GLAAD’s Megan Townsend on the Historic Significance of ‘Pose’ at the Emmys (COLUMN)
Megan Townsend, GLAAD’s director of entertainment media and analysis, is also the lead author and researcher of the annual inclusion studies, “Studio Responsibility Index” and “Where We Are on TV,” and a consultant on LGBTQ storytelling. Townsend recently wrote a column detailing the history-making path of FX’s “Pose,” and how significant its past wins and current nominations are for the community but also for society at large. A longer version of this essay will appear in the online edition of AWARDS HQ.
Pose and stars MJ Rodriguez, Billy Porter are incredible firsts, they can’t be the last By Megan Townsend
“Pose” has made history in so many ways in its run, and has the opportunity to do so again next month at the 73rd Primetime Emmys. The series could set a timely and needed new precedent for what shows and which actors are considered worthy of awards – especially when we’ve only seen three out LGBTQ actors in history win in the six leading actor and actress categories of the Primetime Emmys.
At its premiere, “Pose” featured the largest cast of series regular transgender actors in a scripted U.S. program. In 2019, Billy Porter became the first out gay actor to win the Emmy in the Lead Actor in a Drama Series, and his character Pray Tell is the first gay character to have been the winner. And then this summer, series star Michaela Jaé Rodriguez became the first out transgender actor to be nominated in a major acting category at the Emmys with a well-deserved nomination for Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series – and we hope to see her make further history with a win.
But for all the firsts of “Pose,” the one I am most excited and hopeful for is as the first of a new wave of LGBTQ storytelling that spotlights the full diversity of the community. “Pose” is a well written, beautifully shot, wonderfully acted series – but what’s most fascinating is how it connected so deeply with so many because of the way it deliberately focused on those who have long been pushed to the side. By centering the humanity, nuance, dignity and value of the lives and stories of trans people, people living with HIV, Black people, and Latinx people who have not often been the main characters, “Pose” was able to tell groundbreaking stories that connected with audiences who have been waiting to feel seen.
While TV has come a long way in the past decade – up to 360 regular and recurring LGBTQ characters on scripted series counted in GLAAD’s most recent Where We Are on TV study across primetime broadcast and cable, and streaming – that progress has not been applied evenly across platforms or across different identities in the community.
GLAAD found that nearly 1 in 5 LGBTQ characters (17 percent) appeared on shows tied to just four creatives, one of whom was “Pose” co-creator Ryan Murphy. This trend continues to apply on platforms as well, with a small number of networks and shows doing the heavy lifting. The three most inclusive cable networks, with FX leading at 20 LGBTQ characters with nine of those counted on “Pose,” made up 48 percent of all LGBTQ characters and a staggering 90 percent of trans characters on cable for the research period.
Further, “Pose” itself made up 14 percent of all trans characters across broadcast, cable, and streaming (four of 29) and the only three characters living with HIV within our methodology on TV appeared on “Pose.” Now that “Pose” has ended its run, there are no characters living with HIV. It is clear that the series’ end will leave a sizable gap on inclusion on TV, as well as in the minds of audiences searching for similar new series to tune in to.
“Pose’s” overwhelming critical success and mainstream popularity – with all seasons certified fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, two GLAAD Media Awards, a Peabody, and a passel of additional nominations and wins at various award shows – should be a lesson to other networks and streamers building their lineups: namely, follow “Pose’s” lead.
“Pose” has always deftly balanced the joys and challenges of life – from outstanding romances like Papi and Angel to the journey of finding chosen family against the harshness of violence, illness, and struggles the characters face. It’s a lesson in resilience and meeting pain with dignity and strength, while also persevering with happiness. For a community whose history (and present day, with at least over 100 anti-LGBTQ state bills proposed just in 2021) includes a long legacy of survival and fighting for our inherent dignity and recognition, “Pose’s” story is more than just a glamorous soapy drama. It is permission and inspiration – an acknowledgement of where we’ve been and the knowledge of where we still have to go.
While I will miss the time spent with Pray and Mother Blanca, I’m hopeful for the future of TV and to see what new series and characters we will see in the coming years. “Pose” broke down a wall and proved that there is an audience and success to be found in telling and investing in our stories. And I look forward to all the amazing LGBTQ stars and writers of Pose being cast or attached to new projects.
Let a changed and more inclusive media landscape be “Pose’s” legacy. The series and cast may have been the first in many ways, but they cannot be the last. Diverse and accurate inclusion must be an institutionalized value and priority at every network, studio, and production company and on every project. This is the only way to create meaningful and scalable change in the industry – and it is just good for business. To ignore the success of “Pose” and the power of historically excluded audiences would only be an indictment of the worst of Hollywood’s past.
