Awards HQ June 7: Bo Burnham Enters the Emmy Race; Aretha’s Pink Cadillac; How Elton John Wound Up at the ‘Pose’ FYC
Greetings from Variety Awards Headquarters! Today is June 7, 2021, which means it’s 10 days until nomination-round voting starts on June 17; 18 days until the Daytime Emmys telecast on June 25; 21 days until nomination-round voting ends on June 28; 36 days until nominations are announced on July 13; 73 days until final-round voting starts on Aug. 19; and 104 days until the Primetime Emmys telecast on Sept. 19.
The first weekend of June was truly an FYC frenzy (Dare I call it a “FrenzYC”? Sorry, still workshopping that one.) From Amazon Prime Video’s “The Boys” drive-thru to Elton John — yes, Elton Freaking John! — at FX and 20th Television’s “Pose” FYC event, networks, studios and streamers are indeed finding ways to up their game during this second year of remote and virtual campaigning.
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Well, sorta remote. Unofficial, non-sanctioned events are now starting to dip their toes in the in-person waters. While TV Academy rules so far have limited FYC events to either online or via drive-in events, there’s no rule against throwing other gatherings that don’t include RSVPs through the official Academy membership list.
I know of one because, yes, I have agreed to moderate it. I’ll be live, on stage, in person on Monday at the Ford Amphitheater (outdoor, natch) with the cast and producers of Apple TV Plus’ “Mythic Quest”: Rob McElhenney, Ashly Burch, David Hornsby, Megan Ganz, Charlotte Nicdao, Danny Pudi, Imani Hakim and F. Murray Abraham.
On Saturday morning, someone came to my house to swab my nose, a COVID test to make sure I’m clean and ready to host Monday’s panel. (News flash: The test came back negative!) Listen, F. Murray Abraham is a national treasure, and I’m not about to hurt that, so I was more than happy to do the test. (As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been vaxxed with the sweet one-dose J&J for months now, so all good.) Now, I have to admit, I’m excited to actually moderate a panel in the flesh with other people, and not just inside Zoom boxes. It’s one of the reasons I quickly said yes — along with the fact that I’m a “Mythic Quest” fan.
So like I mentioned, a lot going on this week, including more cool FYC activations and promos. (Don’t forget to send me yours!) Let’s get going!
EXCLUSIVE: ‘Genius: Aretha’ Going Riding on the FYC of Love in a Pink Cadillac
City traffic movin’ way too slow/ Drop the pedal and go, go, go.
Of course, Aretha Franklin is still best known for her 1960s classics like “Respect.” But for us Gen X kids of the 1980s, we came of age to hits during her Arista recording years like “Who’s Zoomin’ Who” and, yes, “Freeway of Love.” The late Queen of Soul is now synonymous with pink Cadillacs thanks to that single, which has inspired Nat Geo’s latest FYC stunt for “Genius: Aretha.”
From June 10 to 14, vintage pink Cadillacs will drive around Los Angeles with “Genius: Aretha” branding, as well as at the “Genius: Aretha” TV Academy official drive-in event at the Rose Bowl on the evening of June 10; Pride Night at the Los Angeles Dodgers game at Dodger Stadium on June 11; and at various record stores for Record Store Day on June 12. The drivers will be passing out promo items around town as well. Here’s the appearance schedule:
June 10 – special deliveries during the day, at Rose Bowl for TV Academy FYC event that evening June 11 – Ventura Blvd., Studio City, Burbank, Americana at Brand in Glendale and Dodger Stadium (Pride Night) June 12 – Amoeba Records in Hollywood (in honor of Record Store Day), Alfred’s Coffee on Melrose Place, Hollywood Blvd, The Grove, the Melrose Pink Wall, LACMA June 13 – West LA, Santa Monica Pier, Abbot Kinney, PCH, Century City Mall
Netflix’s ‘Bo Burnham: Inside’ Becomes a Last-Minute Emmy Contender
I don’t know anyone who hasn’t been blown away by Bo Burnham‘s new Netflix special, “Bo Burnham: Inside,” which the comedian wrote, directed, filmed and performed in — all by himself — over the past year. This will be one of those works of art that will serve as a document of our pandemic times — and also, of the genius and creativity of Bo Burnham.
It shakes up an already crowded variety special (pre-recorded) race, which is already chock full of original specials shot during the pandemic, as well as plenty of stage plays and theatrical adaptations that kept the lights on during some really dark months over the past year.
Burnham is not doing any press — actually, Netflix doesn’t even have any mentions of the special on its media site, which tells you how unexpected this all was. As a matter of fact, when Netflix announced the special’s May 30 launch (one day before the end of Emmy eligibility for this season!), the streamer’s press release was one sentence long: “The special was shot by Burnham, alone, over the course of the past year.”
