Damned if you do, damned if you don’t: Last year, the Television Academy received grief from network competitors as it tallied Emmy nomination totals — and in some cases, combined outlets like HBO and HBO Max. So this year, they decided to forgo it all together and let the networks do the counts themselves.
In a brief interview on Emmy nomination morning, TV Academy president/COO Maury McIntyre explained why. He also confirmed that Variety‘s ongoing campaign to expand the number of nominees in key categories to 10 is definitely still under consideration at the org, given the sheer number of submissions these days. And he gave an update on the status of this year’s Emmy telecast on NBC, which does not yet have an announced host.
VARIETY: Frank Scherma mentioned in a world of 600 scripted shows there going to be a lot of “snubs” as well, and we definitely saw that today.
McINTYRE: There is a lot of phenomenal work on television and clearly we’re only recognizing a part of that. I think we acknowledge that. It’s been very interesting. One of the big news is clearly that we saw a kind of a retraction in the number of submissions last year because of the pandemic and that all came soaring back. So production is back, there is no question. But I think you saw because of all the pandemic, it’s an interesting year. Not one of the nominees for drama series last year is a nominee this year. Now, many of them couldn’t be, but I can’t remember a time when that happened before. They’re not necessarily new, but of course, so many had to take a break last year. They’re all coming back. And so I think this year, when you look at the nominees, it’s a really good mixture of brand new nominees, returning nominees from previous years and then some nominees from last year as well. There’s just so much to choose from, I think that it’s nice to see that that mix in that balance.
I’ve been pushing for expanding to 10 nominees in some of the categories. Are we ever going to see that? Doesn’t it make sense to just go to a nice even 10, like what the Motion Picture Academy is doing?
We absolutely talk about that, and I’m sure we’ll talk about it again this year. Last year, we saw about a 40% drop in overall comedy submissions that’s up 67% this year, which is huge. Limited series, everybody talks to us about the limited series category. That’s up 15% in overall submissions. So I absolutely think it’s something that we’ll continue to look at. The more we can give recognition to the greater number of programs, I think that’s a good thing. But clearly, at the same time, scarcity has value so we’re just trying to balance that. But absolutely, I think we’ll look at it.
You decided not to do a network tally this year. Why?
In all of the material we’ve given, we’ve certainly given everyone the ability to tally up their own. But we realized that it became such a talking point. And what we’re really about is the shows. We’re happy that we can tell that “Succession” has the most nominations and that “Ted Lasso” matched its number of nominations last year, and is up to 20 again. Because that’s what we celebrate, is the programs. But we’re giving the tools to our partners to be able to go tout themselves. In what is in all the material, HBO would be able to go and say, ‘here’s what our tally was.’ Netflix can go do that, but we’ll leave it to them to sing their own praises. And we’re gonna focus on the shows that we’re honoring. And that’s really our focus.
I imagine it’s tough now to police the the outlets in determining how they’re entering themselves. HBO combines with HBO Max, Nat Geo produces for Disney+, but those are interred as Disney+ and then FX produces for Hulu, but yet those are entered as FX shows. What is your take on how to handle how networks and platforms submit themselves?
Quite honestly, that’s another one of the reasons we just left it to them. We want them to be able to say how they want to be presented. It’s really hard. We get questions all the time. Well, where did it debut? And why is it attributed there? All we can really say is, we take our partners at the word. If you’re going to submit it as x, we’re going to say that’s platform X. Unless it’s an absolutely egregious misuse of that, but we haven’t been seeing that. But you’re right, especially with all the different mergers and all the new platforms and everything. It becomes harder to really be able to attribute. And we’d rather just let our partners be able to say that and aggregate as they will. We can certainly see the Walt Disney Company aggregating every single one of its platforms to say, ‘here was the Disney total.’ Why wouldn’t they do that? And it’s not going to be our job necessarily to say what they should or should not attribute there. It’s very easy for us to say ‘Succession’ has 25 nominations. It’s harder for us to say, ‘well, one of them debuted here, and one of them was on this platform.’ And I think you’re gonna keep seeing that happen. Warner Bros. Discovery– who knows what will now happen with their platform.
Variety sketch. What’s the conversation on what you’re going to do with that? You’re down to just two nominees again this year. That can’t be sustainable, right?
We are very cognizant that the variety categories are things we still want to keep talking about. We’ve been having good discussions over the past year and a half. If it were an easy solution, I’m sure we would have come up with it. So we’re gonna keep having those conversations. And hopefully you’ll see some changes coming up. That is another genre that unfortunately is not necessarily seeing growth yet. We’re hoping that will come back. It was down last year in the pandemic, and it actually was down again, slightly this year. So it’s certainly something we’re looking at. We made a decision a couple of years ago. We then heard from our partners that that wasn’t the right decision and we want to actually make sure we’re listening to the industry. So we’re being a little more deliberate this time.
