Awards HQ June 20: ‘The White Lotus’ Eligibility; ‘Bridgerton’ Podcast; Indie Stage 13 Aims for Emmy; Daytime Emmy Creative Arts Wins; and More!
Greetings from Variety Awards Headquarters! Today is June 20, 2022, which means it’s now 7 days until Emmy nomination round voting ends on June 27. From there, it’s 22 daysuntil Emmy nominations are announced on July 12; then 53 days until final round voting begins on August 12, followed by 69 days until final round voting ends on August 22. Then comes the finales: It’s 75 days until the Creative Arts Emmys kicks off its two-night event on September 3; and then it’s 84 days until the 74th Emmy Awards takes place, live on NBC, September 12.
Let’s begin today by recognizing Juneteenth, now a national holiday and an opportunity to reflect on the history of the Black community in America and not just sweep it under the rug, like so many are trying to do by deriding history as “critical race theory,” and trying to stop schools and educators from exploring the truth of systemic racism in this nation and its impact on the population. But also the history of resistance and resilience that is even more important to teach. It’s now been two years since the murder of George Floyd and others helped reignite the Black Lives Matter movement and, at least for a brief time, got us talking again about police brutality and some of the oppressive structures that still permeate in this country.
And now, two years later, we face dire straits in this country. Forces on the right are striking down voter rights in an attempt to silence the voices and rights of People of Color. Those same right wingers also are attacking women’s rights, and as it becomes likely that Roe v. Wade will be struck down this week, are waging a war on women. These same people are also going after the rights of LGBTQ+ individuals. Are trying to censor what we can read. They refuse to do anything about the guns that are killing our children, and in fact want more guns out there that will, in turn, kill more Americans. We live in dark times, and I fear in the last months of democracy. If there are no consequences to the insurrectionists who tried to stage a coup after the 2020 election, it will indeed happen next time. And at that point, the United States as we know it is over.
Like I’ve said before, it’s hard to think about other things, including the Emmys. But nonetheless, we can’t let them win and completely destroy our spirits. We’ve all got jobs to do, and TV continues to have the power to educate and uplift, in addition to entertain. We need it more than ever. And now, let’s get going.
Indie Studio Stage 13 Aims for Emmy Contention With ‘March’ and ‘Two Sentence Horror Stories’
I’ve been highlighting Emmy indie contenders in recent weeks, and that brings us to Stage 13. While technically a part of the Warner Bros. TV Group, Stage 13 operates as an indie studio focusing on young, diverse creators and stories for digital platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Netflix, HBO Max and CW Seed (which is now a part of The CW). Stage 13 programs also run on the studio’s own platform.
“It’s part of our DNA to shed light on underrepresented cultures with intersectional storytelling, with diverse talent behind and in front of the camera. We want to share multicultural perspectives, spark a conversation, give a thrill, and take you on a wild, fun ride,” says Stage 13 senior VP/GM Diana Mogollon.
This year’s Studio 13 priorities for the Emmys are “Two Sentence Horror Stories” and “March,” both of which also aired on The CW — coincidentally, making the two series the best shot at Emmy for the network, which is notoriously snubbed by Television Academy voters.
“Two Sentence Horror Stories,” which has 103M+ views to date (according to Stage 13), is an anthology series that features stories from underrepresented cultures and wide range of topics.
The series premiered in January on The CW and joined Netflix at the end of February. “Two Sentence Horror Stories,” comes from creator and exec producer Vera Miao, as well as showrunner and executive producer Lisa Morales, executive producer Liz Levine, executive producer Shawn Angelski and executive producer Liz Hsiao Lan Alper. Not only was the writers room 100% women, but it was also 80% BIPOC. The show also utilized a 100% roster of diverse directors (representing women, BIPOC, LGBTQ+, etc.)
“In the true sense of a great psychological thriller, it will sneak up on you with surprising story and also give you something to think about – it’s not afraid to tackle provocative social and cultural issues of our time,” Mogollon says. “With creator and executive producer Vera Miao as a guiding force, the series succeeds at subverting expectations by centering BIPOC and LGBTQI+ characters so that their stories become all of our stories.”