Part of the allure of “Bo Burnham: Inside” is the unexpected nature of it. The sparse, understated production of the the special extends to the marketing around it. Will we get an album? Who knows! So far only two of the show’s songs have been released on social media.
But tunes like “Healing the World With Comedy,” “Facetime With My Mom” and “Welcome to the Internet” are among the many that could find their way in original song contention. Below, click to watch “Welcome to the Internet.”
AWARDS CIRCUIT COLUMN: How HBO’s ‘We Are Who We Are’ Made Such a Deep, Personal Impression
In this Awards Circuit column, I get a little personal, as I share how the coming-of-age tale brought me back to my own teenage years (and my much more recent love of Blood Orange, as Dev Hynes did the show’s music) living on military bases. I talked to Luca Guadagnino about it:
The thing about military brats is that we’re chameleons. We’re from nowhere, and we’re from everywhere. Because I spent my teenage years in Hawaii, that’s usually where I say I’m from, since it truly formed who I am today. But I can also say I grew up in Oklahoma. And the Philippines. There’s a bit of Chicago in me from college. And really, having now been an Angeleno for a quarter century, L.A. is my adopted home. Ultimately, to borrow the title of Luca Guadagnino’s recent HBO series, I guess “We Are Who We Are.”
Guadagnino created the series as an exploration of teens and self-identity, particularly when it comes with the fluidity of gender. And young stars Jack Dylan Grazer and Jordan Kristine Seamón do a terrific job of portraying what it’s like to be figuring out exactly who they, indeed, are.
Guadagnino originally considered setting the series in a nondescript American suburb. But then he came upon the idea of something very specific: an overseas U.S. military base. I’m not sure Guadagnino realizes what a perfect choice that was. It’s tough enough figuring out who you are as a kid — but imagine being surrounded by other kids who, like you, have likely reinvented themselves multiple times as they moved from place to place. Being a military kid is such a specific experience, and that makes Guadagnino’s universal coming-of-age all the more interesting.
When I asked Guadagnino about it, he said he was drawn to the military world and “this concept of anonymity, in [the] way in which you have to belong to a larger group and follow some orders within. That somehow [put] me in a greater position to describe the singular individuality of these teenagers.”
There aren’t often many crossovers between the BAFTA TV Awards and the Emmys, and usually that comes down to an eligiblity issue — so many of the honored shows aren’t U.S. co-productions, and therefore must compete in the International Emmys race. But this year, among the big BAFTA winners was Michaela Coel‘s “I May Destroy You,” which is indeed also in the running for the limited series Emmy Award.
Again, whether the BAFTA Award makes an impact is questionable — but it definitely can’t hurt, and it’s a nice boost for the HBO show, which premiered on June 7, 2020 — yes a year ago today. Given the year we just had, as well as the avalanche of content being thrown our way these days, a year ago is a lifetime ago. So it is a nice reminder of how fantastic Coel and “I May Destroy You” are. Here are some BAFTA TV highlights from Variety’s Naman Ramachandran:
Michaela Coel’s “I May Destroy You” won two BAFTAs in a year where there was no single dominant winner at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts’ (BAFTA) Television Awards on Sunday.
The BBC/HBO show won best mini-series and leading actress for Coel, who dedicated the award to the production’s director of intimacy Ita O’Brien.
“Thank you for your existence in our industry, for making the space safe for creating physical, emotional, and professional boundaries so that we can make work about exploitation, loss of respect, about abuse of power, without being exploited or abused in the process,” Coel said.
Paul Mescal won leading actor for BBC/Hulu show “Normal People.”
In the coveted drama series category, Lennie James’ Sky Atlantic show “Save Me Too” won over fancied rivals “The Crown,” “Gangs of London” and “I Hate Suzie.”
At the BAFTA TV Craft Awards that were announced in May, “I May Destroy You” had won the key awards of director, fiction, editing, fiction and writer, drama. while Steve McQueen’s BBC/Amazon show “Small Axe” had the most wins with five BAFTAs, including for make up and hair design, costume design, production design, photography and lighting, fiction and for scripted casting. Netflix’s “The Crown” was shut out then and on Sunday.
The lone win for “Small Axe” on Sunday was Malachi Kirby for supporting actor. Rakie Ayola won supporting actress for BBC’s “Anthony.”
“Small Axe” is also competing in the limited series Emmy race this year, while “The Crown” is in drama. “Normal People” came in under last year’s Emmy eligibility period, and Mescal was nominated for limited series actor (which went to “I Know This Much Is True” star Mark Ruffalo). Read more here.
WATCH MY SHOW: ‘Good Trouble’s’ Joanna Johnson Fills Out Our Showrunner Seven
Per Freeform, “‘Good Trouble’ follows the residents of Downtown Los Angeles’ The Coterie as they juggle career, love, and friendship and learn that standing up for what you believe in requires making a little noise and getting into trouble.” The series stars Maia Mitchell, Cierra Ramirez, Tommy Martinez, Emma Hunton, Sherry Cola, Zuri Adele, Beau Mirchoff and Josh Pence. We asked showrunner and executive producer Joanna Johnson to fill out our “Watch My Show!” survey; here are her answers on behalf of “Good Trouble.”
