The Emmys‘ Outstanding Miniseries or Movie category featured many of the expected contenders. HBO’s Game Change and Hemingway And Gellhorn made the cut along with History Channel’s highly rated mini The Hatfields & McCoys, which made a big splash with 16 nominations, and BBC’s Luther and PBS’ Sherlock: A Scandal In Belgravia adding serious gravitas — if not shows that had many viewers compared to the marquee categories.
The most interesting nomination came for FX’s American Horror Story, which managed to tie Mad Men for the most overall nominations this year with 17. This show, which offers a different storyline each season with cast members taking on different roles, is a somewhat controversial entry. It is designed as a continuing “series” that could go on for many seasons. In fact, it had to get special treatment from the Academy board in order to be even eligible as a miniseries, where it obviously had a much easier time getting nominated than it would have in the Best Drama Series category where many think this weekly series belongs. Executive producer Ryan Murphy brought it to the Academy and asked that it be considered as a mini rather than regular series — he’s no dummy. At the Primetime Awards Committee meeting the issue was brought up and someone asked if the show initially had a pilot — it did. The committee deadlocked 19-19 on whether to recommend the Board of Governors approve Murphy’s request. The board eventually caved, and Murphy got his way, resulting in the truly impressive Emmy haul this morning. FX sent DVD screeners to the Academy and one of the episodes was clearly labeled “Pilot”. What movie or miniseries has ever had a pilot? Obviously the Academy is twisting the definition of what makes a movie or mini in order to give this category new blood that doesn’t come from HBO or niche networks and cable.