“March,” which premiered on The CW in January, centers on the marching band at the HBCU Prairie View A&M University in Texas. The PV Marching Storm started the fall season as No. 8 in the rankings, but as the production team followed the group, it rose in the rankings to No. 1. Filmmakers covered all aspects of the band members’ lives, including: a young hopeful becomes the band’s first Latino drum major, a trans student wants to make friends and have peer respect, members mourn the loss of dear friend, a flag twirler talks about her family’s tough time in a shelter and more.
“The inspirational and dynamic stories of the Historically Black College and University experience in our series ‘March’ are important, especially for the moment our country is in right now,” Magollan says. “Seeing the incredible dedication and energy of the talented students of PVAMU’s Marching Storm both lifts and breaks the heart, as only powerful stories can.”
Here are this year’s major Emmy drives for Stage 13:
“Two Sentence Horror Stories” – Outstanding Limited or Anthology Series “March” – Outstanding Unstructured Reality Program
Vera Miao (“Two Sentence Horror Stories”) – Director for a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie Stephanie Adams-Santos (“Two Sentence Horror Stories”) – Writer for a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie Liz Hsiao Lan Alper “Two Sentence Horror Stories”) – Writer for a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie Chase Joynt (“Two Sentence Horror Stories”) – Director for A Limited or Anthology Series or Movie Kailey Spear and Sam Spear (“Two Sentence Horror Stories”) – Director for a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie Brittany Allen (“Two Sentence Horror Stories”) – Music Composition for a Limited Series or Anthology Series, Movie, or Special (Original Dramatic Score) Guy Pooles (“Two Sentence Horror Stories”) – Cinematography for a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie Naim Sutherland (“Two Sentence Horror Stories”) – Cinematography for a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie “Two Sentence Horror Stories” — Casting for a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie “March” — Casting For a Reality Program
AWARDS CIRCUIT COLUMN: How ‘The White Lotus’ Is Testing the Emmys’ Limited Series Eligibility Rules
My recent column about the plight of awards consultants in this age of Too Much TV clearly struck a nerve. Among everything I’ve written about the Emmys this year, it’s received the most reaction — mostly from publicists nodding their heads in frustration with the jam of events and campaigns.
Since I’m apparently in a solicitous mood, this time I’ll turn my attention to the awards rule makers at the Television Academy — the folks who receive the lion’s share of ire this time of year, including in columns such as this. And I’m sure some of my more outlandish ideas, such as nominating every eligible program in the variety talk field, or creating a special category for broadcast series, has elicited plenty of eye rolls over in North Hollywood.
But I feel their pain. It’s impossible to keep up with the evolution of television these days, which must make it especially hard to stay on top of how to award the medium’s finest. Remember when comedies were comedies, dramas were dramas and limited series were actually “miniseries”?
And then there are those aforementioned crafty awards consultants, finding ways to mess with the rules— submitting episodes of anthology series as movies; splitting seasons into two to spread out between multiple eligibility periods; playing fast and loose with the definition of “lead” vs. “supporting.”
But most perplexing: Figuring out what would be considered a “limited” or “anthology” series.
EXCLUSIVE: Watch This Synchronized Swimmers Team Make a Splash at the ‘Only Murders in the Building’ FYC Event
Members of the LA-based professional synchronized swimming group The Aqualillies perform an original piece to the main title music from Hulu’s comedy “Only Murders In The Building” (inspired by the show’s “Splash: The Musical”) at an Emmy FYC event at the Roosevelt Hotel. Video by Dabling Harward for David Jon Studios, event production by Shannon Warner Events.
This Week’s Poll: Will Netflix or HBO/HBO Max Land More Nominations?
In 2021, HBO scored 94 nominations while HBO Max landed another 36, making for a total of 130 — squeaking past Netflix, which secured 129 nominations. A year before, in 2020, Netflix came out on top swinging with a record 160 nominations, followed by HBO (pre-HBO Max) in second at 107 nods. What will happen this year? Click on the box below.
