Reviews for the actual 70th Primetime Emmys telecast on Monday night aren’t great, but people are still talking about the weekend. Give the TV industry an extra day to celebrate the Emmys, and things get weird.
IndieWire hit the Emmy scene (which began, by our count, on Wednesday night with Variety and IndieWire’s annual Showrunners Dinner) to gauge the temperature of the business — and it seemed like every night brought another hot topic. Our takeaways:
Disney/Fox: All Will Be Revealed
This was the final Emmy season under The Way Things Were: With Fox, FX, and 20th Century Fox TV all partying on Monday night at the same soiree, under 21st Century Fox management. According to several insiders, Disney will formally announce its new merged structure in the coming weeks, and it’s exactly what has been previously reported: Fox Networks Group chairman/CEO and 21st Century Fox president Peter Rice in a key TV position under Disney’s Bob Iger, and Fox Television Group chairman Dana Walden overseeing TV production (including an eventually merged 20th Century Fox TV and ABC Studios), and networks including ABC and Freeform as well. Fox’s other TV Group chairman, Gary Newman, is expected to remain at the so-called “New Fox” to help as it transitions to become a stand-alone network under its slimmed-down corporate parent.
Les Moonves Reverberations, and Who Might Get the Gig
Many industry execs believed former CBS CEO Leslie Moonves might survive after Ronan Farrow published his first story alleging repeated instances of Moonves’ sexual misconduct. But then came Farrow’s second story — not to mention a New York Times article reporting that Moonves misled the CBS board of directors about the nature of those allegations. Reporter James Stewart’s account suggested that it was the exec’s cover-up, more than the (alleged) crimes, that ended the board’s support.
Meanwhile, after Julie Chen defiantly signed off on Thursday’s “Big Brother” by using the name “Julie Chen Moonves” for the first time, it became a bit of a meme in party circles — with some attendees jokingly adding “Moonves” to their last name, or exiting conversations with an “I’m Julie Chen Moonves.”
As for who might be in line for the CBS CEO job, there’s no clear frontrunner yet. But several industry executives say don’t write off interim CEO Joe Ianniello just yet. While he’s closely tied to Moonves, he’s believed to have a shot at the job, and so far has been saying and doing all the right things — including a Monday memo to staffers in which he wrote that “there is no reason to wait on reassessing our culture. It’s incumbent on all of us right now to be a part of this opportunity we have in front of us.”
Tom Arnold vs. Mark Burnett: An All-Time Emmy Party Moment
Were you there? Did you see it? A day after the 2018 Evening Before the Primetime Emmy Awards celebration — an A-list affair benefiting the Motion Picture & Television Fund — many industry players were kicking themselves for not being at the party at the right time or place to witness an altercation between megaproducer Mark Burnett and “The Hunt for the Trump Tapes” host Tom Arnold. Or, they shared second-hand stories from others who claimed to see the scuffle first-hand. But it added an extra-surreal layer to Emmy weekend, particularly after Arnold filed a police report, accusing Burnett of attacking him at the Sunday-night party.
Arnold has been vocal in accusing Burnett of hiding outtakes from “The Apprentice” that include Donald Trump using racist and sexist language. After the clash, Burnett’s wife wrote on Twitter that she received a bruise “when Tom Arnold tried to ambush my husband Mark and me at a charity event. Is your TV show worth it, Tom? Please stop.”
Arnold responded: “Bulls—. You lie, your crazy husband attacked me.” “How I Met Your Mother” star Alyson Hannigan was among the attendees who said they saw the tussle but couldn’t be sure what really went down: “Thought it was a joke until security jumped in!” she wrote, also on Twitter.
The Netflix/HBO Battle That Ended in a Draw
Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos was all smiles at Netflix’s Emmy after-party Monday night, as the streamer hit another awards milestone by tying HBO with 23 wins each. Before the night began, HBO had a narrow single-win lead over Netflix from the Creative Arts Emmys. Oddsmakers and Emmy pundits expected a good night for FX’s “Atlanta” and Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale,” but ultimately neither show won a major award this year — opening the door for plenty of unpredictable picks when the envelopes were read.
Early on, two awards went to HBO’s “Barry.” But then Amazon jumped in and dominated comedy categories with “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” And when Netflix won three in a row — two for “Godless,” and one for “Black Mirror” — the race was on.
As “The Americans,” “Game of Thrones,” “Westworld,” and “The Crown” all won drama awards, the competition for outstanding drama series suddenly seemed it was anyone’s to win. FX execs, disappointed by the “Atlanta” shutout, still wound up having plenty of reason to celebrate, as “The Americans” and “Versace” won several key awards.
In the end, it looked like Netflix might wind up the clear overall victor — but then “Game of Thrones,” which had only won one Emmy all night (for Peter Dinklage), wound up with the top drama prize, tying Netflix and HBO for 2018 Emmy supremacy. (Amazon actually won the most on Monday night, with five.)
“We are honored to share this night with our friends at HBO, who have paved the way for years by setting the highest possible standard,” said Cindy Holland, Netflix’s vice president for original series.