July 16, 2015

NIELSENWAR: The Emmy Nominations – Some Thoughts

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Written by: Mitch Salem
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With the overwhelming amount of quality television these days available on various platforms, the Emmy nominators (of which I’m one, in certain categories) weren’t going to get it all right.  (A full list of nominees is here.)   There were omissions aplenty–The Americans and The Knick on the drama side, to name just two, and Black-ish and Jane the Virgin among the comedies.  Downton Abbey once again took up a precious drama slot (but will only be able to do that one more time!), and Modern Family is incapable of not being nominated (and may well boringly win again).  By and large, though, it’s hard to poke many holes in the candidates that did hear their names heard this morning.  A few impressions:


Deep Cuts.  There was barely any audience for The Honorable Woman when it aired on Sundance, but the nominators clearly watched their screeners, because the brilliant limited series was nominated not only in that category, but for Maggie Gyllanhaal’s performance and for the writing and directing of Hugo Blick.  Voters also nominated the low-rated Getting On (Niecy Nash for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy), and Portlandia (Best Sketch Comedy Show).  The same is sort of true of Lisa Kudrow’s nomination for The Comeback, and Matt LeBlanc’s for Episodes, but they’ve been TV royalty for so long that the viewership of their shows probably didn’t matter much.

Mommy, What Are Broadcast Networks?  It’s no longer a surprise that the closest any broadcaster came to a Best Drama nomination was PBS’s perpetual one for Downton.  Comedy was only marginally better, with a valedictory nod for Parks & Recreation along with the eternal Modern Family place.  (American Crime, however, did pay off for ABC in prestige points if not ratings with a nomination for Best Limited Series.)  Of the 25 glamor Lead Actor/Actress nominations, the broadcasters had a total of 5, for Taraji P. Henson, Viola Davis, Anthony Anderson, Will Forte and Amy Poehler.

Forget It, Jake.  It’s CW.  Jane the Virgin gave the little network its best chance ever of scoring in the big categories, but the series was blanked with 1 minor nomination.

Timing is Everything.  Less than 24 hours before Amy Schumer’s first big screen movie Trainwreck hits multiplexes, her Inside Amy Schumer series received nominations for Best Sketch Comedy Series and for Schumer herself as Comedy Actress, as well as for writing and directing.

Great Move, NBC.  The network shoved The Unbreakable Kimmie Schmidt off its air before the show even premiered, and it turned into a bonanza for Netflix, with nominations for Comedy, Tituss Burgess as Supporting Actor, and Jon Hamm and Tina Fey as Guest Actor/Actress.  (And, of course, NBC also canceled Parks & Recreation, its only scripted show to get major nominations.)

Finally!  Tatiana Maslany has been owed a nomination since Orphan Black hit the air, and in its 3rd season, she got one.

Victory Lap.  The final seasons of The Daily Show With John Stewart, The Colbert Report and Late Show With David Letterman were all nominated for Best Variety Talk Series.  Which way will the sentimentality wind blow?  Or will they split the vote, allowing newcomer Last Week Tonight With John Oliver to steal the prize?

And What The Hell is It With Derek?  Even many Ricky Gervais fans keep their distance from Derek, his mawkish Netflix series.  But the honors keep rolling in, this time for Best Actor in a Limited Series/Movie.  Perhaps something in Tropic Thunder would provide a clue…


About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."