Listen to (and share) episode 18 of our audio podcast Deadline Awards Watch With Pete Hammond. Our awards columnist and host David Bloom discuss Hollywood in the age of conglomerates; TV with a conscience and this week’s notable films, including The Croods, Olympus Has Fallen, Admission and Starbuck. Pete also talks about Mad Men, whose Season 6 premiere party he attended, what to expect from this season, and what the show’s Emmy prospects this year might be.
Premiering its two-hour sixth season opener at the DGA theatre in Hollywood on Wednesday night, AMC and Lionsgate’s four-time Best Drama Series Emmy winner Mad Men threw its hat in the ring to retake that Emmy which it lost for the first time last year to Showtime’s newcomer Homeland. The new season, which debuts on April 7th, opens with Don Draper and wife Megan on Christmas vacation on the beaches of Waikiki and promises more of the same kind of intrigue and incremental character development for which it is known. But creator Matt Weiner, who obviously wants to keep viewers guessing, warned the packed industry crowd not to give anything away before the show actually airs. In fact, in the elaborate press kit sent to critics, Weiner is even more specific about keeping the first episode’s secrets intact with a non-reveal list that includes the year the season begins, status of Don and Megan’s relationship, whether the agency has expanded to an additional floor, new characters, and new relationships or partnerships. That doesn’t leave much to tell except to say each of the characters is thrust into interesting new areas and the actors are all at the top of their games (Jon Hamm even has to pull off a mysterious 8-minute stretch where he doesn’t utter a word). It just continues to be a bafflement as to why not a single actor on the show has ever won an Emmy in the five years it has been on. Will that change as Season 6 takes off and plays right through the Emmy nomination voting period?
There are just two episodes left to film before the order of 13 wraps and the cast scatters to other gigs. Hamm told me that right after he finishes he is headed to India to start a new baseball film, Million Dollar Arm, to be directed by Craig Gillespie (Lars And The Real Girl) in which he plays an agent who recruits Asian cricket players to switch to the major leagues. He particularly liked getting to take Don Draper to Hawaii this time around, and the character clearly promises to be travelling to other new internal places as well based on the first two hours. Christina Hendricks, Robert Morse, Jessica Pare, January Jones, Elisabeth Moss and John Slattery (who has some big scenes in the show) were among the Mad Men cast who turned up for the crowded party at Sunset Towers following the screening along with Weiner, producer Scott Hornbacher (who directed the premiere) and AMC president Charlie Collier, who told me he was proud of the way Mad Men is able to keep fresh and inventive.
Mad Men executive producers Andre and Maria Jacquemetton are leaving the Emmy-winning series after six seasons to sign an overall deal with Warner Bros Television. Under the pact, the duo will develop cable series via Warner Horizon Television, as well as for broadcast through Warner Bros TV. The deal starts May 1, after production of Mad Men’s upcoming sixth season is completed.
The season will start with a two-hour movie written by Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner and directed by Scott Hornbacher that will air at 9 PM, AMC announced this morning. Series star Jon Hamm will direct the season’s second episode a week later as it settles into its regular 10 PM time slot. When last we left Hamm’s Don Draper and company, the firm of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce was still recovering from Lane Pryce’s suicide, Peggy Olson had joined a rival agency, Roger Sterling was all tripped out and Don was sitting on the sidelines of wife Megan’s first big break — and contemplating a proposition by two pretty young things (or was he?). Weiner, speaking to The New York Times, would not be led as to just where the story will pick up April 7. “It will advance in time, as it does… I can’t say how much or how little. We’re coming off a period in Don’s life where he’s trying to normalize, and trying to have this relationship — a real relationship with this woman that he fell in love with. She expressed her desires and that was a surprise for him. On this show, it’s a very rich, full orchestra, and we like to follow what is the next stage in these people’s lives.”
EXCLUSIVE: Here’s a hot signing before the biz goes away for the holidays. CAA has just signed Jon Hamm, the Mad Men star who recently left ICM Partners early last month following the exit of his longtime agent Carol Bodie. Hamm had taken meetings with a few of the agencies — WME was the other major player — but he’s headed for CAA. Hamm should have a bright future in features. Like Alec Baldwin, he can play comedy as well as drama, and has done several inspired turns on Saturday Night Live and in the film Bridesmaids. He played serious in the Ben Affleck-directed The Town, and those blue-chinned guys like Hamm also work well in macho franchises.
EXCLUSIVE: What did Hawaii look like in the late 1960s? We’ll get a glimpse in the Season 6 premiere of AMC’s Mad Men. I’ve learned that the New York-set drama series is headed for a …
2012 Primetime Emmys Analysis: ‘Homeland’ And ‘Modern Family’ Unbeatable While Other Favorites Flounder
The streak is over. After four straight years on top, the reign of AMC’s Mad Men as best drama series ended tonight at the hands of hot upstart Homeland. Showtime’s freshman terrorism series swept the drama field, just like defending comedy champ Modern Family did on the comedy side. Each won for best series, all acting categories in which they were nominated as well as writing (Homeland) and directing (Modern Family).
