Emmy season began back in spring, as most TV seasons were ending. That’s right when this year’s “For Your Consideration” campaigns began in earnest. Billboards were erected, screeners were mailed, countless panels were held and catered, and plenty of digital ink was spilled dissecting this year’s contenders. As usual, it was a big bucks circus, with Netflix and Amazon both even taking over spaces to create semi-permanent displays in honor of their shows.
It all finally leads up to this Sunday, when Stephen Colbert hosts the 69th Primetime Emmy Awards, live nationwide from the Microsoft Theater in downtown Los Angeles. Still not sure what’s going on with this year’s awards, or how we got to this point? Here are a few things to keep in mind while watching.
Don’t be surprised that “Game of Thrones” and “Twin Peaks” aren’t nominated.
Programs eligible for the 2017 Emmys must have aired (or posted) between June 1, 2016, and May 31, 2017. Season 6 of “Game of Thrones” ended on June 26, 2016 — but under the Television Academy’s “hanging episodes” rule, if a show straddles between eligibility years, it should be submitted in the period where the majority of episodes aired. For Season 6, that meant the 2016 Emmys. But Season 7 premiered on July 16, 2017, which means those episodes won’t be honored until the 2018 Emmys. As for “Twin Peaks: The Return,” the Showtime series debuted on May 21, but the majority of its 18 hours ran after this year’s eligibility period — so it, too, will compete in 2018.
Unless a shocker happens, Julia Louis-Dreyfus will make Emmy history on Sunday night.
Nominated once again in the Outstanding Comedy Actress category for playing Selina Meyer on HBO’s “Veep,” Louis-Dreyfus is expected to win her sixth consecutive Emmy. In doing so, she would beat the record for most Emmys won by a performer in the same role for the same series.
Right now, Louis-Dreyfus is in a three-way tie with Candice Bergen (“Murphy Brown”) and Don Knotts (“Andy Griffith Show”). Also, Louis-Dreyfus and Allison Janney — also nominated in the category, for “Mom” — are in line this year to tie Cloris Leachman for the most Emmys ever won by a female performer. Leachman has eight; Louis-Dreyfus and Janney have seven – tied with Mary Tyler Moore.
If these shows don’t win, prepare for headlines touting “Emmy upsets.”
HBO’s “Veep” is the easy frontrunner for Outstanding Comedy Series, according to most prognosticators — including the experts at GoldDerby.com. That site also has Netflix’s “Stranger Things” as the lead Outstanding Drama pick, but that category is a little more uncertain, as Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” (IndieWire TV critic Ben Travers’ prediction) and NBC’s “This Is Us” are still considered real contenders. “Handmaid’s Tale” or “Stranger Things” would both make history as the first streaming drama to win the category.
In outstanding limited series, HBO’s “Big Little Lies” is the favorite, while Netflix’s “Black Mirror: San Junipero” is out in front for Outstanding Television Movie. In unscripted categories, VH1’s “RuPaul’s Drag Race” appears to be leading the pack among reality-competition programs, while HBO’s “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” is expected to repeat as Outstanding Variety Talk Series.
Here’s how NBC is serving as broadcast TV’s savior at the Emmys.
“This Is Us” is considered the next great broadcast hope at the Emmys, as it could become the first broadcast series to win the Outstanding Drama Series Emmy since “24” in 2006. It’s already the first broadcast drama (excepting PBS) to be nominated in the category since 2011.
Similarly, a broadcast program hasn’t won a Outstanding Variety Series Emmy since 2002, when CBS’ “Late Show with David Letterman” won the prize. The race was split in 2015 into separate variety talk and variety sketch categories, but cable continues to win. Until perhaps this year, as NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” is the frontrunner in the variety sketch competition.
Why does the Primetime Emmy telecast feel so long?
