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How Emmy Campaigns Are Trying to Outdo Each Other With Bigger and Pricier FYC Spaces

Emmy Campaigns 2022
Dustin Downing/Amazon Studios; Banks: Todd Williamson/Peacock; Winning Time: HBO

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It’s a house that “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” could only dream of. Visitors to Amazon’s Prime Experience event space this year have encountered something that’s definitely unlike any other FYC pop-up in Emmy history: A 24,628-sq.-ft. mansion with nine bedrooms and nine bathrooms, on a 12.2-acre estate high above Beverly Hills.

Emmy FYC events are back — and boy, are they ever back. After two years of mostly virtual panels — with some drive-in events in the mix — networks and studios were once again given permission by the Television Academy this year to swing the doors open and hold in-person panels, screenings and experiences.

And perhaps tired of watching panels at home while eating food delivery meals, TV Academy members also appear ready to hop in their cars and join the FYC gauntlet in person. They have plenty of choices: Given the sheer volume of Emmy contenders eager for an FYC slot, there can be up to four events per day — two 5 p.m. slots and two 7 p.m. slots each weeknight, plus two 2 p.m. and two 7 p.m. slots every Saturday and Sunday. (But the weeknight 5 p.m. ones can only be virtual.)

Most of those slots, especially as we get closer to nomination voting, are filled. “I think there is an appetite to gather safely,” says one studio awards exec. “Attendees are still open to rapid testing on site or pre-testing before. The key is to make the experience worth it.”

That was clearly the goal over at Amazon. After two years of COVID-19 protocols that kept campaigning mostly virtual, Prime Video returned with that mansion in Los Angeles’ Benedict Canyon, which has become a sure-fire conversation starter. To get to the estate, Emmy voters must first find its “prestigious gates” (that’s the property’s real estate listing talking, not us) in what is technically the Beverly Glen neighborhood, adjacent to Beverly Hills.

From there, guests drive up a lengthy, windy path — past other homes that are huge, but minuscule in comparison to property’s main event. High on top of the hill sits the home, estimated to be worth $16.3 million.

A large man-made lake sits behind the manor, which has been formatted by Amazon into spaces promoting its Emmy contenders. That includes a sitting room with tea treats themed to “A Very British Scandal,” an art gallery devoted to “As We See It,” a sound bath “void” room for “Outer Range” and more.

Prime Experience has a massive tent built on the grounds that has been turned into a theater for screenings and panels (with spaced-out seating as a nod to safety), and other rooms include a piano bar, a “salon and sweets” parlor where you can grab some candy, get your nails done and a take part in a tarot card reading.

Before the pandemic, Amazon held its Prime Experience for several years at the Hollywood Athletic Club. But that space was cramped, and not conducive to a moment when people want some distance from each other. Amazon execs say the airy, expansive Benedict Canyon estate was chosen for its outdoor locations and the space to spread out attendees.

Amazon isn’t the only outlet to bring back the FYC event locale — it’s now become a de rigueur part of Emmy campaigning. Netflix has also re-entered the campaign scene with its FYSee pop up, featuring show-themed exhibits and a screening room, but decided to stick with the Raleigh Studios soundstage where it has held the event in the past. (This year, there’s a “Squid Game” theme to the proceedings: Netflix even dispatched an army of the show’s “pink soldiers” and the masked game master known as the Front Man with an invitation to select members of the media.)

Warner Bros. TV Group launched its inaugural FYC@WB panel series on the Warner Bros. lot, at its Studio Tour Theater. The event, organized in conjunction with the Warner Bros. Studio Tour and the Motion Picture & Television Fund, is open to the public in addition to
Emmy voters.

Meanwhile, Disney Television Studios, FX, Hulu, Disney+ and ABC have combined forces for Disney FYC Fest, which takes place during the first half of June at Disney’s El Capitan Theater in Hollywood. Each event will be followed by receptions at the nearby Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, where installations highlighting the shows will be showcased.

NBCU is also opening a space in the Hollywood club Aster, while its streaming outlet Peacock has created a pop-up store at the Grove shopping center dubbed House of Peacock, featuring branded displays with fashion inspired by its show, as well as exclusive show wardrobes, Easter eggs and more. Wearable items inspired by Peacock original series will be customizable for guests and completely free. Universal Studio Group, meanwhile, has partnered with Amoeba Music to promote series including “We Are Lady Parts,” “Girls5eva” and “Dr. Death” in a variety of ways.

None of these various network, studio and streamer events come cheap, which may be why the first rule of FYC campaigns is that network execs refuse to go on the record about FYC campaigns.

“By using the same space for an extended period of time we have the flexibility to create an immersive experience. It’s not just a panel and passed apps any more,” one awards rep says. “It’s a happy hour, a photo op, a costume display, performance and then … yes, we still have the panels and the passed apps.”