDING HOSTED NONFICTION SERIES OR SPECIAL 19. OUTSTANDING INDIVIDUAL ACHIEVEMENT IN ANIMATION 20. OUTSTANDING LIGHTING DESIGN/LIGHTING DIRECTION FOR A VARIETY SERIES 21. OUTSTANDING LIGHTING DESIGN/LIGHTING DIRECTION FOR A VARIETY SPECIAL 22. OUTSTANDING MAKEUP FOR A VARIETY, NONFICTION OR REALITY PROGRAM 23. OUTSTANDING MUSIC COMPOSITION FOR A DOCUMENTARY SERIES OR SPECIAL (ORIGINAL DRAMATIC UNDERSCORE) 24. OUTSTANDING MUSIC DIRECTION 25. OUTSTANDING NARRATOR 26. OUTSTANDING PICTURE EDITING FOR A NONFICTION PROGRAM 27. OUTSTANDING PICTURE EDITING FOR A STRUCTURED REALITY OR COMPETITION PROGRAM 28. OUTSTANDING PICTURE EDITING FOR AN UNSTRUCTURED REALITY PROGRAM 29. OUTSTANDING PICTURE EDITING FOR VARIETY PROGRAMMING 30. OUTSTANDING PRODUCTION DESIGN FOR A VARIETY SPECIAL 31. OUTSTANDING PRODUCTION DESIGN FOR A VARIETY, REALITY OR COMPETITION SERIES 32. OUTSTANDING SHORT FORM ANIMATED PROGRAM 33. OUTSTANDING SHORT FORM COMEDY, DRAMA OR VARIETY SERIES 34. OUTSTANDING SHORT FORM NONFICTION OR REALITY SERIES 35. OUTSTANDING SOUND EDITING FOR A NONFICTION OR REALITY PROGRAM (SINGLE OR MULTI-CAMERA) 36. OUTSTANDING SOUND MIXING FOR A NONFICTION OR REALITY PROGRAM (SINGLE OR MULTI-CAMERA) 37. OUTSTANDING SOUND MIXING FOR A VARIETY SERIES OR SPECIAL 38. OUTSTANDING STRUCTURED REALITY PROGRAM 39. OUTSTANDING TECHNICAL DIRECTION, CAMERAWORK, VIDEO CONTROL FOR A SERIES 40. OUTSTANDING TECHNICAL DIRECTION, CAMERAWORK, VIDEO CONTROL FOR A SPECIAL 41. OUTSTANDING UNSTRUCTURED REALITY PROGRAM 42. OUTSTANDING VARIETY SPECIAL (LIVE) 43. OUTSTANDING VARIETY SPECIAL (PRE-RECORDED) 44. OUTSTANDING WRITING FOR A NONFICTION PROGRAM 45. OUTSTANDING WRITING FOR A VARIETY SERIES
2022 Creative Arts Emmy Awards Categories Sunday, September 4, 2022
1. OUTSTANDING ACTOR IN A SHORT FORM COMEDY OR DRAMA SERIES 2. OUTSTANDING ACTRESS IN A SHORT FORM COMEDY OR DRAMA SERIES 3. OUTSTANDING CASTING FOR A COMEDY SERIES 4. OUTSTANDING CASTING FOR A DRAMA SERIES 5. OUTSTANDING CASTING FOR A LIMITED OR ANTHOLOGY SERIES OR MOVIE 6. OUTSTANDING CHOREOGRAPHY FOR SCRIPTED PROGRAMMING 7. OUTSTANDING CINEMATOGRAPHY FOR A LIMITED OR ANTHOLOGY SERIES OR MOVIE 8. OUTSTANDING CINEMATOGRAPHY FOR A MULTI-CAMERA SERIES 9. OUTSTANDING CINEMATOGRAPHY FOR A SINGLE-CAMERA SERIES (HALF-HOUR) 10. OUTSTANDING CINEMATOGRAPHY FOR A SINGLE-CAMERA SERIES (ONE HOUR) 11. OUTSTANDING CONTEMPORARY COSTUMES 12. OUTSTANDING CONTEMPORARY HAIRSTYLING 13. OUTSTANDING CONTEMPORARY MAKEUP (NON-PROSTHETIC) 14. OUTSTANDING FANTASY/SCI-FI COSTUMES 15. OUTSTANDING GUEST ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES 16. OUTSTANDING GUEST ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES 17. OUTSTANDING GUEST ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES 18. OUTSTANDING GUEST ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES 19. OUTSTANDING MAIN TITLE DESIGN 20. OUTSTANDING MOTION DESIGN 21. OUTSTANDING MULTI-CAMERA PICTURE EDITING FOR A COMEDY SERIES 22. OUTSTANDING MUSIC COMPOSITION FOR A LIMITED OR ANTHOLOGY SERIES, MOVIE OR SPECIAL (ORIGINAL DRAMATIC SCORE) 23. OUTSTANDING MUSIC COMPOSITION FOR A SERIES (ORIGINAL DRAMATIC SCORE) 24. OUTSTANDING MUSIC SUPERVISION 25. OUTSTANDING ORIGINAL MAIN TITLE THEME MUSIC 26. OUTSTANDING ORIGINAL MUSIC AND LYRICS 27. OUTSTANDING PERIOD AND/OR CHARACTER HAIRSTYLING 28. OUTSTANDING PERIOD AND/OR CHARACTER