Awards Circuit Column: Cedric the Entertainer Shares a First Look at His Hosting Plans for 2021 Emmys (EXCLUSIVE)
A few weeks ago I got a media alert for Cedric The Entertainer‘s 8th Annual Celebrity Golf Classic, which kicked off with a reception at Bogie’s Bar Westlake Village on Sunday, August 15, followed by the golf tourney the next day at the Spanish Hills Country Club in Camarillo. The event benefited the Boys & Girls Club of Camarillo.
Cedric was available to speak to press, so I drove out to Westlake Village that Sunday afternoon to get the first chat with the comedian (and star of CBS’ “The Neighborhood”) about his gig as this year’s Emmy host. Here’s an excerpt from my most recent Awards Circuit column:
When the world shut down in spring 2020, production ground to a halt and comedy clubs closed their doors, Cedric the Entertainer was still working. CBS needed programming to fill its schedule and turned to the comedian to host “The Greatest #AtHome Videos,” a series of specials spotlighting social media videos of people amusing themselves in lockdown.
The “#AtHome Videos” specials later turned into a regular series, giving Cedric, who also stars on CBS’ sitcom “The Neighborhood,” double duty at the Eye. That’s not all: Cedric had hosted CBS’ 2019 special “Motown 60: A Grammy Celebration,” and was busy pitching the network on other music-themed shows. With Cedric already popping up all over the CBS lineup, tapping him to host this year’s Emmys wound up being an easy choice.
It all culminates Emmy weekend with a Cedric the Entertainer triple play on CBS: “#AtHome Videos” airs on Fridays, followed by the Emmys on Sept. 19, and then “The Neighborhood” Season 4 kicking off the new TV season the next night. “It’s ‘All-Ced TV,’” he jokes.
I met up with Cedric recently in Westlake Village, Calif., where he was holding his eighth annual celebrity golf tournament to benefit the Boys & Girls Club, among other charities. That event took place after a year off, but the rise in COVID-19 cases due to the delta variant is once again forcing everyone to prepare for contingency plans — such as the decision to move the Emmys outdoors in an air conditioned tent on the L.A. Live event deck.
“Luckily for us, we’ve been through these kinds of changes in this past year,” Cedric says. “It’s always this kind of moving meter of what’s going to happen. I’m very excited that there will be some degree of an audience there, still be some celebs in the room. The virtual aspect of last year, even though I thought they did a great job, that probably wouldn’t have been as appealing to me. I’m excited with having some people there. And hopefully, that remains to be true all the way through, until the day.”
Cedric says he’s working with his Emmy writers and producers Reggie Hudlin and Done+Dusted about pretaped pieces, including a big open. He’s also eager to be a part of as much of the show as possible, and not be one of those awards hosts who disappears for long periods of time. “I don’t want to be the maître d’ walking you in and sitting you, just being a traffic cop,” he says.
The comedian knows hosting the Emmys is a bit of a thankless job, and that the online critiques “start as soon as they announce it. Everybody’s got an opinion.” His pal Steve Harvey did offer some advice, like, “Look for moments to spread the joy.”
Read the full column here.
TV PICKS: ‘Black-ish’ Producer Courtney Lilly Reveals His Guilty Pleasure, Desert Island Show and More
We asked Courtney Lilly, showrunner and executive producer of ABC’s Emmy nominated “Black-ish” to share his TV guilty TV pleasure (Can be of all time, or currently. Cheesy reality show? Campy sitcom? Obscure public access show? Anything applies!); his “deep cut” (the show he recommends that isn’t as well known, past or present); and “show mate” (the show that, if you were stuck on a desert island with only one DVD, you’d choose to be the most important/most influential/best TV show in your life). Here are his answers:
Guilty TV Pleasure: I don’t know if it’s a guilty pleasure, per se, but I watch a lot of music videos. Particularly ones from the 80s when MTV was in its first incarnation. Videos like Sade’s “Sweetest Taboo” and “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” by Eurythmics were so visually rich they felt like movies. And there were great directors working in the medium at the time, like David Fincher (and my personal favorite) John Sayles. Plus they’re just fun and easy and remind me why I love the moving image.
Deep Cut: The other day I had occasion to watch “Garth Marenghi’s Darkeplace” for the first time in ages and it blew my mind all over again. Its pace and premise is insane, but it works. I don’t think people appreciate the degree of difficulty that comes when you’re spoofing a genre. It’s so easy to lose steam. And it’s going 100 miles per hour in a way that makes you think you’d have to turn away after ten minutes. But the whole thing works. There were a ton of early 2000 UK comedies that I loved — “The Thick of It,” “The Office,” “Spaced” — pleasantly surprised to see how well this one holds up.