The 2022 Daytime Creative Arts & Lifestyle Emmy Awards took place on Saturday, June 18, at the Pasadena Convention Center, with big winners including syndicated talkers “The Kelly Clarkson Show” and “The Drew Barrymore Show,” as well as CBS’ “The Young and the Restless” and Netflix’s “Penguin Town.”
“Kelly Clarkson” picked up five awards, while “Penguin Town” was next, with three. Beyond syndication (with 10), Netflix was the big single network winner, picking up nine total, spread out among “Penguin Town,” “Cat People,” “Headspace: Guide to Meditation” and “You vs. Wild: Out Cold.” CBS and PBS tied next, with three each.
Also of note, “The Ellen DeGeneres Show’s” final season landed a Daytime Emmy for outstanding writing team for a daytime non-fiction program. And in its first season, Judge Judy Sheindlin‘s new series “Judy Justice,” for IMDbTV (now Amazon Freevee) won for legal/courtroom program. (It also repped the first-ever Daytime Emmy for IMDbTV/Freevee.)
The event is the prelude for next week’s 49th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards telecast, airing live on CBS on Friday, June 24. That ceremony, which takes place at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium kicks off at 9 p.m. ET (tape-delayed on the West Coast); it will be available on Paramount+ for subscribers whose premium accounts include local CBS channels. Otherwise, all Paramount+ users will be able to watch the show on demand starting the next day.
This reps the first year under the agreement between the two major TV academies in which several categories have been realigned to focus on genre, rather than dayparts, as a way to divide eligibility between the Primetime (administered by the L.A.-based TV Academy) and Daytime Emmys (handled by the NY-based NATAS). It’s also the first year that children’s and family programming categories have been removed from both shows and relocated to a new Children’s & Family Emmy Award competition and ceremony, the first new Emmy show since 1979. (That event will take place in December.)
“This Old House” received a Lifetime Achievement Award during Saturday night’s event. The show, which earned two more nominations this year, has now hit the 100-nomination threshold. “This Old House,” which first premiered in 1979, is in its 43rd season.
Overall this year, CBS’ “The Young and the Restless” received the most Daytime Emmy nominations, with 18, followed closely by ABC’s “General Hospital,” with 17. Among outlets, syndicated fare earned the top tally, with 48 nods for various program distributors, followed by two broadcasters tied on top: ABC and CBS, both with 31. (Netflix was next, with 27.) New networks receiving their first Daytime Emmy nominations include MasterClass, Discovery+ and IMDb TV (now renamed Amazon Freevee). Check out the full list of nominations here.
And go here for a list of winners from Saturday night’s Daytime Creative Arts & Lifestyle Emmy Awards.
ON THE CIRCUIT: HBO Max’s “The Sex Lives of College Girls” and More
Our own Emily Longeretta moderated a panel on Saturday at the Warner Bros. Studio Tour for HBO Max’s “The Sex Lives of College Girls,” featuring stars Pauline Chalamet, Amrit Kaur, Aiyah Chanelle Scott and Reneé Rapp, alongside exec producers Mindy Kaling and Justin Noble.
Meanwhile, Variety Intelligence Platform’s Andrew Wallenstein stopped by Amazon Prime Video’s “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” popup over the weekend and took this pic of the Russ & Daughters stand.
FX’s “Atlanta” FYC was held at Titus Theater at the MoMA on Friday, June 10, featuring Donald Glover (Creator/Executive Producer/Writer/Director/Executive Music Producer/“Earn Marks”), Stephen Glover (Executive Producer/Writer) and Zazie Beetz (“Van”), who appeared virtually.