MAKEUP (NON-PROSTHETIC) 29. OUTSTANDING PERIOD COSTUMES 30. OUTSTANDING PRODUCTION DESIGN FOR A NARRATIVE CONTEMPORARY PROGRAM (ONE HOUR OR MORE) 31. OUTSTANDING PRODUCTION DESIGN FOR A NARRATIVE PERIOD OR FANTASY PROGRAM (ONE HOUR OR MORE) 32. OUTSTANDING PRODUCTION DESIGN FOR A NARRATIVE PROGRAM (HALF-HOUR) 33. OUTSTANDING PROSTHETIC MAKEUP 34. OUTSTANDING SINGLE-CAMERA PICTURE EDITING FOR A COMEDY SERIES 35. OUTSTANDING SINGLE-CAMERA PICTURE EDITING FOR A DRAMA SERIES 36. OUTSTANDING SINGLE-CAMERA PICTURE EDITING FOR A LIMITED OR ANTHOLOGY SERIES OR MOVIE 37. OUTSTANDING SOUND EDITING FOR A COMEDY OR DRAMA SERIES (HALF-HOUR) AND ANIMATION 38. OUTSTANDING SOUND EDITING FOR A COMEDY OR DRAMA SERIES (ONE HOUR) 39. OUTSTANDING SOUND EDITING FOR A LIMITED OR ANTHOLOGY SERIES OR MOVIE 40. OUTSTANDING SOUND MIXING FOR A COMEDY OR DRAMA SERIES (HALF-HOUR) AND ANIMATION 41. OUTSTANDING SOUND MIXING FOR A COMEDY OR DRAMA SERIES (ONE HOUR) 42. OUTSTANDING SOUND MIXING FOR A LIMITED OR ANTHOLOGY SERIES OR MOVIE 43. OUTSTANDING SPECIAL VISUAL EFFECTS IN A SEASON OR A MOVIE 44. OUTSTANDING SPECIAL VISUAL EFFECTS IN A SINGLE EPISODE 45. OUTSTANDING STUNT COORDINATION FOR A COMEDY SERIES OR VARIETY PROGRAM 46. OUTSTANDING STUNT COORDINATION FOR A DRAMA SERIES, LIMITED OR ANTHOLOGY SERIES OR MOVIE 47. OUTSTANDING STUNT PERFORMANCE 48. OUTSTANDING TELEVISION MOVIE
74th Emmy Awards Telecast Categories Monday, September 12, 2022
1. OUTSTANDING COMEDY SERIES 2. OUTSTANDING COMPETITION PROGRAM 3. OUTSTANDING DIRECTING FOR A COMEDY SERIES 4. OUTSTANDING DIRECTING FOR A DRAMA SERIES 5. OUTSTANDING DIRECTING FOR A LIMITED OR ANTHOLOGY SERIES OR MOVIE 6. OUTSTANDING DRAMA SERIES 7. OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES 8. OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES 9. OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTOR IN A LIMITED OR ANTHOLOGY SERIES OR MOVIE 10. OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES 11. OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES 12. OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTRESS IN A LIMITED OR ANTHOLOGY SERIES OR MOVIE 13. OUTSTANDING LIMITED OR ANTHOLOGY SERIES OR MOVIE 14. OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES 15. OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES 16. OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A LIMITED OR ANTHOLOGY SERIES OR MOVIE 17. OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES 18. OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES 19. OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A LIMITED OR ANTHOLOGY SERIES OR MOVIE 20. OUTSTANDING VARIETY SKETCH SERIES 21. OUTSTANDING VARIETY TALK SERIES 22. OUTSTANDING WRITING FOR A COMEDY SERIES 23. OUTSTANDING WRITING FOR A DRAMA SERIES 24. OUTSTANDING WRITING FOR A LIMITED OR ANTHOLOGY SERIES OR MOVIE 25. OUTSTANDING WRITING FOR A VARIETY SPECIAL
TV’s $1 Million Salary Club: Kevin Costner, Sylvester Stallone, Mahershala Ali and More See Huge Paydays
TV’s great talent economic divide is only growing wider. Paydays for actors of $1 million an episode or more — once a rare occurrence, with the exception of long-running comedy megahits like “Friends” and “The Big Bang Theory” — are now commonplace for A-list talent, especially movie stars diving into the marathon of episodic television production.
