Ray Richmond is an AwardsLine contributor.
The question of how publicists generate sufficient buzz and attention to land their lesser-known TV series performer clients Emmy nominations is one that has no single answer. It’s something of a combination of the right advertising, effective marketing, timely late-night talk show appearances, savvy social media campaigning—and luck. And then, of course, the actor or actress requires the necessary goods in terms of talent or no amount of effort will matter.
Jillian Roscoe, VP of talent at ID-PR in Los Angeles, includes among her client list a handful of series regulars who landed their first Emmy noms (and, in a few cases, wins) under her guidance. They include Max Greenfield (a surprise comedy supporting actor nominee last year for Fox’s New Girl), Ty Burrell (nominated the past three years and a comedy supporting winner in 2011 for ABC’s Modern Family), Jim Parsons (a lead comedy nominee since 2009 and winner in 2010 and ’11 for CBS’ Big Bang Theory) and four-time nominee John Slattery of AMC’s Mad Men. “There isn’t any secret,” Roscoe maintains, ”except to have very talented clients. My job is simply to make sure that the right people—i.e. TV Academy voters—have my people on their radar. I don’t need to spin anything. It’s about strategically targeting, and I’m just a bridge.”
One longtime personal publicist with several high-profile TV clients who prefers to remain anonymous emphasizes that the cooperation and participation of a client in any campaign often makes the difference between earning a nomination and being overlooked. “You hope they’re together with you on it,” she explains. “And if they’re not pushing, you have to try everything: Late-night shows, daytime show appearances, special-issues interviews. The ultimate question is, do you do a mailing or buy ads yourself?”
Richard Licata, EVP Communications at NBC and who has helped spearhead Emmy campaigns at HBO, Fox, Showtime and other networks, makes the point that sometimes getting attention for younger talent requires patience, and that often you need to first plant a seed and look for it to sprout a year or two later. ”That’s how it worked when we tried to get a supporting nom for Merritt Wever on Nurse Jackie back in 2010,” Licata recalls. “And then finally, Merritt was nominated in 2012.”