Jazz Tangcay writes:
Rocco’s West Hollywood, Thursday night: It was an FYC unlike any other. “RuPaul’s Drag Race” season 14 winner Willow Pill was joined by Kornbread, Bosco, Angeria, Daya Betty, Lady Camden, Jasmine Kennedie and Kerri Colby as they came out to perform individual lip-sync sets. “The Real World” alums Danny Roberts and Melissa Beck played emcee for the night, introducing each set. A packed Rocco’s crowd was a mix of Emmy voters, journalists and “Drag Race” casting directors Ethan Petersen and Goloka Bolte were also spotted. Check out the full gallery here.
Speaking of Jazz, she moderated two panels for Disney FYC Fest for the Society of Composers and Lyricists. The Music of Disney FYC Fest brought together composers and music supervisors from some of Disney’s top television programs of the past year, includling composers Nathan Barr, Kathryn Bostic, Siddhartha Khosla, David Klotz, Matthew Margeson, Mac Quayle and Leopold Ross, as well as music supervisors Maggie Phillips and Amanda Kreig Thomas.
Meanwhile, live from the Banff World Media Festival last week:
For a “showrunner superpanel” I spoke with Miranda Kwok, Creator/Writer/Executive Producer, “The Cleaning Lady”; Jonathan Lisco, Showrunner and executive producer, “Yellowjackets”; Ashley Lyle, Co-creator, showrunner and executive producer, “Yellowjackets”; Bart Nickerson, Co-creator, showrunner and executive producer, “Yellowjackets”; and Justin Spitzer, Creator and Showrunner, “American Auto,” “Superstore.”
For a case study on Peacock’s “Rutherford Falls,” I chatted with Sierra Teller Ornelas (Exec Producer, who appeared remotely, which is why you don’t see her above), Erin Underhill (Universal TV president) and Taietsarón:sere ‘Tai’ Leclaire (writer) about the show, as it returned last week for Season 2.
And for a keynote chat, I sat down with Universal Studio Group chair Pearlena Igbokwe for a wide-ranging discussion of the biz.
WATCH MY SHOW: ‘Maid’ Exec Producer Molly Smith Metzler Answers our Showrunner Survey
Inspired by Stephanie Land’s memoir “Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive,” Netflix’s “Maid” stars Margaret Qualley as Alex, a young woman who escapes in the middle of the night, with her young daughter in tow, after her emotionally abusive husband turns violent. To make ends meet, she tries to earn money as a housekeeper, but with a child who needs care, no home of her own and a bureaucractic system stacked against women facing such a predicament, Alex faces setback after setback in trying to find a better life for herself and her daughter.
“Maid” also stars Nick Robinson as Alex’s husband Sean, Billy Burke as her estranged father, Anika Noni Rose as a wealthy woman who Alex befriends while cleaning her home, and Andie MacDowell as Alex’s troubled mother. We asked exec producer Molly Smith Metzler to fill out our Showrunner Seven.
Sum up your show’s pitch in one sentence. After fleeing an abusive relationship, a single mom struggles to provide for her daughter while cleaning houses for minimum wage.
What’s an alternate title for your show? Our pet name for the show was “Cleaning & Feelings,” but we were so inspired by Stephanie Land’s memoir, we always knew the show would be called “Maid.”
What do we need to know before tuning in? The show is funnier and more hopeful than you think it will be. Also: Margaret Qualley is in virtually every frame.
Give us an equation for your show. (Blank plus blank minus blank times blank, etc.) “Maid” = “Mare of Easttown” – Mare – Easttown – murder – cool accents + cleaning.
What’s the best thing someone said about your show? The month “Maid” premiered (October 2021), the National Domestic Violence hotline saw its highest number of calls in a single month in its 25-year history.
If you could work on any other series on TV, what would it be? My nine-year-old and I agree that I should write for “Is It Cake?” on Netflix.
Finish this sentence: “If you like _______, you’ll love our show.” If you’ve ever been short on rent, or had a low-paying back-breaking job, or loved someone so much that you would do anything to protect them, you’ll love our show.
Emmy Voting Ballots Reveal Sharp Increase in Submissions in Drama and Supporting Categories
Clayton Davis crunches the numbers:
With the nominations round for the 74th annual Primetime Emmy Awards underway, the total number of submissions this year is up across most categories.