No awards telecast hands out as many trophies in one night as the Emmys: A whopping 27. The Oscars hand out 24 during its telecast, while the Grammys may have the most awards, but give out the majority of those off-air. Gold Derby reports that it may have uncovered the order of the show; but here’s the list of what will be handed out on this year’s show:
• COMEDY SERIES
• DRAMA SERIES
• LIMITED SERIES
• TELEVISION MOVIE
• VARIETY SKETCH SERIES
• VARIETY TALK SERIES
• REALITY-COMPETITION PROGRAM
• LEAD ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES
• LEAD ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES
• LEAD ACTRESS IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE
• LEAD ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES
• LEAD ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES
• LEAD ACTOR IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE
• SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES
• SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES
• SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE
• SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES
• SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES
• SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE
• WRITING FOR A COMEDY SERIES
• WRITING FOR A DRAMA SERIES
• WRITING FOR A LIMITED SERIES, MOVIE OR DRAMATIC SPECIAL
• WRITING FOR A VARIETY SERIES
• DIRECTING FOR A COMEDY SERIES
• DIRECTING FOR A DRAMA SERIES
• DIRECTING FOR A LIMITED SERIES, MOVIE OR DRAMATIC SPECIAL
• DIRECTING FOR A VARIETY SERIES
Here’s where winners, stars and other TV folk will be celebrating after the Emmys.
Governors Ball (Immediately after the telecast) Los Angeles Convention Center
Fox/FX/20th Century Fox TV/Nat Geo (8 p.m.) Vibiana
HBO (8 p.m.) The Plaza at the Pacific Design Center
Hulu (8 p.m.) Otium
AMC/BBC America/IFC (8:30 p.m.) BOA
Netflix (9 p.m.) NeueHouse Hollywood
Why isn’t there an Emmy award for Outstanding New Series?
Good question — and one we discussed here.
With so many categories, the list of who is presenting at this year’s Emmy awards is hefty.
Riz Ahmed (“The Night Of”; “Girls”) – Nominee, Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie and Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series
Anthony Anderson (“black-ish”) – Nominee, Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series; Executive Producer, Outstanding Comedy Series
Iain Armitage (“Young Sheldon”; “Big Little Lies”)
Alec Baldwin (“Saturday Night Live”; “Match Game”) – Nominee, Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series and Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program
Jason Bateman (“Ozark”)
Jessica Biel (“The Sinner”)
Alexis Bledel (“The Handmaid’s Tale”) – Winner, Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series
Rachel Bloom (“Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”) – Nominee, Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics
Matt Bomer (“The Last Tycoon”)
Carol Burnett (“The Carol Burnett Show”)
Dave Chappelle (“Saturday Night Live”) – Winner, Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series
Priyanka Chopra (“Quantico”)
James Corden (“The Late Late Show with James Corden”) – Nominee, Outstanding Variety Talk Series; Winner, Outstanding Variety Special, Outstanding Special Class Program
Viola Davis (“How to Get Away with Murder”) – Nominee, Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series
Laura Dern (“Big Little Lies”) – Nominee, Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie
Edie Falco (“Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders”)
Anna Faris (“Mom”)
Mark Feuerstein (“9JKL”)
Jane Fonda (“Grace and Frankie”) – Nominee, Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
Jermaine Fowler (“Superior Donuts”)
Chris Hardwick (“Talking Dead”; “The Wall”)
Allison Janney (“Mom”) – Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
Rashida Jones (“Angie Tribeca”)
Nicole Kidman (“Big Little Lies”) – Nominee, Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie; Executive Producer, Outstanding Limited Series
Zoe Kravitz (“Big Little Lies”)
Norman Lear (“One Day at a Time”)
LL Cool J (“NCIS: Los Angeles”; “Lip Sync Battle”) — Nominee, Outstanding Structured Reality Program
Sonequa Martin-Green (“Star Trek: Discovery”; “The Walking Dead”)
Tatiana Maslany (“Orphan Black”)
Melissa McCarthy (“Saturday Night Live”) – Winner, Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series
Seth MacFarlane (“The Orville”; “Family Guy”) – Winner, Outstanding Character Voice-Over Performance
Gerald McRaney (“This Is Us”) – Winner, Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series
Debra Messing (“Will & Grace”)
Seth Meyers (“Late Night with Seth Meyers”) – Nominee, Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series
Lea Michele (“The Mayor”)
Shemar Moore (“S.W.A.T.”)
