Saturday, September 21, 2013

And the thousand Emmy winners are...


Who deserves an Emmy for producing a comedy or drama? It used to be easy. There were four or five of them – the show runner and those few writers who have worked their way up the ranks to producer. Now every show has more producers than West Virginia has registered voters. Stars get producer credits, in-explicitly, so do their managers, non writing executives jump on the band wagon, studio executives horn-in on the credit, punch-up guys are now “consulting” producers, series directors join the act, and in lieu of studios giving writers bumps in salary they now just hand out producing titles. Yes, they’re making story editor money but they’re co-producers.

As a result, when a show wins Best Comedy or Drama it looks like the Normandy invasion as half the audience invades the stage to pick up their hardware. In an attempt to not deplete the world’s gold reserve the Academy has revised the rules and will now only allow eleven producers to be eligible for best comedy show Emmys and ten for dramas.

But then comes the question of which eleven of the say, twenty or fifty producers should be eligible?

Here are my thoughts. NO non-writing producers. These are all executive, not creative positions. Not saying that they don't have a role in the process but it's not in this area. Studio development people? Development is their JOB. They make calls. They come to meetings and just sit. They offer "support". And there's no "Best Supporting Producer" category. Directors? Sorry, this is the one medium you are not the king. And as for managers -- if the sum total of a manager's contribution is one time handing a pilot script to his client he does not deserve an Emmy (or the money he’s skimming off the show for doing nothing but that’s another story).

This is the bottom line: During a rewrite at 2 a.m., look around the room. Whoever is not there automatically should be eliminated (with one exception -- the line producer. He/she works harder than anybody, usually under the most impossible of conditions.) The non-writing producer who waltzes out at 6 to get to the Laker game? Disqualified. The actor who has no idea where the writers room is? Application denied. The studio exec whose only talent is doing a good Ari Gold impression? Not a chance.

Hopefully, when it’s just down to writers, ten or eleven slots will be enough. Consultants, by the way, don’t qualify. Full-time only. If the issue still isn’t settled then there’s only one way writers can resolve it, equitably -- taking into consideration seniority, contribution, loyalty – and throwing all that shit out. Nerf basketball! One-on-one. Round robin eliminations.

It's how writers make all major life decisions -- marriage, whether to go out on strike, which religion to believe in, etc.

I know what some of you are thinking -- isn't that a frivolous and irresponsible way to make important decisions? No. Not at all. But if you are concerned and want to settle these things in a more, shall we say, mature manner -- then I recommend Foosball.

Good luck to all the nominees who actually qualified. I'll be reviewing the EMMYS Monday morning.

16 comments:

The Mutt said...

Imdb lists 36 producers on The Simpsons 2013.

Joseph Scarbrough said...

I watched THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW with the audio commentary with Roland Emmerich and co-producer Mark Gordon; Emmerich mentioned he thought there was too much of his name during the main titles (he had co-producer, story by, written by, and director), while Gordon only had a producing credit, though he did mention he contributed to the script a little, but he brushed off not getting credit for it saying, "I'm not a greedy bastard like some people."

This brings to mind my Friday question a while back about how so many shows today have umpteen executive producers, a million producers, countless "produced by" credits... if "producer" credits are given to writers, nuke 'em. Some shows have "staff writer" credits during the end titles, let them have those instead.

YEKIMI said...

What pisses me off is that by the time they're done showing the credits all the people listed as "Exec. Producer", "Associate Producer", "Co-producer", "Producer", "Half-assed producer", etc. at the beginning of the show, the damn thing is half over.

Edward Copeland said...

I'm surprised the TV Academy hasn't taken AMPAS' lead from several years ago and limited how many people can be listed as producers in the picture category (and other artists in some categories as well).

Eduardo Jencarelli said...

@The Mutt

But if you take down the excess (consultants, directors and glorified producers), that number goes down a bit.

On The Simpsons you can take out Richard Sakai and Denise Sirkot. They're executives at Gracie Films. You can take out Bonnie Pietila, who's a casting director. Take out David Silverman and Richard Raynis who are animation producers.

Now we're left with the writers, a line producer and a post-production producer.

You can take out the consultants: Tim Long, Carolyn Omine, Ian Maxtone-Graham, Dan Greaney, Tom Gammill, Max Pross, Mike Scully, David Mirkin and Mike Reiss.