Sum up your show’s pitch on one sentence. Two sisters move into a communal living space in DTLA with a dozen other 20-somethings and get off to rocky start in their careers and love lives as they navigate the concept of adulting.
What’s an alternate title for your show? “The Coterie”
What do we need to know before tuning in? “Good Trouble” is a spin-off of “The Fosters” that follows the two foster/adopted sisters to DTLA, after graduating college, as they get a rocky start to their careers in tech and law.
Give us an equation for your show. Two sisters x communal living with strangers = funny, sexy and dramatic chaos.
What’s the best thing someone said about your show? “While everyone is losing precious hours of their life worrying about ‘Bridgerton’s’ casting or ‘Euphoria’s’ return, ‘Good Trouble’ has quietly become the most interesting drama of the bunch.” — Mary McNamara, Los Angeles Times
If you could work on any other series in TV, what would it be? Current: “Better Call Saul.” Past: “Breaking Bad.”
Finish this sentence, ‘If you like [blank], you’ll love our show.’ “If you like shows that are provocative, sexy and entertaining, that will make you laugh and cry and think, you’ll love our show.”
Should There Be Room at the Emmys For Long-Running Broadcast TV Shows Like ‘NCIS’ and ‘Grey’s Anatomy’?
Oh boy, did people think I was a moron for daring to ask the question, is there a way — perhaps a category — that could recognize the broadcast network workhorses that remain TV staples and viewer favorites but are otherwise ignored by the Emmys?
By the way, I don’t dispute that I’m a moron. But my ridiculous ideas are what makes things fun, right? Anyway, this column came out of crunching the annual 100 most-watched TV shows of the season chart, and again marveling at how few of those shows are considered awards contenders. By no means do I think we need to bloat the Emmys, but it is worth a question — is there still room for broadcast at the ceremony? Read on:
The most-watched show of the just completed season, CBS’ “NCIS,” averaged 12.7 million viewers; five years ago, “NCIS” was also TV’s most-watched drama, at 20.5 million, and “The Big Bang Theory” was tops overall in entertainment, with 20.6 million.
Yes, it’s a reminder that the way audiences consume TV has greatly changed over the past five years. And yet, that focus on the decline misses something actually pretty impressive: Broadcast shows like “NCIS” (which just finished its 18th season), ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy” (17 seasons) and NBC’s “Law & Order: SVU” (21 seasons) continue to have massive staying power and tremendous fan bases. And because they boast such large episodic libraries, they’re all among the most-watched acquired shows on streaming.
In the world of the Emmy Awards, however, these shows seem to no longer exist. The last time “SVU” received an Emmy nomination was in 2011, when Mariska Hargitay was included in the drama lead actress race — an award she won for the show in 2006. “Grey’s Anatomy” last earned a nom in 2012, for drama guest actress Loretta Devine, who won that same category in 2011 (the show’s last Emmy). And “NCIS” has earned only three nominations in its entire history, most recently in 2013 for stunt coordination.
AWARDS CIRCUIT PODCAST: Elisabeth Moss on Why She Chose Now to Direct Several Pivotal ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Episodes
When Elisabeth Moss chose the third episode of “The Handmaid’s Tale” Season 4 to mark her directorial debut, she did so because she wanted the challenge of taking characters she knew so well to new places — literally and physically. But when she chose the season’s eighth episode, “Testimony,” as the next one to helm, it was because she was looking for another challenge.
“I felt like I had figured out who I was as a director on [Episode 3, “The Crossing”] and then it ended. And I wanted the opportunity to do more,” she tells Variety’s Danielle Turchiano on the latest episode of the “Awards Circuit” podcast. Listen below!
Also in this episode, Jenelle Riley chats with “Allen v. Farrow” filmmakers Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering about the unexpected focus on that series. But first, on the Variety Awards Circuit roundtable, we discuss the rise of genre programming at the Emmys.
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.
How Elton John Wound Up at Saturday Night’s ‘Pose’ FYC Drive-In Event
Back in the before times, when there were in-person Emmy events every night, sometimes you’d get a heavyweight to show up and either promote their own project, or support another one. Remember when Bruce Springsteen actually performed at his Netflix FYC event for “Springsteen on Broadway”? Everyone’s thirsty!