But for everyone else? According to multiple TV talent agents who spoke with Variety, the second tier of players aren’t commanding the same exorbitant fees that they might have fetched a few years ago, at the height of the streaming boom.
“It’s taken a little bit of a hit,” says one insider. “There’s a much deeper and steeper sliding scale between No. 1 or 2 on the call sheet and 3, 4 and 5. I think that had to do a lot with the oversaturation of salaries on shows. I think a lot of places are realizing that you can pay the one big star, but you can’t pay seven of them.”
That $1 million-per-episode figure remains the magic number for top TV talent. With the days of seemingly unlimited spending on streaming shows going the way of the dodo as companies like Netflix and Warner Bros. Discovery look to trim their expenses, many are trying to cap salaries at that mark.
With fears of an economic downturn, and a bit of a question about the health of the streaming world, there’s an overall sense that budgets are about to be scrutinized even more.
According to talent reps, the top range of TV salaries has leveled off at $750,000 to $1 million per episode for the key player, with the next tier ranging between $600,000 and $800,000.
Granted, star paychecks can go above that with bonuses and producing fees added in. Sources also note that streamers might be willing to pay more for an exceptionally well-known A-lister making a first foray into television, but those are indeed a select few nowadays. (All bets are off, of course, if someone like Tom Cruise or Denzel Washington wants to do a series.)
“Platforms appear to be trying to keep episodic fees under $1 million, with that number being reserved for only the biggest names,” one rep says.
Recent examples include Will Ferrell and Paul Rudd for “The Shrink Next Door” at Apple TV+ and Michael Keaton on Hulu’s “Dopesick.” Then there’s the Taylor Sheridan universe, where icons like Kevin Costner (“Yellowstone”), Harrison Ford (“1923”), Helen Mirren (“1923”) and Sylvester Stallone (“Tulsa King”) are all believed to be receiving handsome paychecks.
In the case of “1923” and “Tulsa King,” of course, it’s part of Paramount Global’s investment in turning Paramount+ into a must-have streaming brand. The other recent streamer upstart, Peacock, is shelling out decent-sized salaries (although perhaps not quite like those) for stars like Pete Davidson and Natasha Lyonne.
Read the full story, and a sample of some of this year’s major TV salaries, here.
AWARDS CIRCUIT PODCAST: Will ‘Ted Lasso’ End With Season 3? Hannah Waddingham, Brett Goldstein and Juno Temple Try to Answer
Will “Ted Lasso” end after its upcoming Season 3? Yes and no. The show’s stars continue to dance around the subject as there’s the door hasn’t yet shut — until, at least, series star and co-creator Jason Sudeikis definitively says so.
For now, Brett Goldstein — who stars as former footballer Roy Kent, and also serves as a writer on the show — carefully threads that needle: “It’s written as in the story we have been telling will reach a conclusion,” he told Variety’s Awards Circuit Podcast. “And that’s how it was always planned. That doesn’t necessarily mean it can’t continue. But it’s a kind of three act conclusion to this story.”
Goldstein and fellow “Ted Lasso” stars and Emmy nominees Hannah Waddingham and Juno Temple dropped by the podcast for a lively chat about the show’s future, their dream projects, their tight bond, and what’s next. 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.