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EMMYS: Let The Episode Submissions End

Deadline TV contributor Diane Haithman files this report:

Let the countdown to the Emmys begin. That is, if the TV Academy can stop blurring what’s a final, final, final deadline for Emmy submissions. As of May 31, 2011, all TV programs should have been submitted to the Academy Of Television Arts & Sciences for nomination consideration for the 2011 Emmy Awards. Programs airing between June 20, 2010, and May 31, 2011, are eligible for submission. An exception is made for series that have new episodes airing between May 31 and June 24, 2011, which are also eligible. And since there’s no downside to entering their own show -– or, for that matter, themselves in an individual category –- almost everybody does it. The nominations will be announced July 14. “It’s important to be on the ballot,” says John Leverence, the TV Academy’s VP of Awards. “It is reviewed by more than 14,000 members of the Academy. These are your industry peers, even if you are doing a show that might not have a snowball’s chance in hell.”

But “all TV programs” does not mean “all TV episodes.” For two of Emmy’s highest-profile categories, Drama Series and Comedy Series, there is a lot of wiggle room timewise. All that was required on April 29, 2011, was a submission of the series as a “body of work” by its title. DVDs of the actual episodes to be considered for the series award — six episodes per show — did not have to be submitted until May 13, meaning that many producers spent an additional few weeks in the agonizing process of choosing their best work.

And, if any of the six episodes chosen by the producer is airing after May 13, all the TV Academy asks is that the DVD of the missing episode be sent in as soon as it has aired. Until May 31, series producers may yank an episode or episodes from the chosen six and replace them with something else. But there is yet another window for changing the episode selections just prior to the actual nominations announcement, which includes the chosen series but not the episode choices. Then that’s it for artistic indecision. “We need the choices by the time of the nomination announcement because we have to make a very fast turnaround to replicate thousands of DVDs for the Blue Ribbon [final judging] panelists,” explains Julie Shore, the TV Academy’s Director of Prime Time Emmy Awards.

The TV Academy instructs voters to make selections on the merits of one program or set of episodes. “I think to the outside world it looks like an objective evaluation of quality, but it’s not,” insists Mike Schur, showrunner for the NBC comedy Parks and Recreation, which he created with Greg Daniels and which has yet to win an Emmy. ”It’s about trends, and what gets hot, and what’s on the magazine cover at the right time.” Read More »

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Showtime Gives Second-Season Pickups To Drama ‘Shameless’ & Comedy ‘Episodes’

Nellie Andreeva

Showtime has renewed both of its freshman series, drama Shameless and comedy Episodes, for a second season.  The William H. Macy-Emmy Rossum-starring family drama Shameless received a 12-episode order, while the size of the order for the Hollywood-centric Episodes starring Matt LeBlanc is yet to be determined. Production on both series will begin later this year. With the pickups for Shameless and Episodes, Showtime is now bringing back its entire winter Sunday lineup. In January, the pay cable network gave an early renewal to veteran comedy Californication. “The viewer loyalty and critical acclaim that has met both SHAMELESS and EPISODES since their January debuts makes it clear that these two brash and sophisticated series are burgeoning hits,” said Showtime entertainment president David Nevins. “John Wells is carving out a tone that is truly unique in the television landscape—equal parts drama and comedy.  And Episodes marks the universally embraced and hilarious return to television of an inspired comedy triumvirate: Matt LeBlanc, and creators Jeffrey Klarik and David … Read More »

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Joan Cusack Joins Showtime’s ‘Shameless’

Nellie Andreeva

Joan Cusack has joined the cast of Showtime’s new drama series Shameless and appear in all 12 episodes of the new series. She’ll play the role of Sheila, an agoraphobic Chicago housewife with a sexually active teenage daughter who strikes up a special friendship with William H. Macy’s character, Frank Gallagher. She replaces Allison Janney, who played the role in the pilot but had to pull out because of her commitment to ABC’s Mr. Sunshine after the producers of Shameless decided to make the character more prominent than originally planned. Production on the  series begins in mid-September for a January 9 premiere. Read More »

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January Premiere Dates For Showtime’s ‘Shameless’, ‘Episodes’ & ‘Californication’

Nellie Andreeva

showtime_logoShowtime has announced January premiere dates for new drama series Shameless, new comedy series Episodes and the fourth season of Californication. Shameless, John Wells and Paul Abbott’s adaptation of Abbott’s British series, will debut on Sunday, Jan. 9 at 10 PM. It stars William H. Macy and Emmy Rossum. Episodes, from David Crane and Jeffrey Klarik, will premiere on Jan 10 at 10:30 PM. The series, about a British couple trying to adapt their hit British series in the U.S., stars Matt LeBlanc. The fourth season of Californication, starring David Duchovny as hedonistic novelist Hank Moody, will unspool on Jan. 10 at 10 PM, leading into the debut of Episodes. In addition to Shameless and Episodes, Showtime has one more new series in the hopper greenlighted by outgoing entertainment president Bob Greenblatt, period drama The Borgias.

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Ultimate Raising $18M Film/TV Fund

EXCLUSIVE: The media fund is raising money for a number of projects including 28K, written by Paul Abbott. Showtime USA is currently remaking Abbott’s Channel 4 series Shameless, while Universal turned his BBC series State of Play into the Russell Crowe movie. The urban thriller starts filming in October. Ultimate aims to establish a string of tax-effective Enterprise Investment Scheme companies. Each EIS will invest up to £2 million ($3 million) in a spread of film, TV, music, internet and theatre start-ups. For example, distributor Route One plans to release six movies and up to 40 DVDs a year. The idea is to spread the investor’s risk, while still giving him a 20% tax break.

If successful, the rolling media fund aims to raise £20 million each year.

Oliver Rothschild, founder of Buchler Rothschild Investments, is the chairman. Vice-chairman is Martin Carr, an independent feature producer who has worked with Danny Boyle in the past. Other board members include veteran director Piers Haggard, whose credits include the Beeb’s Pennies From Heaven.

This is not the first time Carr has gone down the EIS route. He used the EIS to fund gangland drama Clubbed. The film was released theatrically in the UK and France in 2009 and sold to 20 other territories on DVD. Unusually for a privately-financed EIS film, Clubbed also sold to BSkyB. But investors still not out yet. Sales agent AV Pictures has just closed a US sale. Carr and his partner Neil Thompson have pledged half their net profits from … Read More »

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