What they’ll be talking about this year is Elton John and David Furnish, showing up at Saturday night’s FX/20th Television FYC event for “Pose.” Sitting on stage in front of a sea of cars honking their horns and flashing their headlights in delight, John and Furnish sat down next to “Pose” co-creator Steven Canals, as well as stars Billy Porter and Mj Rodriguez, and answered questions from executive producer Ryan Murphy. Scott Huver covered it for Variety:
Murphy unspooled an anecdote from his childhood that he’d long wanted to share with John, recalling being a gay 7-year-old with a traditional, hetero-masculine father he’d never quite connected to – until one day while riding with his father in the car, John’s 1975 hit “Philadelphia Freedom” came on the radio.
“I was like, ‘You know what, I’m just going to be me,’ and I performed the shit out of ‘Philadelphia Freedom’ in the back seat of that car, and my father saw me for the first time, thanks to Elton John,” Murphy recalled. ‘We pulled into my driveway and he looked at me and he goes, ‘You have a good voice,’ and it was the first time he had ever said anything kind to me. So you’re so a part of my life, Elton, in a way that you’ll never know.”
Apparently John and Furnish were scheduled to end their Los Angeles vacation before Saturday’s event, but extended it in order to attend the FYC event for “Pose.” They weren’t paid to be there, but rather, simply offered to show up because they are fans.
John and Furnish had reached out to Murphy and offered to support the show in any way they could after falling in love with “Pose,” which they lauded for its depiction of the fight for LGBTQ rights in the 1980s, and even more critical, the push for AIDS/HIV awareness and research back then. Writes Huver:
“I lived the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s,” said John, who revealed how profoundly taken he’s been by the authenticity of the show’s storylines and characters. “This series touched me more than any other series because of the journey that these people are on… They’re real people, and they’re trans people who’ve made their life possible, but by god, they had to fight for it — and they still have to fight for it. And they shouldn’t have to fight for it. They should never have to fight for it.”
The event ended with a stirring performance by Porter, and duet by Porter and Rodriguez. Especially impressive when you realize they were singing on a stage to a bunch of people in cars (all listening to their car radios) and not quite seeing any reaction or even really hearing themselves! Read on here.
Comedy Kings Chuck Lorre and Bill Lawrence Sound Off on Comedy During COVID, the Fate of Sitcoms, and Their Very Different Charlie Sheen Experiences
Chuck Lorre and Bill Lawrence have known each other casually through the years, whether it be bumping into each other on the Warner Bros. lot or at an awards show. But put the two veteran writers together, and they begin to realize they have a lot more in common than just rubber chicken dinners at the Golden Globes.
Both have enjoyed lengthy careers and multiple successful (and syndicated!) comedies over the years. Both worked with Charlie Sheen — although those experiences ended up very different. And the two scribes are also currently enjoying perhaps the biggest acclaim of their careers: Lorre with Netflix’s “The Kominsky Method,” which just launched its third and final season, and Lawrence with Apple TV Plus’ breakout hit “Ted Lasso,” now entering its second season. Both “Kominsky” and “Ted Lasso” have been lauded for mixing comedy with a deeper look at the relationships that drive us and what it means to be a human at life’s crossroads.
I talked to them for more than two hours, in a wide ranging interview that sadly was way too long for you to ever fully get to see or enjoy. Sorry, the perks of the gig is that I got to experience it, at least! And for much of that, I enjoyed watching these two converse and just got out of the way. Here’s an excerpt of the beginning:
What was it like to produce television under such unusual conditions and COVID protocols?
Chuck Lorre: It was like running with weights on. Everything we do in writing and producing a television show was many times harder because we were doing it with masks and shields and Purell and gloves. And then there were these people running around, I swear to you, with 6-foot-long sticks on “The Kominsky Method.” If you were talking to someone on the stage, they would hold the stick up and say, “You’re not 6 feet apart!” Everybody was doing their job, but when Michael Douglas’s hairdresser tests positive, I lose Michael because he was in contact with the hairdresser. And that was happening over and over again during the winter. There was a darkness to it. And then of course, [for] the shows that I’m doing that rely on a studio audience, there is no studio audience.
Bill Lawrence: I did a multi-camera pilot during all this. And I found it so surreal. I found myself going [to the cast], “I’m not a fake laugher but I’m going to try when you guys nail moments, in order to create the pace of a multi, at least.”
That must have been difficult with your new shows, where the stars haven’t had a chance to do it in front of an audience.
Lorre: Right, they never get that theater experience that is a four-camera show, which is, “Hold for laughs.” All we could do was [have] a couple of people on the stage laughing like idiots, trying to slow the pace down. So that the infernal laugh track can be added later. I spent my entire career running from that and being accused of [using laugh tracks] forever. But here we are, and we’re actually using it this year.
Lawrence: I used to go crazy on “Spin City” back in the days because they’d go, “Oh, I love the show, but I hate the laugh track.” And I would want to reach each of those people and go, “Not only is there not a laugh track, we’re cutting the laugh spread so that we can meet the network time!” And we don’t cheat. Go to a show like “Big Bang” and see the manic enthusiasm from these audiences. You don’t have to like it. But it’s real. And Chuck’s shows are real that way.
