Emmy Voters Under Siege; Talk Show Freakout; Place Your Bets On ‘Bookie’ – Notes On The Season

A column chronicling conversations and events on the awards circuit.

It is getting down to Emmy voters’ moment of truth as we are now less than a week away from the start of Emmy nomination voting on June 13, with all ballots due to be completed by 10 p.m. PT on Monday, June 24. Nominations will be announced on July 17. In fact, the TV Academy just sent their first warning shot to voters, urging them to “GET READY TO VOTE!”

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The 76th Emmy Awards airs September 15 on ABC, exactly eight months since the strike-delayed previous Primetime Emmy show in January, and it seems just like yesterday doesn’t it? I can’t swear on it, but I believe this is the first year ever to have two Primetime Emmys in the same calendar year, and certainly the first to have two so close to each other. Of course the reason was the dueling actors and writers strikes that forced the Television Academy to move its September 2023 date out of harm’s way into January 2024. The delay, plus the fact that it was on Fox (generally the network in the Emmy broadcast network wheel that draws the lowest numbers), probably could be blamed for abysmal ratings. Voting ended in August 2023, a full five months before the envelopes would be opened. You can forgive viewers for forgetting which shows even were nominated. As an Academy member, I honestly couldn’t remember what I voted for.

75th Primetime Emmy Awards Winners
From left: Kieran Culkin, Ali Wong, Steven Yeun and Jeremy Allen White at the 75th Emmys in January

The fact is just about every awards show and guild contest voted the same three shows for program, acting, writing and directing in their respective categories — Succession for Drama Series, The Bear for Comedy Series, Beef for Limited Series — so the Emmys just had nothing new to add. This kind of across-the-board sweep in tandem for the same three shows was unprecedented. I think this year will be different because Succession and Beef are gone, and The Bear, fine as it is, is facing really stiff competition in Comedy from genuine comedies. The gloves are off, and it could be anybody’s ballgame.

RELATED: TV Talk Podcast: Emmys Comedy Category Is No Laughing Matter This Year With Serious Contenders Galore


You certainly can tell that from the enthusiastic turnouts of voters to the infinite numbers of FYC events — just off the charts, not to mention the special installations, like mini-Smithsonians that the streamers have once again been out doing in force, spending the kind of cash Oscar campaigners only dream of being able to do. It would be hugely disappointing to see my fellow TV Academy voters fall back on the same-old-same-old voting patterns. We have a real chance to shake things up, so let’s hope we do just that and make the Emmys great again (though I must say I thought the Anthony Anderson-hosted presentation of the 75th Emmys was Emmy worthy itself, full of welcome nostalgia for a better time, even if the winners were so predictable).

RELATED: Best Comedy Series Emmy Winners Since 1952: A Photo Gallery

Apple TV+ “Palm Royale” Official Emmy FYC Event at Hollywood Athletic Club on May 11 (Getty Images)
Apple TV+ “Palm Royale” Official Emmy FYC Event at Hollywood Athletic Club on May 11 (Getty Images)

So because I am a member (and a longtime member and former Writers branch governor) of the Television Academy, I definitely can attest to the tsunami of emailed invites to various FYC events we get during the “season” that come directly from the TV Academy. Everyone uses the Academy’s list — for a price — to get this stuff out there to the membership. All have a notice at the bottom that these are not hosted by the Television Academy but rather the studios and networks who pay to have the invites sent through the mailing house. As far as I could tell, the first one I got for this season was a Hulu and 20th Television invite to a star-filled Only Murders in the Building FYC at Paramount. Since then I count 293 more emails for just about any show and network and streamer and whatever else came with the Television Academy’s digital fingerprints.