Show Mate: Before I answer, I want to declare my love and admiration for the American sitcom. The only truly American art form other than jazz (if I may paraphrase author Paul Beatty ). If it wasn’t for “Seinfeld” and “Martin” and “Frasier” and “Cheers” and “The Simpsons” I wouldn’t have gotten into the business. And “It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia” works every time like Colt45. But my answer has to be another British comedy. “Peep Show.” It’s the greatest romantic comedy I’ve seen on television. Getting inside Mark and Jez’s heads allows for a level of intimacy that no other show can equal. And in two people we get all of life’s hopes and anxieties and miseries and frustrations. I could watch it over and over again. And have.
Awards Circuit Podcast: Kate Winslet on Keeping the ‘Mare of Easttown’ Ending Secret and Falling in Love With Cheez Whiz
Emmy nominated actress Kate Winslet admits that she has spent the past year eating far too much Cheez Whiz.
In HBO’s Emmy-nominated limited series “Mare of Easttown,” Winslet plays a no-nonsense police detective who eats the liquid spray cheese right from the can. And yes, the British actress confesses she “actually likes Cheez Whiz… I must have gone through about three and a half cans.”
For six weeks, viewers tuned in to follow Winslet’s Mare as she worked to solve the murder and the disappearance of a local teenage girl. By the series finale, 3 million people tuned in to learn who committed the murder — but only after a series of twists that led to a satisfying conclusion.
Winslet joined Variety’s Awards Circuit podcast for a conversation about “Mare of Easttown,” Cheez Whiz, and a lot more. Listen below!
Also in this episode: Bowen Yang first joined the writing staff of “Saturday Night Live” in 2018, and was promoted to on-air for the show’s 45th season in 2019, becoming one of the first Asian American and openly gay cast members in the show’s history. Later that season, as the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the show went remote. And this past season, even though it returned to Studio 8H, it was with a limited audience and with plenty of safety protocols.
And yet, Yang stood out for his portrayals of everything from Fran Lebowitz to the iceberg that struck the Titanic. And he earned high marks for his bit on Weekend Update discussing the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes.
Yang is now nominated in the outstanding supporting comedy actor category, where he’s up against notables including his ‘SNL’ co-star, Kenan Thompson. We spoke to Yang about his standout moments of the year, such as that Weekend Update bit, and what it was like working on “SNL” in such an unusual year.
Variety’s Emmy edition of the “Awards Circuit” podcast is hosted by Michael Schneider, Jazz Tangcay and Danielle Turchiano and is your one-stop listen for lively conversations about the best in television. Each week during Emmy season, “Awards Circuit” features interviews with top TV talent and creatives; discussions and debates about awards races and industry headlines; and much, much more. Subscribe via Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify or anywhere you download podcasts. New episodes post every Thursday.
SHOW NO HUNGER: ‘Cobra Kai’ Partners With Shake Shack for FYC Pop Up
Like we mentioned in a recent newsletter, despite the ongoing unusual nature of FYC events during a pandemic, there still was a way this year to be well-fed. And Sony Pictures TV definitely delivered, partnering with the Shake Shack truck to offer up free burgers, fries, drinks and t-shirts in honor of their Emmy-nominated Netflix series “Cobra Kai.”
We visited the Studio City stop last Friday afternoon, and the crowd was out in force. Fitting, of course, given “Cobra Kai’s” San Fernando Valley setting.
On hand as well: Mary Mouser, who plays Samantha LaRusso — Daniel’s daughter — on “Cobra Kai.”
TV Academy Announces Emmy Juried Winners: ‘The Masked Singer,’ ‘The Simpsons,’ ‘Love Death and Robots’ and Others
“The Masked Singer,” “The Simpsons” and “Love, Death and Robots” are among early winners for this year’s Emmy Awards, as the Television Academy announced juried category honorees in the fields of animation, costume, interactive programming and motion design.
“Love, Death and Robots” landed four Emmys in the individual achievement in animation category, giving Netflix an early lead in Emmy tallies, with four. “The Simpsons” and “Genndy Tartakovsky’s Primal” also won in the field.
Meanwhile, the outstanding costumes for a variety, nonfiction or reality program category, which had just one winner in recent years (last year going to “The Masked Singer,” has moved back to being a juried award. “In this year’s Emmys competition, variety, nonfiction and reality returns to a juried award to recognize excellence in a category that has grown to include so many genres,” said Luke Reichle, costume design and supervision governor.
“The Masked Singer” won the category again this year, but was joined by IFC’s “Sherman’s Showcase Black History Month Spectacular” and Disney Plus’ “Black is King.”
Unlike the rest of the Emmy Awards, there are no nominees in these juried categories. Instead, peer groups in these fields — animation, costume design, interactive programming and motion design — bring together a panel of professions to screen juried category entrants. There’s then the possibility of one, more than one or no entry winning an Emmy. The one-step evaluation and voting procedure includes deliberations, open discussions of each entrant’s work and a thorough review of its merits.
