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‘Snowpiercer’ Moves Up Its Release Date — and Shifts Into Emmy Contention

"Snowpiercer" was originally set to premiere too late for Emmy eligibility, but the TV Academy's new window laid the track for TNT's drama to compete now.

Snowpiercer TNT Series Daveed Diggs and Jennifer Connelly

Daveed Diggs and Jennifer Connelly in “Snowpiercer”


Snowpiercer” is on the move again. After switching from TNT to TBS and back again, the post-apocalyptic drama’s release date has now shifted forward two weeks. Instead of premiering May 31, the “Snowpiercer” series will hit TNT on May 17.

“‘Snowpiercer’ is one of the most anticipated original series of 2020 and in this climate, viewers are craving thrilling, engaging, edge-of-your-seat content that speaks to them on a deeper level,” Brett Weitz, general manager for TNT, TBS, and truTV, said in a statement. “It is extremely important that we continue with our promise to meet audiences where they are, and to that effect, we are moving up ‘Snowpiercer’s’ premiere so that fans can enjoy this futuristic series even earlier.”

The move comes as networks make programming adjustments in the wake of worldwide shelter-in-place guidelines. While other release dates have been pushed back due to production delays (including TNT’s final season of “Claws”) and perennial events are outright canceled (like the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, a Turner broadcast), TNT and its parent company WarnerMedia are looking to fill a void with “Snowpiercer” — which could benefit from a massive, at-home audience looking for fresh entertainment. Over the past month, multiple studies and ratings reports have shown an increased demand for content, and by making its new drama series available two weeks sooner, TNT could see a higher-than-expected sample size.

Perhaps just as pertinent: The move also makes “Snowpiercer” eligible for this year’s Primetime Emmy Awards. Its original May 31 premiere date would have kept the drama ineligible this year, as Emmy rules stipulate all series must air six or more episodes before the eligibility cutoff (which has traditionally been May 31). But last week, the TV Academy made adjustments to its 2020 calendar, including this key alteration to the qualifying date:

To qualify for eligibility in the current eligibility year, the series must have premiered by the end of the eligibility year (May 31, 2020). If the series has one or more episodes that fall into the subsequent eligibility year, those episodes must be broadcast or posted on an accessible platform by June 30 to gain eligibility for the current eligibility year. A minimum of six eligible episodes is still required to qualify for series eligibility.

By moving its release date up to May 17, “Snowpiercer” will now air six episodes before the new deadline on June 30, making it eligible for the 2020 Emmy Awards. Representatives at TNT confirmed the series’ qualification to IndieWire.

“Snowpiercer” will join many competitive drama series races, going up against frontrunners like “Succession,” “The Crown,” and “Ozark.” But with “Game of Thrones” out of the running, 2020 marks a pivotal year for dramas, as returning nominees look to get into the winners’ circle, and new shows aim to stake their claim as Emmy contenders.

Adapted from Jacques Lob’s graphic novels and Bong Joon Ho’s 2013 film, “Snowpiercer” is set more than seven years after the world has become a frozen wasteland, and centers on the remnants of humanity who inhabit a perpetually moving train — with 1,001 cars — that circles the globe. The series, which stars Jennifer Connelly and Daveed Diggs, was renewed for Season 2 prior to Season 1 airing, and production on the second season is nearly completed.

“Snowpiercer” premieres Sunday, May 17 at 9 p.m. ET on TNT.

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