Paul Brownfield is an AwardsLine contributor.
On May 26 at 12:01 a.m., 15 new episodes of Arrested Development went live on Netflix; by 5 a.m., the series’ legions of fans probably had exhausted the new supply. The comedy’s cancellation of Arrested by Fox in 2006, after two seasons, prompted an afterlife of rumors and almost-announcements, as series creator Mitch Hurwitz worked on a feature script of his cult series. Like the fans, Hurwitz didn’t want to let go of his extended band of crazies, the Bluths, either. And then Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s chief content officer, suggested resurrecting the show to Imagine Entertainment’s Ron Howard. “And Ron said, ‘That’s a very nice thought, I don’t think it’s ever going to happen,’” Hurwitz says. Except it did happen.
Related: EMMYS: Comedy Series Overview
AwardsLine: How different was the process in working with Netflix?
Mitch Hurwitz: I wasn’t turning scripts in, because of the nature of the thing. We weren’t shooting one a week. We’d shoot pieces of eight different episodes in any given week. We were shooting 12, 14 pages a day, shooting like crazy. We screened it at the premiere — it was the first time an audience had seen it, but it was also the first time I’d seen two (episodes) in a row. I’d just been making them and putting them in the pipeline. And I guess that’s the case usually with television. The difference with this one, though, is that it’s all coming out on the same day. And it will be viewed by some as an eight-hour movie. Read More »
Michael Slezak is Senior Editor at TVLine.
You know those people who brag about not having a television? Girls’ Allison Williams has a handy response for ’em. “I always say very dryly and very honestly, ‘You should invest in one. I’m not even saying you would necessarily like our show. But TV is so good right now.’” Williams’ awareness of the number of great performances under consideration this Emmy season makes it all the more “exciting and unbelievable” when her name gets floated as a possible contender for supporting actress. And while she’s quick to credit Girls creator and star Lena Dunham—as well as the show’s writers, directors and hair and makeup staff—for helping her bring to life the rudderless Marnie Michaels, Williams admits that “it’s a really fun challenge to play someone who seems to have it all together and yet has this anxiety bubbling beneath the surface. It’s an anxiety she isn’t necessarily aware of herself.”
Related: EMMYS: Comedy Series Overview Read More »
Ray Richmond is an AwardsLine contributor.
A pair of long-running NBC comedies — 30 Rock and The Office — will be attempting a rare feat this year: They’ll be trying to win a top series Emmy in their final season. Both have tasted victory in the Outstanding Comedy Series race before, The Office taking the prize in 2006 and Rock in 2007, ’08 and ’09. But winning as a last hurrah is a whole other ballgame, though it’s happened four times before: The Mary Tyler Moore Show snared the comedy series prize in 1977, Barney Miller took it in 1982, Everybody Loves Raymond carted off the comedy trophy in 2005, and The Sopranos earned the top drama series statuette in 2007. Many other long-running series have tried to generate Emmy love in their last year. A few, like Seinfeld, have even been favored. (Seinfeld lost in its final season in 1998 to Frasier, which earned its record fifth statuette in a row.) But most series fail to cart off the gold amid the perception that their best days are behind them, whether accurate or not. As one Emmy-winning producer says: “By the time a show is in its final season, it’s no longer considered fresh or cool, and voters much prefer to reward the hot new thing. It’s just … Read More »
In the 12-year, eight-season history of HBO’s Hard Knocks, only one franchise – the Dallas Cowboys, often cited as “America’s Team” – has been featured twice. Make that two. The premium network on Monday officially tapped the Cincinnati Bengals to star on its popular series chronicling life at an NFL training camp. The Bengals first were featured in 2009, with the season earning a pair of Sports Emmys. Last year’s Hard Knocks showcased the Miami Dolphins, and plenty of screen time was devoted to aging former All-Pro wide receiver, who was known as Chad Ochocinco when he was onscreen with the ’09 Bengals. The show began in 2001 with then- and current defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens, followed by the Cowboys in 2002. But that was the last Hard Knocks until the Kansas City Chiefs in 2007. Since then it has aired every year expect 2011, when the series went dark because no team was willing to participate due to the looming lockout by NFL owners. The first episode of the Bengals return trip to the show will premiere August 6.
Diane Haithman is an AwardsLine contributor.
