Emmy Meets the Press
Executive Producer Don Mischer, host Andy Samberg, and Television Academy Chairman and CEO Bruce Rosenblum answer questions at Fox’s TCA panel.
The nation’s television critics had some questions about the 67th Primetime Emmy Awards show at Fox’s Television Critics Association Tour, held at the Beverly Hilton on August 6.
As part of the annual TCA press junket, Fox presented panel discussions of upcoming Fox shows, including the 67th Primetime Emmy Awards, set to air on Fox September 20. Taking part in the Emmy panel were show executive producer Don Mischer, awards show host and star of Fox’s Brooklyn Nine-Nine Andy Samberg, and Television Academy chairman and CEO Bruce Rosenblum.
The press junket, according to the TCA web site, is for members of the nationwide association of television critics, most of whom do not live near the entertainment capitals of Los Angeles and New York, to gain access to the people who make television.
The panel began with Mischer noting that the Academy and producers are happy to be on Fox, and happy to be back in September, after the show had moved to August last year. Mischer also announced that the show will follow two NFL games that day, and that Fox will be covering the Emmys red carpet all day, promoting the show throughout the games.
Samberg, who says he is a football fan, added that he likes that idea, because the promos during the games will feature him, and “all my friends will see me!”
Samberg also talked about the process of writing for the show, which he said is just starting now. He and Scott Aukerman are the primary writers, but Samberg did not rule out asking for ideas from his former Saturday Night Live colleagues. Asked what kind of show he hoped to produce, he said, “Hopefully, a funny one.”
The panel discussed the Academy’s recent voting and category changes and how they may affect the awards.
In previous years, a blue-ribbon panel chose the top acting and show awards. This year, those choices are open to the entire voting membership. Rosenblum noted that the larger voting pool might result in “different winners” from what might be expected from the panels.
He added that the voting rules are ever evolving, and that the Academy will “look at them again” after this year to reassess what works and what doesn’t.
Rosenblum also said that the category changes implemented this year worked well.
In previous years, for example, Orange Is the New Black competed in the comedy category. Recent category changes deeming that a comedy should be 30 minutes rather than 60 would not have allowed the show to compete in that category.
Although there is a challenge process, OITNB instead submitted in the drama category (60 minutes or more), and was nominated in that category, showing that quality television will be rewarded in either case.
Rosenbum said that he was confident that all the shows submitted this year were in the proper categories.
One segment of the show that is always ripe for controversy is the “In Memoriam” video.
Inevitably, not everyone in the industry who has died in the previous year will be included. Mischer admitted that it is always a “tough assignment.” Of the many people lost to the industry, a choice must be made of whom to include in the 3-4 minute video.
He said that the producers compile a list and then try to make the best decisions possible. Because it is an “industry show,” both performers and behind the scenes people are included, so that all segments of the industry are represented.
Mischer said that they do their best to do their due diligence in vetting the inclusions, but that the process is “not perfect.” Both Mischer and Rosenblum said it is difficult to get the letters and phone calls from families, but, in the end, all they can do is to “hope we make the best decisions.”
Comparing the Emmys show to other awards shows, such as the Golden Globes, Mischer agreed that the Emmys are a more formal presentation. Noting again that the Emmys are an industry show, he said that it is meant to take the process more seriously.
He added that, with 4,000 people to seat with nominees and their guests, table seating, such as they do at the Globes, would not be practical.
In preparation for his hosting duties, Samberg said that he is watching more TV than usual, trying to catch up with the nominated shows and actors. He said that he is also researching the shows and their fan cultures, looking for “bigger jokes.”
In the end, he said his job is to “keep it positive.”