EXCLUSIVE: In the rolling spirit of Emmy politics, Showtime is cutting to the chase for its Shameless campaign. Starting June 1 and running until the end of the month, 100 buses in LA will feature For Your Consideration ads for the cable network series’ fourth season. Plastering its Emmy hopes on the side of LA’s buses is nothing new for Showtime; it has done that in past years. What is new is that the cabler is having some fun almost at its own expense with ads that show a crossed-out “DRAMA” replaced by a scrawled “COMEDY.” After three years of competing in the drama category and not getting a series nomination, Shameless strategically shifted to the comedy category this year. In late March, the TV Academy agreed to the category change for the dramedy after a request by executive producer/showrunner John Wells. Based on a UK series, Shameless has only been able to score Emmy noms for guest star in a drama series, Joan Cusack, the past three years. Besides the category change and addressing it head-on in the ads, Showtime will not be using billboards as a part of its Emmy campaign as it has in past years.
Designed to get TV Academy voters’ attention while in their cars or walking around (not that anyone does that in LA), the bus ads are the most public of Showtime’s Emmy campaign. Late last week, the cabler started mailing out slick Emmy kits full of info and DVDs of Shameless, Homeland, Masters Of Sex, Ray Donovan, the final season of Dexter and more. The CBS-owned premium cable network also has taken to social media and revamped its FYC site for iPads and iPhones. We’ll see how it all works when the Primetime Emmy nominations come out July 10 and the trophies are handed out August 25.