How many writer-producers does it take to make an Emmy-winning comedy? In the case of Modern Family, it’s a staff of 12 including co-creators/executive producers Steven Levitan and Christopher Lloyd. Like many series creators, Levitan and Lloyd mostly tapped colleagues from comedies they had either created or worked on to assemble a writers room where the team speaks the same language. Before creating Modern Family, Levitan and Lloyd worked on three comedies together: Wings, Frasier and the short-lived Back To You, which the pair co-created. Most members of Modern Family’s creative family are descendants of those three shows and/or two other comedies created by Levitan: Just Shoot Me and Stacked. AwardsLine has ventured deep into sitcom history — stripping the banana peel all the back way to 1990 — to trace the writing roots of Modern Family. Please note that this is not intended to represent each writer-producer’s complete, or necessarily best, credits. It covers only comedy series that have at some point included two or more Modern Family writer-producers on staff (as writer-producers unless otherwise noted).
Related: EMMYS: Comedy Series Overview
Read More »
Diane Haithman is an AwardsLine contributor.
Undergrads from UCLA’s Honors Physics 1B — who take this class because ordinary physics just isn’t difficult enough — were in for a surprise when they took a field trip to Warner Bros. Studios to be part of the live studio audience for CBS’ The Big Bang Theory. The set always features whiteboards marked up with dizzyingly complex equations. And it took awhile for any student to notice that today’s equations were the solutions for the midterm exam they’d taken that day. As Big Bang physicist Sheldon Cooper (Jim Parsons) might say: Bazinga! This visual gag was a lot like the continual pranks of Sheldon and his geeky pals on the show. But the man behind this in-joke was their professor, particle astrophysicist David Saltzberg, who also serves as science adviser on Big Bang.
Related: EMMYS: Comedy Series Overview
Read More »
Michael Ausiello is Editor-in-Chief of TVLine.
The gap between Modern Family and the rest of the Emmy comedy field has been so wide that even an imperfect third season landed the ABC family comedy a third consecutive best series win last year. But Modern Family is wrapping another uneven season, and with its ratings slipping and challengers gaining on it, a fourth statuette is far from guaranteed. HBO’s Girls is coming off a Golden Globe win, there’s a growing sentiment that CBS’ Nielsen juggernaut The Big Bang Theory is past due to be recognized, and former best comedy series Emmy winner Arrested Development is back. Will Modern Family’s winning streak come to an end this year? Here’s our assessment of the show’s chances, as well as the rest of the contenders. Read More »
Poor Matt Damon. Damon’s tour de force one night “hosting” stint January 24th on Jimmy Kimmel Live was a real triumph, maybe the funniest and finest work by any guest on a variety (as talk shows are classified in the Emmys) series this season. Damon’s rep tells me they had been trying for a very long time to make this appearance possible and finally his schedule freed him up to do it. But as far as Emmys go, it doesn’t exist.
Of course the whole show was one big gag based on Kimmel’s long standing show biz mock hatred of Damon. He’s ended virtually every episode of his decade-old talker by saying that unfortunately the show ran out of time for Damon’s appearance. Of course Damon was never really booked and it was all an elaborate running joke but finally it paid off when Damon supposedly kidnapped Kimmel, tied him up and took over the host desk. With Kimmel, his mouth taped shut , hopelessly looking on from the background , Damon took over with a great monologue and a couch full of A-listers that included Nicole Kidman, Gary Oldman, Demi Moore, Reese Witherspoon, Amy Adams, Sarah Silverman (Kimmel’s ex), Andy Garcia, Robin Williams and others including BFF Ben Affleck. Read More »
Here’s an enterprising awards campaign from the folks at Netflix during Emmy-voting crunch time. Or rather, lunch time. Today and Tuesday between 11 AM-3 PM, the network’s House Of Cards is slinging grub in LA from the Rollin’ Rib BBQ food truck (masquerading as Freddy’s BBQ, favored joint of Kevin Spacey’s Frank Underwood) free to card-carrying members of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Deadline hears that some Emmy voters even received home deliveries. “I appreciate your vote,” Underwood menaces from the truck’s FYC ad wrap. Ballots are due June 28. Will Academy members vote with their stomachs?