Here are this year’s juried Emmy Awards winners:
Outstanding Individual Achievement in Animation
“Genndy Tartakovsky’s Primal” • Plague of Madness • Adult Swim • Cartoon Network Studios David Krentz, Storyboard Artist
“Love, Death and Robots” • Ice • Netflix • Blur Studio for Netflix Robert Valley, Production Designer
“Love, Death and Robots” • Ice • Netflix • Blur Studio for Netflix Patricio Betteo, Background Artist
“Love, Death and Robots” • All Through the House • Netflix • Blur Studio for Netflix Dan Gill, Stop Motion Animator
“Love, Death and Robots” • Automated Customer Service • Netflix • Blur Studio for Netflix Laurent Nicolas, Character Designer
“The Simpsons” • Wad Goals • Fox • A Gracie Films Production in association with 20th Television Animation Nik Ranieri, Lead Character Layout Artist
Outstanding Costumes for a Variety, Nonfiction or Reality Program
“Black Is King” • Disney Plus • Walt Disney Studios Zerina Akers, Costume Designer Timothy White, Costume Supervisor
“The Masked Singer” • Super 8 – The Plot Chickens! Part 2 • Fox • Fox Alternative Entertainment Marina Toybina, Costume Designer Grainne O’Sullivan, Costume Supervisor Gabrielle Letamendi, Assistant Costume Designer Lucia Maldonado, Assistant Costume Designer
“Sherman’s Showcase Black History Month Spectacular” • IFC • The Riddle Entertainment Group, Emerald Street, Get Lifted and RadicalMedia Ariyela Wald-Cohain, Costume Designer Patty Malkin, Costume Supervisor Erica Schwartz, Assistant Costume Supervisor
Outstanding Innovation in Interactive Programming
“For All Mankind: Time Capsule” • Apple TV Plus • Apple / Tall Ship Productions Apple Tall Ship Productions
Outstanding Motion Design
“Calls” • Apple TV Plus • Apple / Studiocanal / Bad Hombre Productions in association with Canal Plus Alexei Tylevich, Creative Director Ethan Stickley, Designer/Animator Scott Ulrich, Animator Daisuke Goto, Animator Chi Hong, Animator James Connelly, Editor
‘Ted Lasso,’ ‘The Crown,’ ‘The Mandalorian,’ ‘Cruel Summer,’ ‘Young Rock,’ New Amsterdam’ Among HCA TV Awards Winners
After being delayed a week and switched from an in-person event to a virtual ceremony, the Hollywood Critics Association revealed the winners for its first-ever HCA TV Awards — and Apple TV Plus’ “Ted Lasso” led the pack with four victories.
“Ted Lasso” was named best streaming comedy, best comedy actor in a streaming series (Jason Sudeikis), best comedy supporting actor in a streaming series (Brett Goldstein) and best comedy supporting actress in a streaming series (Hannah Waddingham, tied with “Hacks” star Hannah Einbinder). HBO was the most awarded outlet, with seven wins overall, followed by NBC (six).
The HCA Awards separated streaming from broadcast and cable, making for multiple wins among shows and performers who are going head-to-head in the Emmy race next month — for example, in drama actress, both Emma Corrin (streaming) and Mj Rodriguez (cable) picked up wins at the HCA TV Awards, but they will face off at the Emmys.
The decision to split broadcast, cable and streaming into separate categories allowed network shows — which rarely receive awards love these days — to get a bit of the spotlight. NBC’s “New Amsterdam” won for broadcast drama, and also picked up an honorary “impact award,” while NBC’s “Young Rock” [photo above] was named best broadcast comedy. Cable shows also getting some attention were Syfy’s “Resident Alien,” for cable comedy, and Freeform’s “Cruel Summer,” for cable drama.
Meanwhile, Disney Plus’ “The Mandalorian” was named best streaming drama and its “WandaVision” was named best streaming limited/anthology/TV movie. HBO’s “Mare of Easttown” was named best broadcast or cable limited/anthology/TV movie.