In the drama series categories, there are 171 contenders, while on the comedy side of the house, there are 118 titles on the ballot.
In limited or anthology series, a category that continues to have evolution with rules changing from year to year, there are 61 programs in the mix.
In 2021 and 2020, drama series had 133 and 197 submissions during those periods. Comedy had 68 and 111, while limited racked up 37 and 41 respectively.
In the TV movie race, this year has 48 films vying for consideration, compared to 41 and 28 in the past two years.
Lead actor (drama) finds a robust 134 names in the Emmy conversation; for lead actress (drama), 114 powerhouse performances are submitted.
Lead actor (comedy) has 84 leading men seeking Emmy attention. The leading women of comedy had more submissions with 91 submitted.
An interesting development was in the lead actress category (limited or anthology series or TV movie) which has 92 submissions, and will yield six nominees, helping out the lead actor side of the category, which saw only 64 submissions. Instituting the parity rule will allow six nominees for lead actor, even though it didn’t cross the 80 submission threshold.
An all-time record submission in supporting actor (drama) with a gargantuan 434 actors looking for only eight available slots, and supporting actress (drama) putting 385 actresses up for recognition.
Supporting actor (comedy) has a gargantuan 281 submissions, which will yield eight nominees in July. Supporting actress (comedy) has 266 names on the sprawling list.
Supporting actor (limited) has 234 submissions, allowing seven nominees, with supporting actress (limited) shepherding 183 viable candidates.
A dose of reality goes a long way with viewers, seen by 65 submissions for unstructured reality, up from 48 in 2021 and 44 in 2020.
Structured reality has 36 entries, differing from their 34 last year, and 47 the year prior.
Reality competition program sees 81 shows, up from 67 last year and up from 60 in the previous.
In other unscripted races, variety talk series has 19 submissions, compared to 20 and 24 during the last two years.
The variety sketch race continues to be a head-scratcher with so few vying for slots, shown by only eight entries. Last year found only nine submissions, compared to 14 the year before.
AWARDS CIRCUIT PODCAST: Nicola Coughlan, Simone Ashley and Charithra Chandran Tease ‘Bridgerton’ Season 3
“Bridgerton” fans were whipped into a frenzy at the news that the hit Netflix series would skip ahead of the book’s timeline to feature the love story between Penelope Featherington (Nicola Coughlan) and Colin Bridgerton (Luke Newton) in Season 3.
Coughlan announced the news during an FYSee panel celebrating the show on May 15, telling Variety’s Angelique Jackson the next day that it was slightly overwhelming to make the proclamation.
“I had a moment because I’ve been keeping this secret for so long, that right before — because I was given the job of announcing, which was so lovely, but that right before I went, ‘I’m too scared, to school, because if it becomes real…” Coughlan recalls shyly, as her costars Simone Ashley and Charithra Chandran cooed their support from opposite ends of the podcast studio. 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.
Daytime Emmys: What to Expect as the Telecast Returns Live, With Some Major Changes
The 49th annual Daytime Emmys are back in a full theater for the first time in three years, but that’s not the only major change that TV viewers will notice when the ceremony airs on Friday, June 24.
For starters, the drama category is finally a bit more competitive, having landed a fifth nominee (which hasn’t happened since 2014), the “Days of Our Lives” spinoff “Beyond Salem.” It faces off against usual entrants “General Hospital,” “The Young and the Restless,” “The Bold and the Beautiful” and “Days.” This is also the inaugural year for the Children’s & Family Emmys, which means those categories have been moved to later in the year.
As a result, the show will be “a bit more focused,” says National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences president and CEO Adam Sharp. “The telecast will be very squarely focused on the dramas, talk shows and game shows.”
This marks another milestone, too. By the mid-2010s, the telecast had been relegated to online streams, and it wasn’t clear if the event would ever make its way back to primetime. But CBS, which as of this year will have aired the Daytime Emmys 16 times, decided to give the telecast another shot and picked it up again in 2020.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 show was virtual and filmed in the homes of the host, presenters and winners. Last year, a pre-taped, downsized event was staged in Burbank. Now, with the audience back and the show once again live, “hopefully that that excitement conveys to the viewers,” Sharp says. “I think you’ll see us try to put a lot of that interaction on display.”