CBS is the first broadcast network to set its fall premiere dates. The net once again went for a traditional rollout, debuting virtually its entire lineup during premiere week, which starts September 23. It will be preceded by CBS’ coverage of the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards on September 22, which will no doubt be used to promote the network’s fall launch. Providing a seamless transition, the hourlong premiere of How I Met Your Mother‘s final season will kick off premiere week at 8 PM on Sept. 23 featuring star Neil Patrick Harris who will host the Emmys the night before. As usual, reality veteran Survivor is starting a bit early, with a 90-minute premiere September 18. (Survivor is getting an early start for the 11th time in the past 12 seasons.) CBS also has set up a February 24 premiere date for new midseason drama Intelligence, which is slated to alternate with new fall drama Hostages in the Monday 10 PM slot. No dates yet for new drama Reckless, new comedies Friends With Better Lives and Bad Teacher and returning Mike & Molly. Here are CBS’ 2013-2014 premiere dates so far (new shows in bold caps): Read More »
This just in from the newly renamed Sterling Cooper & Partners. Will it help give AMC‘s Mad Men more late-game Emmys viral attention? Via AMC and sent out by “Peggy Olson” shortly after the conclusion of tonight’s episode:
The 40th Daytime Emmy Awards named Days Of Our Lives Outstanding Drama Series at the annual awards held Sunday at the Beverly Hilton, where the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences honored the best in daytime programming. It was a big win at the end of the night for the NBC soap after all previous statuettes had gone to its competitors, CBS’ Young and the Restless and Bold and the Beautiful and ABC’s General Hospital. CBS led this year’s winners with seven major wins while George Lucas took home his first Emmy for his animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars. (See full list of nominees here.) Meanwhile, it took three co-hosts – Robin Meade, Sam Champion, and AJ Hammer – to emcee a snafu-laden telecast that one Tweeter appropriately deemed “must watch train wreck TV.” (Just scroll down for the laundry list of HLN network flubs that ran 35 minutes late and had viewers irate on both coasts.)
Related: ‘Ellen,’ ‘Sesame Street,’ CBS Lead 40th Daytime Creative Arts Emmy Awards
In his first Emmy win, George Lucas accepted the award for Outstanding Special Class Animated Program for his Star Wars: The Clone Wars series from presenter Carrie Fisher who joked before opening the envelope, “Our nominees haven’t taken acid, at least not with me – which is, as most of you know, the only way to go. Right, George?” Lucas thanked the TV Academy for including animation in their annual program and gave a shout out to “all those poor souls who toil over their computers.”
It wasn’t the smoothest of award shows. The Talk co-host Aisha Tyler was handed the wrong envelope presenting for Best Informative Talk Show and had to use her comic chops to stall while the correct winner was relayed to her onstage. Mic and audio issues dotted the HLN telecast – including mics completely turned off and an errant audio feed of co-host Meade shouting into her backstage mic, “Can you guys hear me? You can? This is my song from my album!” over an HLN network ad playing between commercial breaks. And that was before presenter Corbin Bernsen dropped an uncensored f-bomb on live TV. Read More »
The Ellen DeGeneres Show and PBS‘s Sesame Street led the 40th Daytime Creative Arts Emmys with six wins apiece at the annual awards presented Friday night by the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences and the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. CBS tied PBS as the most-awarded network as honors were doled out in over 55 categories, while Leeza Gibbons won in her first Emmy nomination in 15 years. Embattled Sesame Street fixture Kevin Clash won three Emmys for his work on the children’s show as co-exec producer, performer, and director. Here’s the full list of winners: Read More »
Thomas J. McLean is an AwardsLine contributor.
For sound editors and mixers, the broadening of TV’s audio palette into feature-film territory requires a lot of work and plenty of tricks to get shows to sound as good as they look on tight budgets and even tighter schedules. “I spend quite a bit of time trying to find the right people who can do feature-quality work but not take feature time,” says Tim Kimmel, supervising sound editor on HBO’s epic fantasy series Game Of Thrones. With 10 hourlong episodes to complete in about five months and a tight schedule on the production pipeline, work often continues until the last minute. “By the time we finish mixing the show, we’re still waiting on final visual effects, so we will end up going back into episodes that were basically completed,” Kimmel explains. Read More »
Cari Lynn is an AwardsLine contributor.