Peacock Unveils ‘Girls5Eva’ FYC Campaign, Including Effort to Support Local L.A. Music Venues (EXCLUSIVE)
Peacock has unveiled a “Girls5eva” Emmy FYC plan that includes sending a karaoke bus around the streets of Los Angeles and West Hollywood, and also taking over the marquees of two landmark music venues.
The customized, open-air double-decker “Girls5eva” karaoke bus, part of what creator Meredith Scardino helped dub the “5 Your Emmy Consideration” campaign, will embark next weekend, from Friday, June 11, to Sunday, June 13, noon to 8 p.m. PT both days.
The karaoke bus will pick up Emmy voters and fans from a central point and travel through Hollywood and West Hollywood as they’re asked to sing songs from “Girls5eva” or tunes from real-life 90s girl groups. Those who grab the mic will be given promo items from the show. The karaoke bus is also timed to Pride events this weekend.
Meanwhile, Peacock has also taken over the marquees for Los Angeles’ Wiltern Theatre and El Rey, both on Wilshire, to promote “Girls5eva.” Also, all of the posters around the venue include “Girls5eva” branding and highlight the cast. The streamer notes that both venues are in high-traffic voter areas.
WATCH MY SHOW: ‘Them’s’ Little Marvin Fills Out Our Showrunner Seven
Created by Little Marvin, the limited anthology series “Them” focuses in Season 1 on a 1950s Black family who moves from North Carolina to an all-white Los Angeles neighborhood. Per Amazon, “The family’s idyllic home becomes ground zero where malevolent forces, next-door and otherworldly, threaten to taunt, ravage and destroy them.” The show stars Deborah Ayorinde, Ashley Thomas, Shahadi Wright Joseph, Melody Hurd and Alison Pill. We asked Little Marvin to fill out our “Watch My Show!” survey; here are his answers on behalf of “Them.”
Sum up your show’s pitch on one sentence. A Black family in 1950’s Compton is besieged by malevolent forces both outside and inside their new home.
What’s an alternate title for your show? “10 Days”
What do we need to know before tuning in? To quote Betty Wendell in episode 1: ‘Pace yourself.”
Give us an equation for your show. “The Shining” + “Don’t Look Now” x “The Wizard of Oz” ÷ Douglas Sirk = the photos on our mood board as we shot the season.
What’s the best thing someone said about your show? Tie. Stephen King said, “The first episode scared the hella outta me, and I’m hard to scare,” and Whoopi Goldberg said, “Scariest thing I’ve seen since ‘The Exorcist.'” (I may or may not have embroidered both onto matching throw pillows.)
If you could work on any other series in TV, what would it be? “The Great British Bake Off.” They all seem genuinely lovely and “taster” is probably a job, right?
Finish this sentence, ‘If you like [blank], you’ll love our show.’ “If you like horror laced with real estate law, you’ll love our show.”
SIGNED, SEALED, DELIVERED: This Week’s Promo Mailers
Peacock’s “The Amber Ruffin Show” knows how to celebrate, with Casamigos tequila!
Busy week for Peacock mailers, which also included Go Get Em Tiger coffee — specifically a special “Bayside Tigers” blend in honor of the “Saved by the Bell” revival.
I can’t believe “Bunk’d,” which originally was a spin-off of “Jessie,” is still on the air! But the show (which has seen its cast change over the years as the original “Jessie” stars grew up and moved on) is now celebrating 100 episodes. A toast to the kids of Camp Kikiwaka!
TV PICKS: ‘For All Mankind’ Star Joel Kinnaman Shares His Guilty Pleasures and More
We asked Joel Kinnaman, who plays astronaut Ed Baldwin in Apple TV Plus’s “For All Mankind,” 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’d say it’s the “Ultimate Fighter” reality show—a bunch of sad tough guys getting drunk and fighting.
DEEP CUT: Even though it wasn’t unknown, I thought it was crazy that more people didn’t pay attention to “The Knick” by Steven Soderbergh. When a director like that directs every episode of a series you should pay attention. It’s a phenomenal show.
SHOW MATE: It’s going to be “The Wire” by David Simon. It’s the only show that I’ve seen the whole thing twice.
Madison Visits Amazon’s ‘The Boys’ Pop-Up, Here’s His Review
Variety’s Danielle Turchiano and pal Madison checked out Amazon Prime Video’s “The Boys” pop-up this weekend, and Madison definitely approved of the french fries. Here’s their review:
Visiting Planet Vought’s Hollywood opening aka Amazon’s “The Boys” FYC drive-through experience, quenched the thirst for visiting a theme park. Pulling into the Palladium parking lot, you were greeted by workers telling you to have a “super” day and taking your food order. Options ranged from the Big Home Burger (named for Homelander, of course) to A-Train’s Fast ‘N Fresh Fries (which spray-painted signs later would later show renamed as Frenchie’s Fries) and Supe-Aid. No one would break character to answer what was in the Supe-Aid (“It’s for when you need a little extra boost,” they’d say), though when pressed they did admit it was non-alcoholic. (Spoiler alert: It was lemonade, it came with a vial of Compound V, and it was delicious.)