On the flip side, there’s the challenge of producing a live, in-person show and keeping it flowing on time. “One of [the challenges] being the sheer amount of time you spend with people walking from their seats to the stage,” Sharp says. “To the extent that there were benefits to the virtual format, it was the ability to keep it tight. So we will be looking at how to strike that balance.”
Also new: “Entertainment Tonight” anchors Kevin Frazier and Nischelle Turner will host, taking over for “The Talk” panelist Sheryl Underwood, who had previously hosted the show the most in recent years — either by herself, with her “Talk” co-stars or with Mario Lopez.
WATCH MY SHOW: ‘Women of the Movement’ Exec Producer Marissa Jo Cerar Answers our Showrunner Survey
“Women of the Movement,” the limited series based on the true story of Mamie Till-Mobley, stars Adrienne Warren stars as the mother of Emmett Till (Cedric Joe), who was brutally lynched in 1955 in the Jim Crow South. The series sees Mamie risk her life seeking justice for Emmett, keeping his name and murder in the news and igniting the Civil Rights movement. We asked exec producer Marissa Jo Cerar to fill out our Showrunner Seven.
Sum up your show’s pitch in one sentence. “Women of the Movement” tells the story of Mamie Till-Mobley, who devoted her life to seeking justice for her son Emmett Till following his brutal murder in the Jim Crow South.
What’s an alternate title for your show? I do have to be honest. I would have preferred another title: “Mother of the Movement” or “Mamie” or “Mamie & Emmett.”
What do we need to know before tuning in? While this story is based on a true crime, this is not a “true crime” series. It is a character-driven story about a mother summoning unimaginable strength in the face of her worst nightmare: the disappearance of her only child.
Give us an equation for your show. (Blank plus blank minus blank times blank, etc.) Family drama + crime drama – procedural + historical non-fiction + heart = “Women of the Movement.”
What’s the best thing someone said about your show? Following a private screening of all six episodes, Reverend Wheeler Parker Jr., Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley’s cousin, who was portrayed on our show as the last surviving witness, said, “You got it right.” That was it. That’s all that mattered. I sobbed. I sighed. I said to myself, “Whatever happens next doesn’t matter. The family supports us.”
If you could work on any other series on TV, what would it be? Sorry, I have three answers: “RuPaul’s Drag Race” (the greatest show ever made), “Hacks” (I am the only person who finds me funny. I am not a comedy writer, but this show makes me so happy, and I can only fantasize that writing on it would also make me happy) and “The Underground Railroad.” Barry Jenkins is my cinema hero. Always and forever.
Finish this sentence: “If you like _______, you’ll love our show.” If you like character-driven, female-forward, humanity-forward stories, you’ll love our show.
VARIETY EMMY EDITION: ‘Abbott Elementary’ Creator Quinta Brunson Isn’t Taking Credit for the ‘Return’ of Broadcast Comedies
Our Emily Longeretta has been overseeing our Emmy special editions this year, and we’re off to the races! Next up: Comedy. Variety’s Selome Hailu spoke to Quinta Brunson for the cover:
Since the debut of “Abbott Elementary” on ABC in December, creator, executive producer and star Quinta Brunson has been credited with spearheading “the return” of the network comedy. She’s grateful for the love, but she isn’t so sure about that particular compliment.
“Network, all this time, has still been putting big comedies on the air,” she says. “CBS especially was banging out shows with super high ratings, like ‘Young Sheldon.’ ‘The Big Bang Theory’ was on the air forever. And ABC: ‘The Conners,’ ‘The Goldbergs,’ ‘Black-ish.’ They’re holding their own.”
Still, it’s no question that “Abbott Elementary” represents an exciting new moment in the comedy landscape. The series, which follows a group of teachers at an under-funded Philadelphia public school, quickly became a top ratings earner for ABC.