The event was streamed virtually on Sunday on the official HCA Facebook page and YouTube channel. Here is a roundup of some winners:
Best Broadcast Network Series, Drama “New Amsterdam” (NBC)
Best Cable Series, Drama “Cruel Summer” (Freeform)
Best Streaming Series, Drama “The Mandalorian” (Disney Plus)
Best Broadcast Network Series, Comedy “Young Rock” (NBC)
Best Cable Series, Comedy “Resident Alien” (Syfy)
Best Streaming Series, Comedy “Ted Lasso” (Apple TV Plus)
Best Broadcast Network or Cable Limited Series, Anthology Series, or Live-Action Television Movie “Mare of Easttown” (HBO)
Best Streaming Limited Series, Anthology Series, or Live-Action Television Movie “WandaVision” (Disney Plus)
Best Broadcast Network or Cable Docuseries, Documentary Television Movie, or Non-Fiction Series “Welcome to Chechnya” (HBO)
Best Streaming Docuseries, Documentary Television Movie, or Non-Fiction Series “Kid 90” (Hulu)
Best Broadcast Network or Cable Sketch Series, Variety Series, Talk Show, or Comedy/Variety Special “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” (HBO)
Best Streaming Sketch Series, Variety Series, Talk Show, or Comedy/Variety Special “Bo Burnham: Inside” (Netflix)
Best Broadcast Network Reality Series, Competition Series, or Game Show “The Masked Singer” (Fox)
Best Cable or Streaming Reality Series, Competition Series, or Game Show “RuPaul’s Drag Race” (VH1)
Best Animated Series or Animated Television Movie “Harley Quinn” (HBO Max)
See the full list here.
Tanya Saracho to Receive the Norman Lear Writer’s Award at the 36th Annual Imagen Awards
Writes Jennifer Yuma:
The Imagen Foundation announced Tanya Saracho, playwright and television director, as this year’s recipient for the foundation’s Norman Lear Writer’s Award. Saracho recently served as creator and showrunner of Starz’s series “Vida.” The series aired its third and final season in May 2020, featuring all Latine directors in each season, including Saracho, who made her TV directorial debut.
“Vida” incorporated all Latine writers throughout the first and second seasons, along with all Latina writers in Season 3. Off-screen, Saracho co-founded the Untitled Latinx Project, whose mission is to increase Latine representation in TV, broadcast, cable and streaming platforms.
“I am humbled and deeply honored to be recognized by Imagen with this prestigious award, especially one named after such an inspiring and talented icon, Norman Lear,” said Saracho. “And I strive to continue in the example he has set and use my platform and voice to increase Latine representation across our industry.”
The 36th annual Imagen Awards will be presented exclusively on PBSSoCal.org and KCET.org at 5 p.m. PT on Oct. 10. Go here for the full list of nominees.
SIGNED, SEALED, DELIVERED: This Week’s Promo Mailers
The Television Critics Association press tour continues sporadically for several more weeks, and last Thursday it was ABC/Disney TV’s turn. They sent over a cooler full of goodies — including Hank’s bagels — to promote new shows including “Doogie Kamealoha, M.D.” (premieres Sept. 8 on Disney Plus); ABC’s ““The Wonder Years” remake; season 2 of “Big Sky”; cycle 30 of “Dancing with the Stars”; new drama “Queens”; and more.
CBS’ drama “Evil,” from Robert and Michelle King, moved to Paramount Plus for Season 2, and new episodes come out every Sunday.
A must for Disney nerds, “Behind the Attraction,” executive produced by Dwayne Johnson, Dany Garcia and Brian Volk-Weiss, will start streaming on Wednesday, August 25. Episodes will center on the following attractions: “The Castles,” “Disneyland Hotel,” “It’s a Small World,” “Trains, Trams, and Monorails,” and “Hall of Presidents.” To celebate, some Disney Parks goodies.
Blumhouse celebrated the launch of its new website with a cookie and a really nice pair of Havaianas slippers.
Aiming to re-crete the look and feel of a 1950s/1960s chess magazine, like the one that Beth Harmon reads in “The Queen’s Gambit,” Netflix pulled off a well-done facsimile of the design of that time. Even the paper stock used in the faux “Chess Review” magazine feels a lot like what was used with magazines at the time.
‘I May Destroy You,’ ‘Pose,’ ‘It’s a Sin,’ ‘Hacks’ Among Dorian Awards Winners
“Hacks,” “I May Destroy You,” “Pose,” “It’s a Sin,” “Framing Britney Spears,” “Ziwe,” “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” “Big Mouth” and “Love, Victor” were among the big winners on Sunday at the Dorian Awards, sponsored by GALECA: The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics.
The awards, voted on by GALECA’s 320 members in the U.S. and beyond, focused on TV this time, as the film awards are held in spring.
FX’s “Pose” was named best TV drama, while best LGBTQ TV show went to the HBO Max miniseries “It’s a Sin,” and comedy went to “Hacks,” while TV movie/miniseries went to “I May Destroy You.”