Although the plan was for Homelander to welcome everyone via a video, Billy Butcher very quickly hacked the feed. The vigilantes could be heard wrecking the place, though all patrons remained safely in their vehicles until the coast was clear, then driving through (and taking photos with) the wreckage. It was like a mini backlot tour, complete with Planet Vought employees who remained as chipper as they could be, despite “F*ck Supes” and “Vought makes murders” spray-painted on walls and merch displays toppled.
WATCH MY SHOW and TV PICKS: ‘Generation’ Executive Producers Zelda and Daniel Barnz and Star Martha Plimpton Fill Out Our Surveys
“Generation” was the first HBO Max pilot to get a full series order. Created by then-18-year old Zelda Barnz and her father Daniel Barnz (who also directs), the show follows a group of high school students whose exploration of modern sexuality “tests deeply entrenched beliefs about life, love and the nature of family in their conservative community.” Nathanya Alexander, Chloe East, Nava Mau, Lukita Maxwell, Haley Sanchez, Uly Schlesinger, Sam Trammell, Chase Sui Wonders, Justice Smith and Martha Plimpton star. Both father and daughter Barnz filled out our “Watch My Show” survey to share why we should tune in.
Sum up your show’s pitch on one sentence. “Generation” follows a group of queer teenagers in Anaheim who hang out, hook up and fumble through life.
What’s an alternate title for your show? “SAGA” (stands for Sexuality and Gender Alliance.) But we also love the play on “heroic narrative” since so many of the kids in our show walk through life with a boldness that feels pretty heroic!
What do we need to know before tuning in? We’re a father-daughter writing team — Zelda was 17 when she had the idea, and the show came out of conversations from our dinner table. And if you’ve seen the show and are wondering, yes those conversations involved a lot of blushing!
Give us an equation for your show. “Skins” plus “Freaks and Geeks” plus “Friday Night Lights” minus football plus water polo times SoCal plus convertibles to the exponential nth power of VQ (very queer) = “Generation”
What’s the best thing someone said about your show? “I feel seen” — and that has come from people in all corners of the world, from all races, ages, ethnicities, classes and sexuality and gender identifications. It’s literally the best compliment anyone can pay this show.
If you could work on any other series in TV, what would it be? “Succession.” What a masterpiece.
Finish this sentence, ‘If you like [blank], you’ll love our show.’ “If you like remembering what it felt like, you’ll love our show.”
Meanwhile, we asked Martha Plimpton, who stars as Megan, the mom to twins Nathan and Naomi (Uly Schlesinger and Chloe East) to share her TV guilty TV pleasure (Can be of all time, or currently. Cheesy reality show? Campy sitcom? Obscure public access show? Anything applies!); her “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 her answers:
GUILTY PLEASURE: Murder documentaries on any channel of any kind. That “SNL” sketch was an extremely accurate depiction of my life.
DEEP CUT: I have a few. Lately, because I am devastated by his passing, I’ve been watching “The Charles Grodin Show” again. He replaced Tom Snyder on CNBC in the 90s and he was perfect. Of course, so was Tom Snyder. Also, “The Secrets of Isis,” which followed the Wonder Woman model and was a killer show in the 70’s. A white lady plays the reincarnation of an Egyptian Goddess. Pretty hilarious. But when I was a kid it was like a package of Like-M-Aid. There’s a crossover with “Shazam” that’s pretty good viewing.
SHOW MATE: This is an impossible question. And I only get ONE DVD??? What if there are multiple seasons?? I can’t choose between “Barney Miller,” “The Wire,” Archie Bunker, “The Queen,” and “Peaky Blinders.” It’s not possible.
Clayton Davis’ Emmy Predictions: Supporting Actor and Actress in a Drama Series
The supporting actor and actress categories are perhaps the most competitive — and chock full of submissions and contenders, which is why they now boast the maximum eight nominees (per the new TV Academy rules determining category size.) This week, we’ll look at Clayton Davis‘ drama supporting picks. For drama supporting actor, writes Clayton: The eldest son of the Bridgerton clan is set up to make a large impact in the upcoming second season and benefiting from a slender list of traditional Emmy contenders, Jonathan Bailey’s Anthony may ride a coattail nominee for his co-stars, especially if they go bonkers for it. There’s always room for a relative newcomer in the race.