That still leaves us with 18 producers, however. That's 16 writers, including the executive producers and creators of the show (and also the late Don Payne), plus two line and post-production producers.

Nerf basketball it is.

Eduardo Jencarelli said...

Scratch Don Payne. I forgot he was also a consultant.

The number is down to 17. 15 of those either writers, showrunners or creators hf the show.

Hamid said...

Another good read, Ken, and right on the money as usual. The number of producers in TV and films has gone beyond the ridiculous. I don't know if you've commented on this already but I've recently noticed some producers having p.g.a next to their name in film credits. What's your opinion on this? It strikes me as kinda pointless. To put it bluntly, screenwriters don't have w.g.a next to their names and directors don't have d.g.a next to theirs. Are we now going to see every producer wanting p.g.a next to their name?

Hamid said...

@Joseph

Emmerich's number of credits is small fry compared to the legendary egotrip called Harlem Nights, which I assume has to hold some kind of record, not just for the number but the way they were presented. The opening credits are:

Paramount Pictures Presents

In Association With Eddie Murphy Productions

A Film by Eddie Murphy

Eddie Murphy

Then followed by the rest of the credits, ending with:

Executive Producer Eddie Murphy

Written and Directed by Eddie Murphy.

All that and the movie still sucked.

Ben Kubelsky said...

"Sunday Question?" I just read an article about 5 special "individual" Emmy salutes tomorrow. These are in addition to the "In Memoriam" montage: Jean Stapleton, Gary David Goldberg, Jonathan Winters, James Gandolfini... and Cory Monteith from "Glee." The article on Yahoo has Jack Klugman's son commenting on the situation (note they are also leaving out Charles Durning and Larry Hagman from the individuals in favor of Monteith). Thoughts?

Ben Kubelsky said...

"Sunday Question?" I just read an article about 5 special "individual" Emmy salutes tomorrow. These are in addition to the "In Memoriam" montage: Jean Stapleton, Gary David Goldberg, Jonathan Winters, James Gandolfini... and Cory Monteith from "Glee." The article on Yahoo has Jack Klugman's son commenting on the situation (note they are also leaving out Charles Durning and Larry Hagman from the individuals in favor of Monteith). Thoughts?

Hamid said...

@Ben

That's a disgrace. Larry Hagman in particular deserves special mention. In JR Ewing he created one of the most iconic and loved characters in TV history. I was a huge fan of Hagman, not just for Dallas but his comedy work in I Dream of Jeannie and his film work too. People sometimes forget that Hagman was a truly gifted actor. His supporting turn in Primary Colors for example was magnificent. But even focusing on Dallas, his comic timing was genius. No one could deliver a witty insult like him. I was loving his return as JR in the new Dallas. For him, Jack Klugman and Charles Durning to be overlooked in favour of Cory Monteith is shameful. No offence to his fans, friends and family, and it's tragic his life was cut so short, but he does not warrant a special salute above those actors.

Breadbaker said...

So why 10 for drama but 11 for comedy?

Comedy is hard.

Joseph Scarbrough said...

@Hamid That reminds me of ROVER DANGERFIELD:

Story by Rodney Dangerfield and Harold Ramis

Written by Rodney Dangerfield

Based on an idea by Rodney Dangerfield

Executive Producer Rodney Dangerfield

Songs by Rodney Dangerfield and Billy Tragesser

Now I'm reminded of another pet peeve of mine when it comes to credits... why, on some shows, are there separate credits for music score and theme music when they're both done by the same composer? I could see if someone else also worked on one or the other, like, "Music by John Doe, Theme Music by John Doe & Joe Cool", but not "Music by John Doe, Theme Music by John Doe".

Jonathan Ernst said...

On last week's episode of Breaking Bad they started the credits a little late and they didn't finish running until 25 minutes into the show. It literally was half way over.

Ken - Are there any guild rules about how soon a credit must show up in a show?

Mike said...

A publican I knew would announce 'closing time' by shouting across the pub: "We've had your money. Now fuck off."
Which aptly applys to any and all show business award ceremonies: "You've had your money. Now fuck off."

Edward Copeland said...

I forgot to mention in my earlier comment the short-lived HBO comedy How to Make It in America. As I wrote when I reviewed it, I've never seen credits such as the ones on How to Make It in America. There are seven credited actors but listed in the same size and font and each with their own screen are five executive producers, one co-executive producer, two producers and a casting director. The poor creator, Ian Edelman, gets a slightly smaller credit of his own.