After this morning’s announcement of the Emmy nominations, Don Mischer, the veteran (and much awarded himself) executive producer of this year’s 66th annual Emmy Awards jokingly suggested to me that maybe there should be an awards show that only honors other award shows! God help us. We almost have that now. At the Emmys, the only awards show not eligible to win one of the golden winged statuettes is Emmy herself.
And what’s significant awards-show wise in this year’s lineup is how far the Golden Globes, of all shows, have come into industry respectability. Not only did it grab an Outstanding Special Class Program nomination against the Tonys and the Oscars this morning, but it also landed a nod for Outstanding Writing For A Variety Special. It will compete there again with the Tonys there but — OUCH — not perennial writing nominee Academy Awards; Ellen DeGeneres and her crew of writers who so memorably sent out for pizza and took selfies this year were snubbed this time out.
Of course the Globes have really smartened up in the writing department in the past couple of years with strong SNL influence and participation from hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler as well as Seth Meyers among other members of the Lorne Michaels wolf pack. Meyers may not have been nominated for his own new NBC late-night talk show, but this year’s Emmy host has a chance to win one for his Globes writing gig, and that category WILL be presented this year on the primetime broadcast. Still in sheer numbers of nominations today, The Oscars lead the Tonys 8-7, with the Globes grabbing the aforementioned two. Impressively, Oscar show producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, who will be returning for a third consecutive stint on next year’s show, are competing directly against themselves in the Special Class category with their NBC musical special The Sound Of Music Live! And they also nabbed a nomination for their Lifetime miniseries, Bonnie And Clyde. Big day for that busy pair, who got Emmy love for all of their TV projects last season, even if critical reaction was mixed. Who’s laughing now?
As for the August 25th Emmy show itself, both Television Academy chairman Bruce Rosenblum and Mischer expressed great enthusiasm for its potential despite airing a month earlier than usual during the dog days of summer — and for the first time in memory on a Monday night. This is all due to the fact that NBC has the broadcast this year and due to its contractual obligations to NFL football always has to move up the Emmy date when its turn on the four-network wheel comes around. “As you know this wasn’t our decision but it was not unexpected. We’re excited that Don Mischer is producing the show,” Rosenblum told me. “We’re really excited that Seth is hosting show. We expect it to be an exciting show and NBC is 100% behind it. So ratings should be strong again this year. We have great content and also we have some star power. If you look across the board in the performer categories there’s star power, but specifically if you look at Best Actor in a Drama Series the guys who are nominated there have stood on the Oscar stage as well.”
It’s true. Kevin Spacey, nominated again this year for House Of Cards, is a two-time Oscar winner for Best Actor while McConaughey took the same prize in March, and his True Detective co-star Woody Harrelson is a two-time Academy Award nominee himself. Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Movie and first-time Emmy nominee Chewitel Ejiofor (Dancing On The Edge) was a 12 Years A Slave Best Actor Oscar nominee this year as well but lost to McConaughey. By the way, word from insiders is that McConaughey may be Oscar nomination-bound again for the upcoming November release of Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar. When you are on a roll…..
One man familiar with both Emmys and Oscars from a producing standpoint is Mischer, who sounded quite excited about the show this year. “On Emmy night you look at the best of television and I think we’ve had a really good season,” he said. “It’s very strong star-wise. And all the new platforms are just making it a more stimulating environment and a more exciting landscape.” He added he’s optimistic about the move to Monday night next month. “I actually think that being on Monday night is a really good move for us in the summer, because if I am not mistaken, I think there are more homes using television on Monday night than there are on Sunday since a lot of people are at the beach or out doing their summer activities,” he said.
But Mischer cautions that his biggest concern about going on a Monday is the downtown Los Angeles traffic. It’s usually empty on Sunday — save for Emmy Sunday congestion around LA Live — but on a business day it is a wildly different situation. “There’s going to be a lot of traffic and it’s going to take longer to get down there. That’s the main job we are going to have in getting people into their seats by five o’clock on a Monday afternoon. I had a nightmare the other night in which at 10 seconds to five o’clock I looked out and there were some empty rows out there,” he laughed. Mischer says it isn’t the nominees themselves that worry him because for the first four or five awards the operation is so precise that they have production people in the cars with them and know exactly where they are in traffic. “We can follow them on GPS and make sure they get to their seats!”
On another note, Mischer isn’t alone in noticing that the campaign to win Emmy nominations has been getting more intense, but he thinks that probably makes for a good horse race which certainly helps in drawing an audience — though it isn’t everything. “Generally what will make a show like this are two things that a producer has no control over which is who’s nominated and who wins, and what they’ll say. (Former Oscar show producer) Gil Cates used to say, ‘When it comes to those two things either the awards gods smile on you or they don’t.’ So we are going to do everything we can to put a good show together that’s got emotional moments, good comedy, good pacing,” said the man who has been to a few of these rodeos before.
He also had praise for Meyers. “We have had a couple of meetings with him in New York. He’s real smart. He’s really eager,” Mischer said. “He’s going to be out here in LA quite a bit before the show, and as a veteran of live television he’s really quick on his feet and can roll with the punches. I am really, really excited. I think it’s going to be good.”
Of course if those “awards gods” can just learn to smile this time it could be a hot, and memorable, August night.