Primetime Emmys 2013: ‘30 Rock’s Tina Fey, Tracey Wigfield And ‘Modern Family’s Gail Mancuso Set High Mark For Female Comedy Writers, Directors
Monica Corcoran Harel is a Deadline contributor
Sure, you see some big-screen leading ladies every year at the Emmys — especially now that TV is more de rigueur than romantic comedies. But even the sight of radiant Claire Danes, or Nicole Kidman at last year’s show, doesn’t draw the European fashion houses like ants to a picnic. The bottom line is this: Movie stars are global personalities; TV actresses get mobbed Stateside. When it comes to award shows, the Emmys provide a chance for American designers who don’t go by one name to shine.
Related: Nikki Finke Live-Snarks 65th Emmys
This year, we saw a strong showing from LA native Monique Lhuillier — on Anna Farris in a canary yellow chiffon dress that clashed a bit with her complexion and Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ rose gold strapless column dress. Tina Fey looked electric in a body-con cobalt blue halter gown that Narcisco Rodriguez made specifically for her. In fact, a few lucky ladies got A-list treatment with custom-made gowns. Newcomer Taylor Schilling (Orange Is The New Black) wore a dress designed for her by Thakoon — no small feat for a great actress who wouldn’t get recognized in Orange County. It was wicked fun to see January Jones act all nonchalant about her one-off dusty rose Givenchy confection: “They made it for me,” she said without an ounce of glee when Ryan Seacrest asked her why she chose that particular dress. The color didn’t wow on the red carpet.
Some of the actresses who didn’t get handmade frocks plundered the Resort 2014 collections, which showed in June in New York. Mad Men’s Kiernan Shipka wore a colorful though slightly distracting Delpozo dress while Zosia Mamet of Girls selected a mixed-media organza gown by Honor. The black leather bustier felt more like an “edgy girl” accessory than an organic piece of the dress, but it definitely strayed miles from the wardrobe of her less-than-alternative character. Elisabeth Moss gleaned her black-and-white strapless Andrew Gn gown from his resort line too.
Immediately after Tina Fey returns to Saturday Night Live to host the season debut on September 28, featuring Arcade Fire as the music act, NBC will air a half hour Arcade Fire concert special, which will help to promote the band’s fourth studio album — due out next …
EXCLUSIVE: Twenty million viewers can’t be wrong. Following the warm critical reception and big ratings for Tina Fey and Amy Poehler‘s first hosting turn at the Golden Globes earlier this year, the comedy stars have been approached for a second go as emcees of the awards show. Unlike Ricky Gervais’ original deal, which had an option for a second turn as Globes host, I hear Fey and Poehler originally agreed to host this year’s ceremony as a one-time thing with no obligation to come back. But, given their success, it’s no surprise that NBC and Golden Globes producer Dick Clark Prods are asking them to return. I hear there are no active conversations between the network and the funny ladies who have received an informal invitation versus a formal offer as NBC and DCP are looking to gauge their interest.
The debate rages on about this year’s Oscars. Not about the movies that won or lost, but the host. Poor Seth MacFarlane just can’t seem to catch a break. If you believe what you read he is either a misogynist, a gay basher, an anti-Semite hiding behind a stuffed teddy bear, or someone who is just downright disrespectful to Abraham Lincoln. And you thought hosting the Oscars was going to be all fun and glamour?
Somewhere along the way we seem to be losing our sense of humor. It’s just an awards show, folks. Even if you don’t think he was funny — and apparently many don’t — it’s no reason to completely eviscerate the guy. For fronting a show that was alternately class (Shirley Bassey, Barbra Streisand, musical numbers) and crass, he has been getting bashed from the right and the left for his Oscar-night performance where his routines, among many other charges, have been blasted as sexist (particularly for the musical number, “We Saw Your Boobs” which was meant to be a tasteless parody of a bad Oscar song number). For MacFarlane, who is known for edgy humor, this was relatively mild material. Yet critics like Amy Davidson in the New Yorker called it his “ugly, sexist, racist Oscars” and his performance, “a series of crudely sexist antics led by a scrubby, self-satisfied Seth MacFarlane”. Ouch. The Anti-Defamation League joined the chorus earlier this week protesting the appearance of MacFarlane’s Ted and what they said was anti-Semitic humor. Yesterday a couple of California female legislators even filed a formal protest with the Academy over what they saw as offensive treatment of women.
It’s ironic that several women are now coming to MacFarlane’s defense, including Victoria A. Brownworth today at the Advocate.com, who said his humor was pointing out Hollywood hypocrisy against women and in fact gave his performance a ringing endorsement. The Academy itself got pro-active in sending press members positive statements about MacFarlane’s Oscar gig, offering a strong defense. All of this brings up the point that perhaps a “double standard” was at work here when compared to the media’s effusive praise for Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, the two female hosts of this year’s rival show the Golden Globes — even though some of their comedy bits dealt with some of the same subject matter as MacFarlane’s including women’s difficulties with issues of weight. So is there a real double standard at work? Fey and Poehler gets raves, MacFarlane gets vilified.