By the second episode, “Abbott Elementary” had drawn in the network’s best numbers since “Modern Family” concluded its run in 2020, and it’s the No. 2 new comedy in the adults 18-49 demographic behind “Ghosts” on CBS.
But the numbers also prove something Brunson is more willing to take credit for. “‘Abbott’ is interesting because of the audience it seems to bring back to network [TV],” she says. “I can’t put my finger on it. Some people just say millennials, but it’s not. It’s a certain type of viewer that wasn’t watching network TV, and ‘Abbott’ has given them a show to watch.”
Clayton Davis’ Emmy Predictions: Unstructured Reality Program – Let’s Get Real About Finally Rewarding ‘The Real World: Homecoming’
We’ll dive into a different category each week to examine Clayton Davis‘ Emmy predictions. This week, he writes about unstructured reality:
The one that started it all, the nostalgia was in overdrive revisiting the casts of Los Angeles and New Orleans in the past year, with the latter being the best outing yet of the Paramount+ revival series “The Real World Homecoming.” Yet, despite being the kickoff for reality TV, “The Real World” has never received an Emmy nomination. Time to change that? I’d imagine so, especially with the dynamic returning cast of Danny, Melissa, Tokyo, Kelley and more. As Daniel D’Addario , chief tv critic for Variety stated in his column, “As chewily, imperfectly complicated as these threads were, there were as many elements of this season that stuck in the mind for their utter unresolvability. The picture that emerged as the season wore on was of a group of people who were uniquely equipped to understand one another’s experience but uniquely incentivized, after cameras stopped rolling, to move forward without one another’s company.”
The spin-off series “Untucked” from the darling “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” which has won multiple Emmys, hasn’t been a definite go-to for the TV Academy, winning its first Emmy last year in this category. So can it be an ongoing occurrence for VH1 moving forward? The show is also fresh off its win at the fourth annual Critics Choice Real TV Awards.
There’s nothing like a show that takes place in Hollywood’s backyard, as the look at the real estate brokers of The Oppenheim Group is coming off their first Emmy nom last year. Nabbing two MTV Movie + TV Awards this year, including best docu-reality show and best reality star for Chrishell Stause, “Selling Sunset” has a solid stronghold in this category leading to the opening of Emmy voting. So perhaps they will bring home a big Emmy commission this season?
Hulu spent a lot of dollars to bring arguably the most famous family onto its streaming platform, and they’re not shying away about trying to get it some Emmy attention for the first time. Unsure if the TV Academy will warm up to “The Kardashians,” the family that everyone loves to hate (or hate to love), but they’re the closest they’ve ever to Emmy attention since “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” was never in an earshot in its 15 seasons.
Coming off a surprise nomination during the last Emmy ceremony, the Bravo series “Below Deck” has now been a well-regarded show that gets love from critics and consumers, a rarity in the reality climate.
Representing reality television with substance, the purely human Showtime series “Couples Therapy” takes a raw view of couples. Even though it has yet to find love from the Emmys, there’s always time for a first-timer to enter the mix.
Here is Clayton’s unstructured reality frontrunners as of this week:
AWARDS CIRCUIT PODCAST: How Amy Poehler Captured a ‘Modern’ Take on ‘Outsiders’ Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz in Amazon Doc
By Emily Longeretta:
There’s very little Amy Poehler can’t do. She serves as an executive producer on four projects currently on the air, including Emmy contenders “Russian Doll” and “Making It,” which she also co-hosts. She also voices two leading characters on Fox’s animated series “Duncanville,” which she co-created.
Though she’s stepped behind the camera many times over the course of her career, this year came with a whole new challenge: directing an Amazon Prime Video documentary about Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, titled “Lucy and Desi.” Luckily, the timing was perfect.
