The Contenders – TV

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‘Queen Sugar’ Creator Ava DuVernay On Finding A Place To Breathe – The Contenders Emmys Video

Ava DuVernay

"We're trying to do something different with this and I need a place where I can breathe and do that," Ava DuVernay said of the family drama Queen Sugar, and why OWN was the best place for the series toplined by Dawn-Lyen Gardner, Kofi Siriboe and Rutina Wesley. "We need a place where we can have black people in the South, where the matriarch of the family is a waitress and one of the three major characters is a formerly incarcerated man," the Oscar-nominated director… Read


‘Shots Fired’ Creators & Sanaa Lathan On How The Ferguson Riots Led To Fox Series – The Contenders Emmys Video

Sanaa Lathan

It was the Ferguson riots and the not-guilty verdict in the George Zimmerman trial that inspired co-creators/executive producers Gina Prince-Bythewood and Reggie Rock Bythewood to heed the call of the Fox network and Imagine Entertainment in doing the 10-part series Shots Firedwhich is just about as timely and urgent as weekly network TV can get. Appearing at the DGA theater packed with TV Academy voters at Deadline’s annual The Contenders Emmys last month, the married… Read


‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Creative Team Talks Going Beyond The Book – The Contenders Emmys Video

Elisabeth Moss

“It’s such a wide world… there is a sentence about something that opens up a huge other world that would be very interesting,” creator/executive Bruce Miller said about on Hulu’s dystopian drama The Handmaid’s Tale, based on Margaret Atwood's famed novel, fares better on an series platform. “We were able to take one sentence out of the book and turn it into an episode.” Miller was joined by star Elisabeth Moss and fellow EP Warren Littlefield at Deadline’s annual The Conte… Read


Darren Star And Cast On Blending Love, Work & A Big Lie In ‘Younger’ – The Contenders Emmys Video

Darren Star Miriam Shor

Darren Star, creator and producer behind shows like Sex And The City and Beverly Hills, 90210  tells how ageism and the importance of work became driving factors in creating his latest series Younger. He joined TV Land’s panel at Deadline’s The Contenders Emmys event last month in front of a packed DGA theater of TV Academy members. Along with cast members Peter Hermann who plays Charles, Nico Tortorella who plays Josh, and Miriam Shor who plays Diana, the quartet… Read


‘Gilmore Girls’ Stars On That Ending & A Possible Season 2 – The Contenders Emmys Video

"It certainly wasn't the ending I was expecting," Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life star Alexis Bledel said about the final four words that closed out the Netflix’s revival series. Speaking at Deadline’s The Contenders Emmys event last month, co-star Lauren Graham expressed similar sentiments about the ending. “I didn’t know that that was Amy’s [Palladino] intention. I didn’t know that the final four words were a thing… It was a complete surprise to me,” said Graham… Read


John Wells And William H. Macy On Evolving ‘Shameless’ – The Contenders Emmys Video

John Wells William H. Macy

Shameless executive producer/showrunner John Wells and one of its longtime stars William H. Macy came to Deadline’s all-day event The Contenders Emmys last month at the DGA Theatre. The pair took to the stage in front of a packed house of TV Academy members and Emmy voters to explain the BBC roots of the show, and how it has evolved and changed from the original into a seven-season hit on Showtime. Also up in the wide-ranging discussion: the approach of the actors and… Read


‘Genius’ EP Ron Howard On Finding The Right Formula For Unwrapping Einstein – The Contenders Emmys Video

For heavyweight filmmaker Ron Howard, a two-hour movie chronicling the life of Albert Einstein, one of the greatest minds in history, wasn’t something that would have “served the character in the right way.” Speaking to a packed house at Deadline’s The Contenders Emmys event last month, Howard said he hoped 10 hourlong episodes of the NatGeo series Genius will give audiences a “look at the entire reach of his life.” “Most enticing was the opportunity to delve into all… Read


‘Billions’ Star Explains Why They Choose To Enter Actor Category – The Contenders Emmys Video


"We've been thinking a lot about what inclusivity means and about how somebody from the outside, how one would think somebody from outside would be treated and how it was actually possible for them to be treated," said Billions co-creator Brian Koppelman of the introduction of a gender-nonbinary character into the testosterone-heavy hedge fund world in the Showtime series' second season. The Rounders co-writer was joined onstage at the DGA Theater at Deadline's The Contend… Read


How ‘Sneaky Pete’s Bryan Cranston Turned An Emmy Speech Into An Amazon Series – The Contenders Emmys Video

Bryan Cranston

Bryan Cranston may be the first actor in TV history to actually get another series deal directly from a speech he made while accepting an Emmy as Best Actor in a Drama. That is what a packed DGA theater full of Television Academy and Emmy voters learned at Deadline’s The Contenders Emmys event last month in Hollywood. As part of Amazon’s presentation, Cranston came on to talk about Sneaky Petethe series he co-created, executive produces and in which he is a sometime… Read


‘The Leftovers’ Damon Lindelof & Justin Theroux On What Won’t Happen In Final Season – The Contenders Emmys Video

Damon Lindelof Justin Theroux

When HBO’s religious drama The Leftovers wraps its third and final season, don’t expect everything will be resolved. “The one thing you’re never going to find out on The Leftovers is where everybody disappeared to and why them,” co-creator/showrunner Damon Lindelof said onstage at Deadline’s The Contenders Emmys event last month. However, he assured, “We’ve found ways of coming to the finale and answering the relevant mysteries of the season. You’ll get the answers to… Read


How ‘Kingdom’ Blends Family Conflict With Kick-Ass Fight Scenes – The Contenders Emmys Video

Frank Grillo, Byron Balasco, Kiele Sanchez, Joanna Going, Matt Lauria Jonathan Tucker

At Deadline’s The Contenders Emmys event last month, the main cast and creator of AT&T’s Audience Network drama series Kingdom gathered to tell a packed crowd of TV Academy and Emmy voters how they manage to blend sometimes very personal family tragedy and drama with an authentic look at the world of mixed martial arts. Now going into its third and final season, executive producer/creator Byron Balasco and stars Frank Grillo, Jonathan Tucker, Matt Lauria, Joanna Going and… Read


How James Corden Became A Player In The Late-Night Wars – The Contenders Emmys Video

Earning an Emmy nomination in just its first try, The Late Late Show With James Corden has established itself as a key late-night destination. Coming to participate in Deadline’s The Contenders Emmys at the DGA theater, executive producer Rob Crabbe told a packed audience of TV Academy voters  just how and why the show has caught on so quickly. One reason, he says, is obviously Corden himself, a host who already came with an enviable skill set as singer, dancer, actor and… Read