Here are the winners:
BEST TV DRAMA: “Pose” (FX)
BEST TV COMEDY: “Hacks” (HBO Max)
BEST LGBTQ SHOW: “”It’s A Sin” (HBO Max)
BEST TV MOVIE OR MINISERIES: “I May Destroy You” (HBO)
BEST UNSUNG SHOW: “Love, Victor” (Hulu)
BEST TV PERFORMANCE (TIE): Michaela Coel, “I May Destroy You” (HBO) Jean Smart, “Hacks” (HBO Max)
BEST SUPPORTING TV PERFORMANCE: Kathryn Hahn, “WandaVision” (Disney Plus)
BEST TV MUSICAL PERFORMANCE: Kathryn Hahn and singers, “Agatha All Along,” WandaVision (Disney Plus)
BEST TV DOCUMENTARY OR DOCUMENTARY SERIES: “The New York Times Presents: Framing Britney Spears” (FX)
BEST CURRENT AFFAIRS SHOW: “Ziwe” (Showtime)
BEST ANIMATED SHOW: “Big Mouth” (Netflix)
BEST REALITY SHOW: “RuPaul’s Drag Race” (VH1)
MOST VISUALLY STRIKING SHOW: “WandaVision” (Disney Plus)
CAMPIEST TV SHOW: Eurovision Song Contest (Peacock)
WILDE WIT AWARD (To a performer, writer or commentator whose observations both challenge and amuse): TIE, Michaela Coel and Bowen Yang
GALECA LGBTQIA+ TRAILBLAZER AWARD (For creating art that inspires empathy, truth and equity): Michaela Jaé Rodriguez
“There’s a generation behind me that needs to know what transness looks like,” Rodriguez said. “I’m going to keep trying my best and instill hope.”
Eleventh Hour Rethink? What That Might Mean For ‘Ted Lasso’ or ‘The Crown’
In Sunday’s edition of his must-read new newsletter “What I’m Hearing,” Matt Belloni wrote:
Fifteen years ago, Eddie Murphy’s Oscar campaign for Dreamgirls was famously derailed in part by the release of his decidedly un-Oscary comedy Norbit. Now there’s a growing backlash against the silly and meandering second season of Lasso, which Apple—taking a page from the old Mad Men playbook—chose to release smack-dab in the middle of Emmy voting for the excellent first season, which garnered 20 nominations.
Lasso is still the front-runner, according to the prognosticators, which would give Apple its first series Emmy just two years after launching original programming. (Netflix, which has aired originals since 2013, still hasn’t won the top drama or comedy series award.) But after I tweeted something a few weeks ago about this season’s drop in quality, a producer (and Emmy voter) privately messaged me to say he was a huge Lasso fan but this season was nudging him toward not voting for it. Could Hacks or The Kominsky Method capitalize?
Critics who have seen upcoming episodes say Lasso gets better, and like Ted, I’m an optimist. But unfortunately for Apple, Emmy voting ends tomorrow.
It’s a good question, and I’m sure everyone else in the comedy category has been waiting to see if a “Ted Lasso” backlash becomes a real thing and starts to disrupt the comedy race. And yes, there’s a bit of a backlash, there always is. The “Ted Lasso” hype has been so thick that of course folks in our cynical industry will get, well, a little cynical about the show. But I haven’t seen that become a major thing. It depends, first off, who you follow on social media. (I’ve seen just as much applause for recent episodes, such as Christmas and rom-com-themed ones, as I’ve seen any hate.) And for viewers wondering where Season 2 was heading, the dramatic turn at the end of this most recent episode should make it clear, the story is going somewhere. Overall, I think the fact that Season 2 of “Ted Lasso” is going on right as TV Academy voters are deciding whether to give the Emmy to Season 1 of “Ted Lasso” is still hugely beneficial. “Ted Lasso” is top of mind, and cynical folks aside, I think fans are still celebrating the joys of the show. Most voters aren’t paying attention to nasty comments on social media. But they are remembering how good Season 1 of “Ted Lasso” made them feel during the height of the pandemic. There’s no such thing as a lock, but another show swooping in to take the comedy crown would be the upset of the decade.
Meanwhile, the other last-minute impact I’ve been curious about is the odd coincidence that there has been so much made recently about Kristen Stewart-as-Princess Diana in the upcoming “Spencer” and Jennifer Hudson-as-Aretha Franklin in the just released “Respect”… right as Emmy voting takes place with nominees Emma Corrin-as-Princess Diana in Netflix’s “The Crown” and Cynthia Erivo-as-Aretha Franklin in Nat Geo’s “Aretha: Genius.” How much does that impact voting, if anything?
WATCH MY SHOW: ‘Oslo’ Writer J.T. Rogers and Director Bartlett Sher Fill Out Our Survey
Adapted from the Tony Award-winning play of the same name, HBO’s Emmy-nominated TV movie “Oslo” is based on a true story of negotiations between a group of Israelis, Palestinians and one Norwegian couple that led to the 1993 Oslo Peace Accords.
“Oslo” stars Ruth Wilson, Andrew Scott, Salim Daw, Waleed Zuaiter, Jeff Wilbusch, Igal Naor, Dov Glickman, Rotem Keinan, Itzik Cohen, Tobias Zilliacus and Sasson Gabay.
