EXCLUSIVE: Wasting no time, Fox 21 and FX Networks signaled the official start of Emmy season by today by delivering to members of the Television Academy box sets of the complete season of Ryan Murphy’s acclaimed drama series, Pose, a groundbreaking show set in the ball culture world of the 1980s and featuring more than 125 transgender cast and crew. This becomes the first official screener sent to Emmy voters because, I am told, its awards campaign and prospects are “a major priority for both Fox 21 Television Studios and FX,” the cable network that basically was Murphy’s home before he made a record breaking deal with Netflix.
His limited series American Crime Story took major Emmys for The People v. O.J. Simpson and this past year’s The Assassination of Gianni Versace. Murphy’s ongoing limited series American Horror Story also has received numerous nominations and wins, as well as the terrific Feud: Bette and Joan among other shows. I am told that, because of their belief in Pose, both the studio and the network wanted to get it out early in order to give members enough time to watch all eight episodes.
This, by the way, is the announced last hurrah for physical screeners being sent during Emmy season. The TV Academy has decided to go to an all-streaming format for the 2020 campaign season, thus eliminating the vast piles of DVDs sent to members. This year, however, it is business as usual, and Pose is the first of an expected tsunami of DVD screeners coming the way of some 25,000 Academy members.
Created by Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Steven Canals, with Murphy directing the first two episodes, Pose is described as a dance musical that explores the juxtaposition of several segments of life and society in New York including the ball culture world, the rise of the Trump-era luxury universe and the downtown social and literary scene. It made history by featuring the largest recurring cast of LGBTQ actors ever for a scripted series. The show also was nominated for Golden Globes for Best Television Series – Drama and for Lead Actor in a TV Series Drama for Billy Porter. Pose premiered in June — just three days past the eligibility period for last year’s Emmys — to critical acclaim but initially a relatively small broadcast audience, a prime reason perhaps that the studio wanted to give voters a head start to catch up with a show they may have heard buzz about but didn’t catch when it aired. Of course this is exactly what screeners were created for, to be front and center and noticeable on the pile, whereas in the upcoming new age of Emmy streaming could get lost in the cloud. The Emmy mailer accentuates everything from performances to design to the subject matter in a bid to get as many nominations as possible across the board. Of course the Drama Series category is fiercely competitive and hard to break into, but Pose clearly is hoping to stake a claim to a spot.
Fox 21 Television Studios and FX partnered on this as the first step in a planned Emmy campaign that includes a night at PaleyFest this week, upcoming events for voters in both New York and Los Angeles, and a presence at awards evenings in May hosted by organizations such as GLSEN and GLAAD.
Last week FX also launched the print side of things with large “for your consideration” ads for its Pamela Adlon comedy series Better Things. The race is on. Emmys nominations will be announced July 16, and the awards will be presented September 22 on Fox.