Miniseries are coming of age again, at least according to the Television Academy, whose Board of Governors voted this year to once again give it a category of its own. This has been done from time to time depending on the health and general welfare of the miniseries format. For example, in 2011, the TV Academy felt longform television was dying on the vine and that there was just not enough entries to meet its “Rule of 14” (the minimum number of possible contenders needed to trigger a category). The networks were downsizing the form and, outside of the BBC and HBO, there wasn’t a whole lot of interest. But now, minis are exploding again and a new golden age seems to be on the horizon.
With minis roaring back on their own—they are still combined with movies in the acting, writing and directing categories—what will the landscape look like when nominees are announced July 10?
Not a Shoo-In
Going into the competition, many pundits thought it was all wrapped up. HBO—which has had a streak of miniseries winners with John Adams, The Pacific, Band of Brothers and Angels in America—looked as though it had another slam dunk with its eight-part True Detective, starring Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson. It won near-unanimous raves and appeared unbeatable, particularly since, with the mini/movie split, it would not be competing with … Read More »
Emmy Campaigning Heats Up
The inclusion of HBO's 'True Detective' into the Best Drama Series race has ratcheted up the tension in the category -- especially for fellow high-profile hopefuls like AMC's 'Breaking Bad' and 'Mad Men'. Deadline Awards Columnist Pete Hammond and Dominic Patten discuss.
One of the bigger challenges facing the Television Academy’s Emmy Awards the past few years is keeping up with the constantly shifting TV landscape. In fact, in March the organization announced it was dropping the formal name by which it always has been known, Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. The powers that be chose to unload all that “arts and sciences” stuff and even considered dropping “television” altogether until it was decided the word can be used as a brand name to encompass all the delivery systems that are part of modern entertainment. Change is good and the TV Academy has a primetime awards committee working year round to address the latest needs and trends of the medium it represents.
One of the biggest changes this year is that the miniseries/movie category has been split in two, though the mini/movie acting, writing and directing contests will remain combined. It recognizes the renewed interest in the miniseries format thanks to such hits as History’s juggernauts Hatfields & McCoys and The Bible, among many others. “We had a situation where there was a lack of minis and so we had a consolidation. But then the Board (of Governors) decided there would be a split in 2014 since it looks right now like they are solidly back,” says the TV Academy’s senior vp of awards John Leverence, who adds that this year the number of minis well exceeds the TV Academy’s “Rule of 14” (the number required to trigger a category). Read More »
Ray Richmond is an AwardsLine contributor
It’s difficult to keep track of exactly what’s what in the outstanding made-for-TV movie/miniseries category, and this year offers a couple of prime examples.
Three of the six nominees this time–FX’s American Horror Story, PBS’ Sherlock: A Scandal in Belgravia, and BBC America’s Luther–are hardly what one would call standard-issue longform contenders. Horror Story was a 12-parter that began with a pilot episode. Luther was the second season of a continuing series. And the Sherlock film was a movie-length episode of a series operating under the Masterpiece banner. Emmy rules were stretched a bit to allow all three to qualify in the movie/mini area, yet they fit the current criteria as limited-run projects that tell a single story with a beginning, middle and end that is resolved within the piece. Read More »
If there is an endangered species among programming categories on the Primetime Emmy telecast, it is clearly the now-combined miniseries/made-for-TV movie. With the four major broadcast networks almost completely out of the movie/mini business, the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences has investigated moves in recent years to downsize the time devoted to longform on the telecast, including shifting it to the less prestigious Creative Arts ceremony a week earlier or even spinning it off as its own separate cable show. Recently, the TV Academy announced it would eliminate the supporting actor and actress category for the 2013 ceremony, the start of a slippery slope as far as movies/minis are concerned. However, for the time being at least, the category is being celebrated at the Primetime Emmys, and nominees in the marquee Outstanding Miniseries or Movie category are a diverse bunch, bringing some big movie names on to the small screen. Here is how their chances stack up: Read More »
Minutes after NBC canceled freshman The Event on the unlucky Friday, May 13, the show’s creator Nick Wauters and executive producer Steve Stark told fans that there was a possibility for the sci-fi drama to continue elsewhere. That possibility is now taking shape. I hear there are talks with Syfy to pick up The Event as a miniseries. Helping things is the fact that Syfy and The Event producer, Universal Media Studios, are NBCUniversal corporate siblings. But migrating a broadcast show to cable is never easy, and I hear discussions are underway to see if it would be financially feasible for The Event to continue on Syfy. If that happens and if the mini does well, it could potentially launch another season of the alien drama. Syfy has been active post-upfronts this year. The cable network also has been kicking the tires of the Fox pilot Locke & Key, but there haven’t been any substantial discussions.
3net, the joint-venture 3D network from Sony, Discovery and IMAX, announced today that they have begun principal photography on The Civil War 3D (working title), set to debut on the network in the fall. The DirecTV-based network says the four-hour miniseries will the first war documentary to be shot in “native 3D.” “Shooting in native 3D gives us the unique ability to bring an entirely new level of depth and emotion to this epic time in history with groundbreaking storytelling that simply hasn’t been possible until now,” said 3net president and CEO Tom Cosgrove. “As well, The Civil War 3D series further reflects our ongoing mission to provide the kind of immersive in-home 3D experience available nowhere else on television.” Towers Prods. will produce the series with executive producers Jonathan Towers, David W. Padrusch and 3net’s Tim Pastore; Padrusch will also direct.
Hope for U.S. distribution of Joel Surnow’s 8-part miniseries The Kennedys is fast fading away. Showtime has just passed on the project, which was cancelled by its original network, History, on Friday. Showtime was considered The Kennedy‘s best shot for an airing on a traditional network in the U.S. because of 24 co-creator Surnow’s long-standing relationship with Showtime’s new programming chief David Nevins, who previously ran 24 producing company Imagine TV.