The film is written and executive produced by J.T. Rogers, who also wrote the stage play; and Bartlett Sher is the director and EP. Sher and Rogers filled out our “Watch My Show!” survey to share why you should check out “Oslo.”
1. Sum up your film’s pitch in one sentence. The little-known story of the secret backchannel talks and quiet heroics that created the first and only peace deal between Israel and Palestine.
2. What’s an alternate title for your film? “The Secret Channel.”
3. What do we need to know before tuning in? Nothing at all.
4. Give us an equation for your film. (Blank plus blank minus blank times blank, etc.) Courage + Determination + Waffles & Whiskey = Opportunity
5. What’s the best thing someone said about your film? “Dialogue always wins over a gun.”
6. If you could work on any other film or series in TV, what would it be? “Tokyo Vice”
7. Finish this sentence: “If you like _______, you’ll love our film.” Intellectual thrillers
Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. Donates $500K to Haitian, Afghanistan Relief & Rescue Missions
We give the Hollywood Foreign Press Association a lot of grief, so it’s only fair to also spotlight its recent announcement that the HFPA’s charitable arm has donated funds to help relief efforts in both Haiti and Afghanistan.
The HFPA announced last week that it had sent sent $125,000 each to Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and Direct Relief to help in their emergency response efforts in Haiti, following the devastating earthquake that killed more than 2,200 people and injured more than 12,000.
Additionally, the HFPA made donations to two of its grantees on the front lines during these crises: The International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) received $50,000 to support their emergency flight response to rescue Afghan journalists at imminent risk. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), which is urgently registering and vetting the cases of nearly 400 journalists who are attempting to reach safety, received $200,000 from the Association.
“The HFPA has a long history of meeting humanitarian needs during times of crisis. As our members responded to COVID relief last year, they have acted in response to these twin issues of great magnitude they could not ignore — and are happy to help in any way to provide relief to the Haitian people and rescue journalists at risk,” said HFPA president Ali Sar. “We encourage the Hollywood community to follow us in supporting these and other charities and non-governmental organizations in response to these crises.”
‘The Daily Show with Trevor Noah’ Offers Legal Services to Jan. 6 Capitol Rioters
Comedy Central and “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah” are having some fun with ads placed in The New York Times and Los Angeles Times, offering, heh heh, legal services for those who participated in the “Capitol Insurrection / Riots / Gathering / Government Overthrow.”
Trevor Noah & Associates & Sons’ latest full-page ad features a very real phone number 1-85-OOPS-JAN6 (1-856-677-5266) — it’s worth checking out. Above, the ad that appeared recently in the newspapers.
Clayton Davis’ Emmy Predictions: Drama Series
Variety’sClayton Davis dissects the drama series race:
This looks to be the year that the royal family period piece “The Crown,” which tied “The Mandalorian” for most noms this year with 24, finally walks away with the top prize. (It will also mark the first time the streamer wins a top series category.) Hot off the winter awards circuit with wins for individual performers, the ensemble and the series, this is the show to beat.
Netflix has chosen “Balmoral Test,” “Fairytale,” “Favourites,” “Terra Nullius,” “The Hereditary Principle” and “War” for its submission in this category.
The next chapter in “Star Wars” universe saga landed 24 nominations to co-lead the pack this year. This proves that genre series, which aren’t always embraced by the Television Academy, has real legs. After winning seven Emmys last year (all in Creative Arts categories), “The Mandalorian” stands to increase its number now, though taking this trophy is still a longer shot.
Wisely, the streaming service has put up the episodes “The Marshal,” “The Heiress,” “The Jedi,” “The Tragedy,” “The Believer” and “The Rescue” to secure its final Emmy votes.
“The Boys‘” nom is a shining example of what can be achieved with the right awards campaign strategy. After the first season mustered a single nom, the second received five. Its reviews were also considerably more robust, with additional viewrs discovering the show during the pandemic. But of the genre shows, it still may not be the noisiest, nor draw enough final votes to win.
The six episodes Amazon Prime Video submitted include the Season 2 premiere episode “The Big Ride,” along with “Over the Hill with the Swords of a Thousand Men,” “We Gotta Go Now,” “The Bloody Doors Off,” “Butcher, Baker, Candlestick Maker” and the finale, “What I Know.”
Misha Green’s genre-blending adaptation “Lovecraft Country” received 18 noms, even though it has been canceled by HBO. That unfortunate news kept the show top of mind, as did the fact that it is the first drama (along with “Pose”) to have two Black leads nominated at the same time. The show has consistently made headlines during campaign season, but that may not be enough.
HBO has opted to submit the episodes “Sundown,” “Holy Ghost,” “Meet Me in Daegu,” “I Am.,” ”Jig-a-Bobo” and “Rewind 1921.”