Jeffrey Dean Morgan (“The Walking Dead”)
Kumail Nanjiani (“Silicon Valley”)
Kaitlin Olson (“The Mick”; “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”)
Jim Parsons (“The Big Bang Theory”)
Dolly Parton (“Dolly Parton’s Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love”) – Nominee, Outstanding Television Movie
Sarah Paulson (“American Horror Story”)
Jeremy Piven (“Wisdom of the Crowd”)
Issa Rae (“Insecure”)
Craig Robinson (“Ghosted”)
Gina Rodriguez (“Jane the Virgin”)
Anika Noni Rose (“The Quad”)
Tracee Ellis Ross (“black-ish”) – Nominee, Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
Emmy Rossum (“Shameless”)
Adam Scott (“Ghosted”; “Big Little Lies”)
Lily Tomlin (“Grace and Frankie”) – Nominee, Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
Cicely Tyson (“How to Get Away with Murder”) – Nominee, Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series
Gabrielle Union (“Being Mary Jane”)
Oprah Winfrey (“The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks”) – Nominee, Outstanding Made for Television Movie
Reese Witherspoon (“Big Little Lies”) – Nominee, Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie; Executive Producer Outstanding Limited Series
BD Wong (“Mr. Robot”) – Nominee, Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series
Shailene Woodley (“Big Little Lies”) – Nominee, Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie
Who’s putting together this year’s show?
This represents that first time Emmy Award winner Stephen Colbert has hosted the Primetime Emmy Awards, and he’s bringing along his “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” team — including executive producer Chris Licht, who is a producer on the awards show — to help out. Handling the logistics is White Cherry founders Glenn Weiss (executive producer/director) and Ricky Kirshner (executive producer), and joining them as producers are industry vets Steve Bass, Dave Boone, Bob Dickinson, Sarah Levine Hall, Danette Herman, Rickey Minor and Rob Paine.
CBS has worked closely with Weiss and Kirshner and their White Cherry Entertainment production company on the Tonys and Kennedy Center Honors specials. Colbert hosted the most recent Kennedy Center Honors, which will bring a familiarity to the Emmy telecast between the parties. White Cherry Entertainment’s other credits include “NFL Opening Kickoff” specials and Super Bowl halftime shows, the Democratic National Convention, The Daytime Emmy Awards, Presidential inaugural galas, the Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular, and others. Individually, Kirshner and Weiss have also worked on the Oscars, “Peter Pan Live!” and “Live from Lincoln Center.”
Jimmy Kimmel hosted last year’s Emmys, which aired on ABC; Neil Patrick Harris hosted the last CBS Emmys, in 2013.
What happens if NFL football runs long on CBS?
CBS doesn’t expect football to bump the Emmy telecast back; the show doesn’t air until 8 p.m. ET/ 5 p.m. PT. CBS has the ability to collapse “60 Minutes,” which airs before the Emmys, in case any of Sunday’s games do go long. CBS’s late games this Sunday are either Miami at L.A. Chargers or N.Y. Jets at Oakland.
Does this mean the TV biz can relax, as attention now turns to Oscar season?
Are you kidding? Oscar season also includes the Golden Globes, the Screen Actors Guild Awards, the Critics Choice Awards, the Writers Guild Awards, and many more — most of which include TV categories. TV campaign season is now year-round. (And yes, that loud “sigh” you hear is from a thousand publicists… and the journalists assigned to cover.) Happy Emmys!