This week alone there have been FYC opps offered for Understanding Autism, The Formula 1 Opening Ceremony for the Las Vegas Grand Prix, Carol & The End of the World, The Express Way with Dulé Hill, Billy Joel: The 100th – Live at Madison Square Garden, an invite to a taping of CBS’ After Midnight with Taylor Tomlinson, a virtual event from YouTube for Good Mythical Morning with Rhett & Link and First We Feast’s Hot Ones, more virtual events for The Tattooist of Auschwitz and The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and separate reminders to watch every single show on Apple TV+, ESPN, ABC, Peacock, PBS’ Great Performances, Starz, National Geographic, Netflix and the Onyx Collective. Then there was an invite to an evening with all the creatives of the BET Media Group, a Mary & George panel discussion and on and on.

And this was all before Thursday when more arrived, including FYC viewing links for Freeform, Native America, AMC Networks, Pepito’s America Mamadas and Jim Henson Idea Man. None of this covers the countless individual emails from the studios and streamers I get detailing all of it with “Post Event Alerts” or to events sent on their own.


Most amusing invite of the week came directly from Max/WBTV for their self-described “out of the box” FYC event for their Chuck Lorre series Bookie, a terrific show if you haven’t seen it yet. Sometimes Emmys are compared to a “horse race”; In this case, this series is taking that literally. The invite notes that “instead of the usual theater/Q&A set-up, this unique and thematically on-brand FYC event will take place at the amazing Santa Anita Park Racetrack! On Saturday, 6/8, there will be a 3pm PT screening of an episode of Bookie followed by a panel with cast and filmmakers, and then a reception right on the track! It’s also a race day, so join us for a wonderful afternoon of horse racing in conjunction with our FYC event.” How about that for thinking “out of the box”? No word yet if voters will be able to place their bets with series stars Sebastian Maniscalco and Omar J. Dorsey, but at the very least they are placing their own bet on the first-season series doing well in the race for Emmy.


Today there is a more conventional attempt to gain attention. Comedy Central is inviting press to a “intimate” luncheon with talent from The Daily Show, including Ronny Chieng, Desi Lydic, Jordan Klepper, and Michael Kosta in West Hollywood. That is followed later by the show’s “Emmy official event” (words that won’t make the Academy happy) with clips and Q&A and reception at Paramount Studios, with Monday host Jon Stewart joining the aforementioned stars for that one aimed directly at voters, and sure to be packed. Of course this season, and specifically election season, the show has thrived with the weekly return of multi-Emmy winner and iconic longtime host of the series, Stewart, along with rotating host gigs for the regular cast. Coming off January’s Emmy win against all the late-night talk shows, and the last hurrah for Trevor Noah, Comedy Central is aiming to do it again with this unique shakeup of the single-host format. It clearly is made possible by Stewart’s willingness to return to the desk, for at least one day a week a la Rachel Maddow, who also turned her MSNBC gig into a Monday-only spot for this politically charged year.

RELATED: ‘The Daily Show’s Desi Lydic Steps Up To The Desk


The format change for Daily Show, which had conducted a well-publicized but so far unrealized search for a permanent host, really has worked, putting it in a strong position to return to the winners circle. Competitors in the talk category are sweating because of the much smaller number of shows being entered, meaning as few as only three nominees instead of the usual five, per Academy rules. HBO’s John Oliver had dominated this category until being moved last year into the Scripted Variety Series category and winning there against perennial champ Saturday Night Live. Regarding that category, the TV Academy this week just put out a call for volunteer judges who agree to watch all of the entries and vouch that you saw all seven before deciding which would be Emmy worthy. This will all be concluded before the end of the month.

RELATED: 2024-25 Awards Season Calendar – Dates For Oscars, Tonys, Emmys, Grammys, Guilds & More

From left: Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel, John Oliver, Jon Stewart & Lorne Michaels
From left: Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel, John Oliver, Jon Stewart & Lorne Michaels

But back to the talk shows: Each one is jockeying for those spots, even late entry John Mulaney, whose weeklong seat-of-your-pants Netflix talker gained a lot of attention, yet another threat to the more conventional broadcast network talkers, primarily Kimmel, Fallon, Colbert and Meyers. All have hit the circuit for the campaign in one way or another. Should be interesting, all deserving — but puhleeeez, anyone but Gutfeld!

Until next week.

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