The ability for Giancarlo Esposito to inhabit any character he portrays has been proven for well over a decade with four Emmy nominations to his credit for “Breaking Bad,” “Better Call Saul” and a guest actor drama nod for his role as Moff Gideon in Disney Plus’ “Star Wars” spin-off series. Now competing in supporting actor drama, and with his Gus Fring not in the running this year, he could have his moment.
In the past six years, Michael Kenneth Williams has established himself as not just one of our most gifted actors in the game, but one that the Emmys are not shy about recognizing. Though they’ve yet to give him a win over his four nominations, his Montrose Freeman on HBO’s drama series might be the easiest place to reward the show.
Here are his drama series supporting actor picks:
Michael Kenneth Williams, “Lovecraft Country” (HBO) Tobias Menzies, “The Crown” (Netflix) Bradley Whitford, “The Handmaid’s Tale” (Hulu) John Lithgow, “Perry Mason” (HBO) Anthony Ramos, “In Treatment” (HBO) Giancarlo Esposito, “The Mandalorian” (Disney Plus) Jonathan Bailey, “Bridgerton” (Netflix) John Benjamin Hickey, “In Treatment” (HBO)
As for drama supporting actress, Clayton writes: It’s hard to imagine a world where Emmy winner Gillian Anderson’s take on Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in “The Crown” isn’t an automatic checkbox on Academy members’ ballots. She’s picked up all the televised award shows’ statues thus far. The SAG Award for female drama actor, which was the first time a supporting performance won that race since 2013 (Maggie Smith, “Downton Abbey”) was the most notable. She also has many of her co-stars following her for spots. A favorite for playing royalty, four-time Emmy nominee Helena Bonham Carter was a surprising loss at last year’s Emmys to Julia Garner (“Ozark”), but she’s back seeking her moment in the Emmy spotlight. Additionally, recent Academy Award winner (for original screenplay for “Promising Young Woman”) Emerald Fennell has charmed Hollywood and is now seeking Emmy attention for the first time since 2019, when she served as head writer on “Killing Eve.”
There are also multiple women from “The Handmaid’s Tale,” including Emmy winners Ann Dowd and Samira Wiley, alongside former nominee Yvonne Strahovski and possible first-timer Madeline Brewer, in the mix. And then there’s Wunmi Mosaku, whose stellar work as Ruby Baptiste, Leti’s half-sister in HBO’s horror-drama “Lovecraft Country” will be remembered for years to come. She is a contender in this category, as are her co-stars Aunjanue Ellis and Jamie Chung.
But let’s get something straight off the bat: We’ve allowed four seasons of “This Is Us” to pass by without a nomination for the amazing Susan Kelechi Watson as the powerhouse Beth Pearson, and we should be ashamed of such a sin.
Gillian Anderson, “The Crown” (Netflix) Helena Bonham Carter, “The Crown” (Netflix) Ann Dowd, “The Handmaid’s Tale” (Hulu) Wunmi Mosaku, “Lovecraft Country” (HBO) Samira Wiley, “The Handmaid’s Tale” (Hulu) Madeline Brewer, “The Handmaid’s Tale” (Hulu) Yvonne Strahovski, “The Handmaid’s Tale” (Hulu) Emerald Fennell, “The Crown” (Netflix)
‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ and Netflix Lead 2021 Critics Choice Real TV Awards Nominations
VH1’s “RuPaul’s Drag Race” led all nominees as the Critics Choice Association and nonfiction producers’ organization NPACT announced on Wednesday the nominees for the third annual Critics Choice Real TV Awards. The org also announced it would posthumously honor late “Jeopardy” host Alex Trebek.
“RuPaul’s Drag Race” landed five awards, including best competition series, best ensemble cast in an unscripted series, female star of the year for Michelle Visage, and both male star of the year and best show host for RuPaul Charles.
Programs next in line with three nominations included “Queer Eye” (Netflix), “Stanley Tucci: Searching For Italy” (CNN), “Taste the Nation with Padma Lakshmi” (Hulu), and “Top Chef” (Bravo). Netflix led all outlets with 22 nominations, while the Critics Choice for some reason decided to combine HBO and HBO Max’s tallies, even though they are technically separate outlets (and the org didn’t merge numbers for other sister outlets, like ABC and Hulu), and together they received 14 nods.
Read the full Critics Choice Real TV nominations list here.
The Week Ahead
Monday, June 7, 5 p.m. PT: CBS Studios and Paramount+ invite Television Academy National Active members to a virtual screening and panel for “Star Trek: Discovery”
Monday, June 7, 7 p.m. PT: HBO invites Television Academy National Active members to “Stories of Courage” FYC event.
Monday, June 7, 7:30 p.m. PT: FX Network invites Television Academy National Active members to “A Teacher” FYC drive-in event at the Rose Bowl.
Tuesday, June 8, 9:30 a.m. PT: Variety’s Virtual TV Fest Day 1, kicking off with a “New Girl” cast and creator reunion panel. Go here to register.