EXCLUSIVE: After a breakout turn helming the sleeper comedy Pitch Perfect, Jason Moore is in negotiations to direct The Nest, a Universal Pictures comedy that shapes up as an imminent post-30 Rock star vehicle for Tina Fey. The comedy’s based on an original idea by Paula Pell, who wrote the script. Fey is producing through her Little Stranger Inc banner.
In the comedy, two thirtysomething sisters come home to find their parents’ house has been put up for sale. They spend a last wild weekend together, bonding and feuding and finally growing up.
It will be next for Moore and possibly next for Fey after she wrapped seven seasons as creator, writer, producer and star of 30 Rock. Pell worked with Fey as a writer for Saturday Night Live, where Fey was longtime Weekend Update host and the show’s head writer. Pell has been at SNL 17 years, and is still a part-time writer there. Since The Nest is Pell’s first feature script, it makes her an overnight success after nearly two decades. She was an exec producer on Judd Apatow’s most recent comedy This Is 40, and she has just set up a follow up script with Apatow and Benderspink called Business Trip.
Fey will soon be seen starring in the Focus Features comedy Admission, and comes off a killer turn hosting the Golden Globes with Amy Poehler.
Ray Richmond contributes to Deadline’s TV coverage.
When the NBC comedy 30 Rock leaves the air tonight after seven seasons and 139 episodes, it will be exiting a far different TV landscape than it entered. The series premiered on October 11, 2006 as an anomaly: the original vision of a single creator-producer-writer-star named Tina Fey at a time when TV actors generally stayed in front of the camera (with NBC’s The Office proving a rare exception with its double-duty writer-performers). Fey made no secret of being a writer first and an actress second, and there is little debate that her success paved the way for comedy performers dreaming of some semblance of creative control of the product. Without Fey’s 30 Rock, it’s harder to imagine the environment would have existed for a creator-star like Mindy Kaling to rise with The Mindy Project at Fox, or certainly for a daring and controversial writer-producer-star like Lena Dunham to make Girls at HBO.
That Fey was able to steer her quirky satirical tale on a broadcast network made the achievement all the more unlikely. And then to keep 30 Rock going for so many critically acclaimed seasons when its ratings rarely rose above the level of abysmal is fairly unprecedented. Rock remained, throughout its run, the little engine that could, overcoming long odds and a cancellation ax poised constantly over its head. Those with a good memory will recall that the series entered NBC’s primetime schedule with two strikes against it — as one of a pair of series launching on NBC that peered behind the scenes of a fictitious sketch comedy show. The other was of course Aaron Sorkin’s hourlong Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip, which was the favorite of the two to survive due to the Sorkin pedigree. It’s the one that NBC put its marketing and promotional might behind, plastering Studio 60 on billboards in Times Square and on Sunset Boulevard. Instead, it was SNL vet Fey’s comedic creation that had the artistic legs for the long haul.
It is a big year for TV talent as TV writers/performers are hosting the top movie awards shows this year: the Oscars, Seth MacFarlane, and the Golden Globes, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. (Additionally, Kelsey Grammer is hosting the DGA Awards and Nathan Fillion the WGA Awards.) With their NBC show Smash nominated for best comedy/musical series, Neil Meron and Craig Zadan, producers of the upcoming Academy Awards, had a front-row seat at tonight’s Golden Globes ceremony, and Meron, who attended, watched the proceedings up close. MacFarlane didn’t attend but he too watched the Globes, tweeting occasional comments. He later joined the Golden Globes crowd at the HBO party, accompanying his girlfriend, Emilia Clarke, who co-stars on the network’s hit drama Game Of Thrones. MacFarlane was effusive in his praise for Fey and Poehler’s performance as hosts. “Please give Tina and Amy high marks because they did great,” MacFarlane said. Does the duo’s strong showing increase the pressure on him? MacFarlane seemed unfazed. “It doesn’t matter how I do, Oscar hosts always get thrashed,” he deadpanned.
Former SNL Weekend Update co-anchors Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are reuniting for another joint hosting gig, this time emceeing the upcoming 70th Annual Golden Globe Awards. Long-time friends Fey and Poehler are only the second hosting team on the awards show, which went without a host until Ricky Gervais was tapped for the job the last three years. “Having both Tina Fey and Amy Poehler on board to host this year’s festivities is a major coup,” said Paul Telegdy, NBC‘s President, Alternative and Late Night Programming. “Tina and Amy have a proven chemistry and comedic timing from their many years together on SNL to their successful co-starring roles in Baby Mama.”
Tina Fey plans to keep her 30 Rock TV address after the end of her NBC series. The 30 Rock creator/executive producer and star has signed a new four-year overall deal with series producer Universal Television to develop new projects for the studio. The deal kicks in next year. Fey segued to 30 Rock after a stint on NBC’s Saturday Night Live, where she became the first female head writer.