“The Handmaid’s Tale,” the only previous winner in the race this year, pulled in an impressive 21 noms. Its story and performances felt refreshed in the fourth season, and that kept people talking as new episodes dropped weekly leading right up to the end of the eligibility period. Whether that momentum can be maintained is not a sure thing; voters will likely want to award a show for the first time instead.
The Hulu series has submitted the following episodes for the final round of voting: “The Crossing,” “Vows,” “Home,” “Testimony,” “Progress” and “The Wilderness.”
With the help of star Regé-Jean Page, freshman “Bridgerton” was a cultural phenomenon during the pandemic. Another example of a series that scored with critics and general TV binge-watchers alike, that organic buzz means something. But when it comes to Television Academy votes, that won’t be enough.
The six episodes submitted for the Phase 2 Emmy voting period are “Diamond of the First Water,” “Shock and Delight,” “Art of the Swoon,” “An Affair of Honor,” “The Duke and I” and “Swish.”
This nod for “This Is Us” is the fifth consecutive for the NBC family drama. Landing six noms (one more than in 2020), there is a push to get in as many accolades as possible before it’s too late as next year’s sixth and final season will be its last. But after so many years of sitting on the sidelines, it doesn’t seem likely to be called to bat now.
For its penultimate season, NBC has put forward the episodes “Forty: Part 1,” “Forty: Part 2,” “Birth Mother,” “In the Room,” “Brotherly Love” and “The Adirondacks.”
Ballroom culture period piece “Pose” returns to this ballot for its final season with an impressive nine noms overall (10 if you include its short-form spinoff). One also made history: Mj Rodriguez became the first transgender performer on a major acting ballot. The opportunity to set records and celebrate such an emotional run should see “Pose” scoring extra votes this time around.
For its final season, FX has submitted the episodes “On the Run,” “The Trunk,” “Take Me to Church,” “Something Borrowed, Something Blue,” “Something Old, Something New” and “Series Finale” for Emmy final voting.
Here’s his current predictions:
2021 EMMYS: DRAMA SERIES
1 “The Crown” (Netflix) 2 “The Mandalorian” (Disney Plus) 3 “Lovecraft Country” (HBO) 4 “The Handmaid’s Tale” (Hulu) 5 “The Boys” (Amazon Prime Video) 6 “Pose” (FX) 7 “Bridgerton” (Netflix) 8 “This Is Us” (NBC)
To see all of Clayton’s latest predictions, of all the categories, in one place, visit THE EMMYS COLLECTIVE. Visit each individual category, according to the awards show from THE EMMYS HUB.
Monday, Aug. 30, 7:30 p.m.: Celebrate Under the Stars: Music, Sound Mixing and Sound Editing. The Television Academy invites members of the Music, Sound, and Sound Editors Peer Groups and a guest to toast this year’s Emmy Season at an exclusive reception honoring the nominees for Outstanding Music, Sound Mixing and Sound Editing. (Television Academy Plaza, North Hollywood.)
Tuesday, Aug. 31: My birthday. (Wait, how did that get in here?!)
Tuesday, Aug. 31, 7:30 p.m.: Celebrate Under the Stars: Cinematography, Lighting, Camera & Technical Arts, Picture Editing and Special Visual Effects. The Television Academy invites members of the Cinematographers; Lighting, Camera & Technical Arts; Special Visual Effects; and Picture Editors Peer Groups and a guest to toast this year’s Emmy Season at an exclusive reception honoring the nominees for Outstanding Cinematography, Lighting, Camera & Technical Arts, Picture Editing and Special Visual Effects. (Television Academy Plaza, North Hollywood.)
Wednesday, Sept. 1, 7:30 p.m.:Celebrate Under the Stars: Animation. The Television Academy invites members of the Animation, Children’s Programming, and Daytime Programming Peer Groups and a guest to toast this year’s Emmy Season at an exclusive reception honoring the nominees for Outstanding Animation. (Television Academy Plaza, North Hollywood.)
Thursday, Sept. 2, 7:30 p.m.: Performers Peer Group Mixer. The Television Academy invites Performers Peer Group members and a guest to an exclusive cocktail reception to toast this year’s Emmy Season at the Performers Peer Group Mixer. (Television Academy Plaza, North Hollywood.)
Friday, Sept. 3, 5 p.m.:14th Television Academy Honors. Celebrate this year’s Television Academy Honors recipients, all of whom harnessed the power of television to influence hearts and minds and drive positive social change. The TV Academy has produced a one-hour special in which you’ll meet the producers and the stars, find out what inspired them, and what makes these programs so powerful. Go here to watch.
Send Me Your Questions, Comments and More!
Please send your burning Emmy questions and suggestions to [email protected], and your hot tips as well! Thanks for reading.