Was there any major impact this year from some of the big rule changes? You got rid of the hour-long stipulation for drama and half hour for comedy. Also the whole question of dayparts went away in favor of genres. Do you think that has any major impact on the nominations?
We didn’t necessarily see any major impact. One of the reasons that we got rid of that stipulation was because it was really an exception that we were seeing. For the most part comedies and dramas were enduring as comedies and dramas. And if someone needed to petition, almost invariably, they always were able to win that petition. So we felt it was better just to go back to the route of you enter what you think you’re supposed to enter. And if we have a question about it, then we will come to you and say, ‘Wait, you know, you’re saying this is a comedy, but it’s been marketed as a neo-noir dark thriller, why would you say that it’s a comedy suddenly?’ We’ll take that as a case by case. And I think the whole moving towards genre was something we had actually been doing for quite some time. This was just ‘hey, we’re working so well. Now with the National Academy. We have such a good relationship with them. Adam Sharp and I talk constantly.’ We want to view this now is it’s one competition. And when you have one competition, there shouldn’t be much question about ‘do I go over to this competition or the daytime or the primetime?’ Let’s treat it as one and then talk about that with our partners. And make sure that when they are going into a category, it’s a category that is relevant, and that they are entering the categories that are like with like, as much as you can get.
Let’s talk about the actual ceremony. Where do things stand? You guys have been a little quiet on whether or not it’s going to be back at the Microsoft Theater versus back on the L.A. Live events deck like last year. Is there a decision yet on where it’s actually going to be held?
I’ll leave that actually to NBC and the Done+Dusted production team to share news on that. [UPDATE: The TV Academy has confirmed that this year’s telecast will be once again held inside the Microsoft.] We’re still monitoring a lot of what’s going on in the industry. I think we are making some forward progress on how we’re going to do the show, which I’m excited about. But at the same time, we’re seeing a surge in this variant, the BA.5 variant, so we’re just wanting to make sure that we can do the best show we can. And not get ahead of ourselves in terms of announcing what we’re doing.
I know you’re bringing back the Governor’s Ball although you’ve also been calling it a Gala Event. Are you playing around with the the branding of the after party as well?
Right now all plans moving forward to have an after party. We were thrilled about that, just as we’re thinking about it, has it ever really been a ball in the traditional sense? Especially, you’re now got “Bridgerton” out there showing people what a ball really is. What we’re wanting to do is focus on that it’s a celebration and what’s the best way to call it a celebration. So we’re still talking about all of that. We absolutely know the industry wants to get back together and they want to celebrate. They want to have a real massive blowout, and that’s kind of what a gala is. So that’s kind of where we’re leaning.
Any ETA on on host(s)? Should we expect an announcement this week or next week?
I really wish I could answer that question for you. It’s a conversation we are continuing to have. We’re having really good conversations with some potentials in the industry. Done+Dusted is working hard on that and hopefully we’ll be able to say something soon.
Done+Dusted and Reggie Hudlin have been getting positive reviews for their recent Emmys. Talk about having that continuity.
We love our broadcast partners, but as you know, we switch broadcast partners every year. So it’s it’s hard to get into a rhythm with your broadcast partner. So it’s been really phenomenal to be able to get into a rhythm with a producer that you continue with. We think that the combination of Done+Dusted and Reggie Hudlin and his team has just been fantastic for us. There’s just no question that the work they did during the pandemic kind of showed, this is how you can do an award show, in the midst of all of everything else going on. They’ve just continued to think and innovate since then as well and we’ve we’ve been thrilled with that.
What does “
Squid Game” getting nominated as the first non-English language show mean for the Academy?
I think it just emphasizes that a good story is a good story. Doesn’t matter what language it is. I have to admit to a little chagrin, that in some ways, the Oscars beat us to it with “Parasite.” I think that with the kind of globalization of platforms, you’re gonna see that more and more. Netflix has a number of shows that they’re doing all over the world. I think you’re seeing that from Amazon. You’ll be seeing that from HBO possibly. If it’s a great story, it’s going to resonate.
What was your biggest surprise of the day?
I was really thrilled to see the great split that you’re seeing now in terms of men and women in directing and writing, especially in the scripted categories. We’ve been seeing that coming. But one of the great things both for women who are writers and directors but even writers and directors of color, I think is when you look at where they are doing their work and getting nominated. In the past it was an all-female production, or it was primarily African American-led production. But the things that are being nominated for now, it’s two women for ‘Succession.’ It’s a woman for writing “Ted Lasso”… and women of color in many of those instances as well. So that to me is just really great news. I think it is a way to show that equity and inclusion is broadening out now. It’s not focused just on one or two programs. And that’s great.