Friday, July 07, 2006

Emmy chads

I’m on my way to New York this weekend to begin rehearsals for the musical I co-wrote, the 60’s PROJECT that premieres August 10th at the Goodspeed Theatre somewhere in Connecticut. Weekday daily posts will continue. I assume there will be internet access in Connecticut. This weekend’s rant continues on the theme of the Emmys.


Lots of articles in the last couple of days about the nominees (such as they are) and the new voting method that created this mess. If it’s any comfort, the Television Academy’s voting procedures have ALWAYS been screwy.

Years ago, blue ribbon panels selected the winners among the five finalists. A small group of volunteers would give up a weekend to gather in a hotel meeting room, screen all the entries, then vote. (Can you imagine drawing the Mini-series category – five seven-hour epics? That’s the kind of sentence you want to give to the Enron defendants. I bet the Mini-series that was shortest always won.)

One year we wrote an episode of CHEERS that was nominated. As it turned out, we had two friends on the blue ribbon committee. Both called after they had voted and said we had definitely won. Our show got more laughs, more buzz, everyone was talking about it. They also questioned why a WONDER YEARS was a nominee because it was more dramatic than comedic.

For the first time I actually prepared a speech. And rented a tuxedo that fit.

We lost….

,,,to the WONDER YEARS.

And it was the first category of the night so we had to sit through the next three agonizing hours of musical tributes to local disaster coverage, and Rosie O'Donnell.

Now, in fairness, THE WONDER YEARS might’ve been a terrific script but it wasn’t a comedy.

The next day I received numerous calls from irate people I had never met saying they were on the blue ribbon panel and something happened. We were robbed. We should demand a recount or audit. But of course, what would be the point of that? Uncover some shenanigans and make them take the Emmy away from the WONDER YEARS writer and give it to us? There was nothing we could do. We were Al Gore.

A year or so later there was some talk about adding a “Dramedy” category because it seemed unfair that funny shows had to compete with heartstring shows. Hmmmm? Wonder why that popped up all of a sudden? Nothing ever came of it.

But for any of these industry award shows I’m always suspicious because none of these Academies are ever held accountable for their results. And since the REAL creativity in Hollywood is what they can do with numbers (FORREST GUMP is supposedly still in the red, don’tcha know), it’s little wonder that the awards are as bogus as the industry bookkeeping.

Maybe the winners should all thank Karl Rove.


Mystery Man said...

Hey, I wish you great success on your the musical.


Anonymous said...

Been there, done that.

During my ill-starred TV career as a writer for game shows, I volunteered for one of those Emmy-judging weekends and wound up watching TV movies. I never watch TV movies, ever since I got caught by "The Feminist and the Fuzz" back in 1968 or something.

So I get assigned to a two-day panel and we have to slog through five of these gargantuan monstrosities.

On the second day, two of us incited a revolution by telling the intern that we wanted to watch them out of order, thinking that a biopic of Stalin should be seen before lunch, and we could finish with a comedy. The intern, who had never had this much authority in his life, was reveling in it and told us we had to sit and watch them in order, like it said on the sheet. We responded by asking him how many of these judging sessions he had been involved in, and found that our aggregate experience was panel=26, intern=1.

But the little snot didn't go down without a fight, we had to call to Judging Central and get a ruling. The Emmy staffer heard the question, shrugged, said "It doesn't matter, as long as they watch all of them," turned on his heel, and left. We got to watch the intern, defeated, put in the Stalin tape as we enjoyed our victory. After Stalin, we went to lunch, and watched the comedy afterwards.

I'm not saying this is why "The Positively True Adventures of the Alleged Texas Cheerleader-Murdering Mom" won the Writing Emmy that year, but I have my suspicions.