It was a great night for 20th Century Fox TV, which dominated the comedy and drama series fields with Modern Family and Homeland, produced by the studio’s cable division Fox21. The studio previously boasted both the best comedy and drama winners in 1999 with David E. Kelley’s Ally McBeal and The Practice. It was also a big night for CBS Corp., with the company winning the drama and reality-competition series categories with Showtime’s Homeland and CBS’ The Amazing Race, along with three of the four lead series actors with Homeland‘s Demian Lewis and Claire Danes and Two And A Half Men‘s Jon Cryer, a surprise winner. Homeland delivered the first-ever best series win for Showtime as well as the pay cable network’s first Emmys in the other three categories. With its strong run tonight, Homeland tied Game Of Thrones as the program with the most wins this year. (All of GOT‘s trophies came at the Creative Arts Emmys.) CBS, which also took the best reality program award for Undercover Boss at the Creative Emmys for a sweep of the top reality categories, was the broadcast network with most wins for second straight year with 16. HBO was No. 1 overall with 23 Emmys, paced by Game Change, which won four Emmys tonight, including best movie/miniseries.
Related: 2012 Primetime Emmys: By The Numbers
There were a couple of big surprises tonight, notably the complete shutout of Mad Men and Girls and the almost complete ones of AMC’s Breaking Bad and FX’s American Horror Story. Mad Men‘s drought was the most shocking because it also included the Creative Emmys, leaving the 1960s-set drama with zero wins out of 17 nominations for the biggest shutout in Emmy history. Girls, which won for casting in a comedy series at the Creative Arts Emmys, didn’t get recognition for its creator-director-star, Lena Dunham, who is considered TV’s “it” girl at the moment but, at just 26, she seems destined for Emmy glory. Meanwhile, 30 Rock, created by/starring Tina Fey, in whose footsteps Dunham is following, was shut out completely for a second consecutive year.
Breaking Bad had been heavily tipped as a frontrunner in several categories, including best drama series and best actor Bryan Cranston. Instead, the series’ only win on the night came for co-star Aaron Paul in the supporting actor category. He was able to extend his streak to two consecutive wins in the category after winning the previous time the show was eligible, in 2010. But Cranston’s win streak ended at three. Similarly, FX’s American Horror Story‘s only win tonight came in the supporting actress in a drama series category for Jessica Lange. AHS may have suffered a backlash from the controversial decision to submit itself as a miniseries and not a drama series as the show could only convert two of its 17 nominations — one tonight and one at the Creative Emmys. Meanwhile, Downton Abbey‘s move from the movies/miniseries field, which it dominated last year, to drama series, misfired as the British import only scored one nod tonight for Maggie Smith.
Mad Men wound up setting a dubious — and surprising — record at the Primetime Emmys this year. Not only did AMC’s slick 1960s-set drama see its four-year winning streak as best drama series snapped by Showtime’s Homeland, it failed to win a single trophy tonight or at the Creative Emmys last week. Heading into the awards with the most nominations, 17, Mad Men went 0-for-17 to set a record for the biggest shutout in Emmy history. It broke the mark of 16 held jointly by Northern Exposure (1993) and The Larry Sanders Show (1997). While there was a consensus that Mad Men had lost its Emmy momentum this year, few could have predicted the nominations frontrunner would be left completely empty-handed. There was a likely warning sign for this year’s drought in 2011, when the praised series was able to convert only two of its 19 nominations to a win.
Related: 2012 Primetime Emmys: By The Numbers
The Walking Dead’s executive producer and writer Glen Mazarra moderated the evening. Although the popular AMC zombie show received a few 2012 Creative Arts Emmy nominations, it was dramatically overlooked this year when the primetime nods came out. …
Paul Brownfield is an AwardsLine contributor
Decorum holds that during For Your Consideration season, it’s important for campaigners to make sure TV Academy members know how special a series’ last season has been, while flattering its show creator by spending generously to help win a statuette—whether it’s the first or the fifth.
In an effort to position Mad Men toward an all-time record fifth drama win, the Emmy campaigners behind Matthew Weiner’s AMC series decided that voters needed something more than the high-end mailer they were already receiving. So they invited TV Academy members to a screening of the show’s season finale on June 10, the day the episode was set to air. Overnight, there were more RSVPs than seats, according to Murray Weissman, the veteran campaigner whose PR firm, Weissman/Markovitz, is consulting for AMC.
The 5 p.m. screening, at the Leonard H. Goldenson Theatre, was followed by a Q&A and reception with Weiner and some of the cast.