Eyebrows were raised this morning as for the first time the Television Academy recognized “Platforms” in tallying the official record of which studios, networks, and streamers can have bragging rights for the most Emmy nominations. It seems like an eternity ago when corporate tallies could be reserved simply for ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox. Now, as an example of the seismic changes in ownership and mergers, the playing field has gotten particularly muddy and competitive and controversial.
The Walt Disney Company grabs the most Emmy noms this year with 146, according to the Academy’s press release detailing nominations per platform, but that total includes ABC (23), Disney+ (71), Freeform (one), FX Networks (16), Hulu (25) and National Geographic (10). ViacomCBS claims 54 over seven divisions including CBS (home network of the Emmys this year). WarnerMedia has 138, largely thanks to traditional Emmy tally leader HBO, which is allowed to combine with new streamer named HBO Max for a total of 130 nominations, just one more than needed to claim victory over rival Netflix (129) which sits alone on the chart with no subsidiaries (cue the tears for Netflix).
This has set off a flurry of phone calls and emails from both entities emphasizing their various positions on these figures, with HBO defending the combined tally and Netflix challenging it, all in the name of the corporate claim game. In terms of just including single entities, Netflix would be the easy winner, but HBO touts its “brand,” which it says includes the newbie HBO Max and thus believes it has every right to get the combined opportunity. As I said in my analysis this morning, it is not that big a leap to think of a future Emmy nomination day when just one corporation claims all the nominations as its own. Already the Television Academy is having second thoughts about all this, as I learned just moments ago on a Zoom interview with TV Academy President and COO Maury McIntyre and Chairman and CEO Frank Scherma. Don’t count on this “per platform” practice carrying on into the future.
“I’ll be honest with you, Pete. I actually had this conversation with the team this morning,” said McIntyre. “If I had my druthers, we would actually not report out that anymore because I don’t want to get involved in any kind of strategy between, you know, the platform marketing wars, if you will. That’s for their own marketing teams trying to jostle what they want to, and we’re really wanting to focus on the shows. You know, let’s talk about The Crown’s 24 nominations, the amazing show Mandalorian’s 24 nominations, and kind of leave that the other way.
“The new thing we did this year, we’ve always kind of said, ‘Here are the total numbers like platform.’ And it has always been, once they get reported, then all the platforms start to say, ‘But we want this and what we’ve got this, and we should do this.’ The only change we made this year is because of the seismic shift we have seen in the industry, which is just kind of the aggregation of things, we thought it is reasonable to say, here are all the platforms for this media company and this one. And here are all the platforms for this media company. We didn’t make any assessment or statement about those totals. We just simply grouped them in that way so that you guys can now say, ‘Oh, wow, let’s talk about it this way.’ But for me, really, I feel it’s about the shows — and it should be about the shows and the nominations for the shows. And I’ll let the companies kind of duke it out in terms of who has the most this or that.”
Coming up shortly is more of my wide-ranging conversation with McIntyre and Scherma about plans for the Emmy show amid the continuing pandemic, their efforts on diversity, possible future changes for the Limited Series category, all those Hamilton nominations and much more.