“Working on a documentary during these past few years was very fortuitous because so much of it is research, interviews and time with your editors, so I didn’t have as much on-set experience,” she tells Variety of filming during the COVID-19 pandemic. “I take great pride in working in an industry where a bunch of different unions came together very fast to say, ‘We’re all going to do something that’s going to be really uncomfortable and unpleasant, and we’re going to hate it and we’re going to keep doing it to keep working.’ I think that there’s an incredible lesson in it there. There’s a lot of different kinds of people that work on a film, and they all said fine, we’ll do this so that we can keep working so there’s a little bit of magic in it still.”
‘Hacks,’ ‘The Dropout’ and ‘The Conners’ Are Three Reminders of Why Laurie Metcalf Is an Emmy Favorite
There you are, watching Season 2 of HBO Max’s Emmy-winning comedy “Hacks,” and delighting in the genius of American treasure Jean Smart and her worthy sparring partner, Hannah Einbinder.
And then along comes Laurie Metcalf, playing a burned out tour manager named Weed.
Or there you are again, on a binge of Hulu’s limited series “The Dropout,” marveling at Amanda Seyfried’s spot-on portrayal of Theranos grifter Elizabeth Holmes. And then who pops up? Laurie Metcalf, playing Stanford professor Phyllis Gardner, who early on calls Holmes out on her lies (and later partners with another familiar TV face, William H. Macy as physician and inventor Richard Fuisz, another Holmes adversary).
Perhaps you’re a theater fan, tuning into Arian Moayed’s independently-produced thriller “The Accidental Wolf,” on the streaming service Topic — when Metcalf pops up for a handful of episodes.
And of course, Metcalf continues to hold down the fort on ABC’s “The Conners” in her iconic role of Jackie Harris, a part that earned her Emmys in 1992, 1993 and 1994 as part of the “Roseanne” ensemble.
How much of an MVP is Metcalf? In 2016, she was nominated at the Emmys for three different shows: lead actress (for “Getting On”), comedy guest actress (“The Big Bang Theory”) and drama guest actress (“Horace and Pete”). She immediately went on after that to score Academy Award, Golden Globe and SAG Award noms for her role in “Lady Bird.”
The fact that she’s once again eligible for parts on four different series in the same year is, yes, partly a testament to the fact that multiple gigs are now a common occurrence in TV. But it’s also a reminder that casting people know how Metcalf can immediately elevate your project.
WATCH MY SHOW: ‘One of Us Is Lying’ Exec Producer Erica Saleh Answers our Showrunner Survey
Based on Karen M. McManus’ New York Times best-selling novel of the same name, Peacock’s “One of Us Is Lying” takes place in a high school where five students enter detention and one doesn’t survive. The trailer sees Simon (played by Mark McKenna) rushed out of Bayview High School on a stretcher, dying from an allergic reaction. Simon narrates from beyond the grave, raising suspicion as to who may be his murderer among classmates Nate (Cooper van Grootel), Addy (Annalisa Cochrane), Cooper (Chibuikem Uche) and Bronwyn (Marianly Tejada). We asked exec producer Erica Saleh to fill out our Showrunner Seven.
Sum up your show’s pitch in one sentence. Five kids walk into detention… only four make it out alive.
What’s an alternate title for your show? “All of Us Are Lying”
What do we need to know before tuning in? Other than the password to your Peacock account? Just that you’re in for a wild ride. And if you’re a fan of the book you should be ready for a few surprises.
Give us an equation for your show. (Blank plus blank minus blank times blank, etc.) “The Breakfast Club” x “Gossip Girl” + Murder = “One of Us is Lying”
What’s the best thing someone said about your show? This is such a hard question! I can’t pick one thing but the best thing overall has been watching our audience fall in love with these characters and see themselves in their journeys.
If you could work on any other series on TV, what would it be? “Search Party.” I know that’s a little bit of a cheat because it just ended, but it is so smart and gutsy and funny. I’m in awe of how far the writers pushed that story, and they absolutely stuck the landing. It’s some of the most confident and fearless story telling on TV. The writers in my room know if they want a big pitch to land all they have to do is say “‘Search Party’ would do it” and I’m in.
Finish this sentence: “If you like _______, you’ll love our show.” If you like murder with a side of romance, you’ll love our show.
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