Ah, to be victorious—at losing. Susan Lucci was famous for it. So was Angela Lansbury. But the dubious crown of distinction now graces Bill Maher, host and executive producer of HBO’s Real Time With Bill Maher, the reigning champ with 29 Primetime Emmy nominations and 0 wins. Both Real Time (15 total Emmy noms, 0 wins) and its predecessor, ABC’s Politically Incorrect (8 variety series noms, 0 wins), have garnered noms every single year they’ve been on the air, going back to 1995. But they’re in good losing company. In what’s become an odd phenomenon in the variety series category, Real Time annually goes neck and neck with Comedy Central’s The Daily Show With Jon Stewart and the newer fake newsguy, The Colbert Report (which also has received consecutive nominations since 2006)—only to see The Daily Show sweep the Emmys for a solid decade. Read More »
Listen to (and share) episode 30 of our audio podcast Deadline Awards Watch With Pete Hammond. Deadline’s awards columnist talks with host David Bloom about the fevered campaign attending the opening week of Emmy nominations voting; Behind The Candelabra, The Bible and other contenders for Emmy Best Movie or Miniseries; Mel Brooks and his AFI Lifetime Achievement Award; and the week’s notable movies, led by one Man Of Steel, along with the apocalyptic comedy This Is The End and two terrific specialty-market releases, Sofia Coppola’s tale of true crime and celebrity culture The Bling Ring and a fine look at the backing singers for countless rock music hits, 20 Feet From Stardom.
Deadline Awards Watch, Episode 30 (MP3 format)
Deadline Awards Watch, Episode 30 (MP4a format) Read More »
Andy Patrick is an AwardsLine contributor.
Considering that upstart docureality series like Duck Dynasty and Here Comes Honey Boo Boo are dominating ratings and pop culture, reality-competition series have largely been overshadowed. NBC’s buzzy singing contest The Voice last year injected some fresh blood into the Emmy reality-competition field, which had mostly been filled by the same shows for the past decade. In fact, CBS’ The Amazing Race has snagged the Emmy every year but one since the category’s inception in 2003. However, The Voice is coming in strong in ratings and challenging Amazing Race’s hold on the title. So while you contemplate whether the reality-competition category is primed for a shakeup this year, here’s our assessment of the competitors. Read More »
Howard Gordon continues to put the 24 gang back together for the upcoming Fox event series. Jon Cassar has signed on to executive produce and direct multiple episodes of 24: Live Another Day, including the first two episodes. Cassar was a producer-director on the series from Seasons 2-7 — he directed 59 episodes including the TV movie 24: Redemption and won two Emmys and a DGA Award for the series. “I’m very happy to be renewing my relationship with the 20th Century Fox TV and Imagine family and am excited to call ‘action!’ again on the set of the resurrected 24,” Cassar said. “Considering I was not involved in (the final) Season 8, this new 24 event series gives me the chance for closure on a show that is very important to me.” Said Gordon: “Jon was a profoundly integral part of 24 creatively and culturally. It doesn’t feel like it would be 24 without him, and we’re all just really thrilled to be working with him again.” Cassar is the third 24 alum to join 24: Live Another Day, joining Gordon and David Fury. Several others are in the process of making deals, including co-creator Bob Cochran, Evan Katz and Manny Coto. Read More »
David Mermelstein is an AwardsLine contributor.
When word first leaked that square-jawed, macho Michael Douglas would star in a biopic
of Liberace, the swanning pianist famous for garish costumes and flashy keyboard antics, many feared the worst. But HBO’s Behind The Candelabra, directed by Steven Soderbergh and based on a memoir by Liberace’s lover Scott Thorson (played by Matt Damon), is anything but an exercise in misguided casting. Instead of camping it up, Douglas, who remains best known for his Oscar-winning turn as Wall Street lizard king Gordon Gekko, embraces his inner queen in an audacious and vulnerable performance.
AwardsLine: How were you first approached for the role of Liberace—and what appealed to you about the part?
Michael Douglas: It’s wild. It goes all the way back to 2000, when I was doing Traffic with Steven. One day he says, “Ever thought about playing Liberace?” I thought he was messing with me. But a couple of times on the set I did an imitation, just for fun. Then seven years later, he called and said, “I’m going to be sending you something.” It was the book Behind The Candelabra by Scott Thorson. Jerry Weintraub had acquired it for Steven, Richard LaGravenese had written the screenplay, and Matt Damon wanted to play Scott. It was a great screenplay with a wonderful character for me to eat up the scenery. My whole career has been me playing contemporary characters, so I welcomed the chance to get behind a figure from a different era. It was like painting on a clown face rather than wiping my face raw for a part. It even required appliances and hairpieces and all that.
Related: EMMYS: Movies/Miniseries Overview
Read More »