Tuesday, June 8, 5 p.m. PT: Variety’s A Night in the Writers Room: Comedy. Go here to register.
Tuesday, June 8, 5 p.m. PT: HBO invites Television Academy National Active members to Private Stories on the Public Stage FYC event.
Tuesday, June 8, 5 p.m. PT: MTV invites Television Academy National Active members to “The Challenge: Double Agents” FYC event.
Tuesday, June 8, 7 p.m. PT: Netflix invites Television Academy National Active members to “The Queen’s Gambit” FYC event.
Tuesday, June 8, 7:15 p.m. PT: Hulu invites Television Academy National Active members to a special drive-in screening and panel for “Pen15” at the Rose Bowl.
Wednesday, June 9, 9:30 a.m. PT: Variety’s Virtual TV Fest Day 2. Go here to register.
Wednesday, June 9, 5 p.m. PT: Variety’s A Night in the Writers Room: Drama. Go here to register.
Wednesday, June 9, 5 p.m. PT: HBO invites Television Academy National Active members to “How To With John Wilson” FYC event.
Wednesday, June 9, 5 p.m. PT: Sony Pictures Television invites Television Academy National Active members to “Shark Tank” FYC event.
Wednesday, June 9, 7 p.m. PT: Starz invites Television Academy National Active members to “P-Valley” FYC event.
Wednesday, June 9, 7:30 p.m. PT: National Geographic invites Television Academy National Active members to “City So Real” drive-in FYC event at the Rose Bowl.
Thursday, June 10, 9:30 a.m. PT: Variety’s Virtual TV Fest Day 3. Go here to register.
Thursday, June 10, 5 p.m. PT: Variety’s A Night in the Writers Room: Limited Series. Go here to register.
Thursday, June 10, 7 p.m. PT: NBC and Lionsgate invite Television Academy National Active members to “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist” FYC event.
Thursday, June 10, 7:30 p.m. PT: Nat Geo invites Television Academy National Active members to “Genius: Aretha” drive-in event at the Rose Bowl.
Friday, June 11, 5 p.m. PT: Variety Streaming Room presents An Exclusive Q&A with the Artisans Behind ‘The Crown,’ ‘The Queen’s Gambit,’ & ‘Bridgerton.’ Register here.
Friday, June 11, 5 p.m. PT: HBO invites Television Academy National Active members to “Between The World And Me” FYC event.
Friday, June 11, 5 p.m. PT: Amazon invites Television Academy National Active members to “Moment of Truth” FYC event.
Friday, June 11, 7 p.m. PT: NBC and Universal Television invites Television Academy National Active members to “Saturday Night Live” FYC event.
Friday, June 11, 8 p.m. PT FX invites Television Academy National Active members to “Fargo” FYC drive-in at the Rose Bowl.
Saturday, June 12, 2 p.m. PT: Amazon invites Television Academy National Active members to “Borat Supplemental Reportings”/”Debunking Borat” FYC event.
Saturday, June 12, 2 p.m. PT: AMC invites Television Academy National Active members to “Gangs of London” FYC event.
Saturday, June 12, 7 p.m. PT: HBO Max invites Television Academy National Active members to “Legendary” FYC events.
Saturday, June 12, 7 p.m. PT: Disney Plus invites Television Academy National Active members to WandaVision/The Falcon and the Winter Soldier drive-in FYC event at the Rose Bowl. (Virtual version also available at the same time.)
Sunday, June 13, 2 p.m. PT:Netflix invites Television Academy National Active members to “Halston” FYC event.
Sunday, June 13, 2 p.m. PT: Apple TV Plus invites Television Academy National Active members to “Ted Lasso” FYC event.
Sunday, June 13, 7 p.m. PT: FX invites Television Academy National Active members to “Pride” FYC event.
Sunday, June 13, 7 p.m. PT: Showtime invites Television Academy National Active members to “Your Honor” FYC event.
Premiere dates: MONDAY, JUNE 7: “The Bachelorette” (returning/ABC); “Ms. Fisher’s Modern Murder Mysteries” (returning/Acorn TV). WEDNESDAY, JUNE 9: “Loki” (new/Disney Plus); “2021 CMT Music Awards” (CMT); “Sistas” (returning/BET). THURSDAY, JUNE 10: “The Cube” (new/TBS); “Full Bloom” (returning/HBO Max); “Starstruck” (new/HBO Max). FRIDAY, JUNE 11: “Betty” (returning/HBO); “Flack” (returning/Amazon Prime Video); “Lupin” (returning/Netflix); “Love, Victor” (returning/Hulu). SUNDAY, JUNE 13: “Blindspotting” (new/Starz); “Tuca & Bertie” (returning/Adult Swim).
Send Me Your Questions, Comments and More!
Feel free to send your burning Emmy questions and suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org, and your hot tips as well! Thanks for reading.
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