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Posts tagged as “Colbert and Stewart”

Spoilers and Sweeps (Emmys 2015)

Everyone was predicting the ugly rise of monolithic Emmy sweeps due to the award’s change in voting process.

Last night confirmed everyone’s fear.

samberg emmys 2015

If you’re unaware of the Emmy voting change I’m referring to, it all boils down to a major shift in who decides the award winners.

Basically, the process went went from a small “blue-ribbon panel” of voters that could be supervised into watching the nominees’ screeners (and have some basic knowledge of said nominees), to everyone of the 19,000+ ATAS members being able to vote in their categories.
(You can read more about these new Emmy rules in Alan Sepinwall’s HitFix article and Todd VanDerWerff’s Vox piece.)

Theoretically, that’s an admirable idea. Power to the people!
In practice though, not everyone—and in fact virtually no one—watches the screeners. Since there are so many shows in competition, a lot of ATAS members and (now-)voters don’t know much about some shows on the ballot.
Things were so desperate that the Academy gave away Chromecasts to every member so they could stream the nominees’ episodes.
Even Andy Samberg himself mocked the mere idea of watching every major TV show on the air in the Emmys’ own opening song.

When you couple lack of nominee awareness with thousands voting based on name-recognition and not merit, you get one thing: sweeps.
No, not the ratings kind.

I’m talking a sweeping of important wins by singular “popular” shows. And for all intents and purposes, that’s what happened in all four major sections (Comedy/Limited/Variety/Drama).
When nominated respectively (with a couple exceptions), Veep, Olive Kitteridge, The Daily Show and Game of Thrones won all their awards.
HBO ended up shattering a record over 13 years long. Same with Game of Thrones, which beat The West Wing‘s previous win record with 12 Emmys (and all for its weakest season).
Even Peter Dinklage himself admitted on stage that Better Call Saul‘s Jonathan Banks deserved the win more than him.

What is this, the People’s Choice Awards?

dinklage emmys 2015
And did I mention “Mother’s Mercy” beat The Americans and three of Mad Men‘s finest episodes?

Look, I understand having only a few dozen people decide who wins and loses isn’t the greatest.
But neither is putting the power in the hands of everyone without checking they actual can weigh merit in relation to all the nominees in play during that season.
When you hand that decision to 20,000 people, the award is watered down into an obvious “brand awareness” popularity contest instead of being based on qualitative judgments.

In fact, everything became so predictable with this year’s vote-switch that most people correctly predicted almost all winners of the major categories a while ago.
And here we are in the aftermath.

That isn’t to say there weren’t amazing winners among the lot.

I’m a fan of virtually all the acting wins.
Allison Janney was superb in her song rendition of her acceptance list. In fact, she should sing everyone else’s name-drops.
Congrats are equally in order to John Hamm (finally!) winning his long-overdue Emmy for Don Draper.
Viola Davis’ and Uzo Aduba’s speeches were in their own right fantastic, and historic.

viola davis emmys 2015

I do have to voice my disappointment in Amy Poehler’s lack of Emmy for Leslie Knope, an already-iconic TV character. Hell, it’s even a travesty that Parks and Recreation has been completely shut out of the Emmys (how has Nick Offerman never been nominated for his role as Ron Swanson?).

And no “Emmy acting” discussion would be complete without me mentioning Orphan Black‘s Tatiana Maslany also getting snubbed by the grand prize.
To be fair, who actually expected a win. We got lucky she was even shown on screen.
In a very dull, taped bit.

As for the other winners, it was great to hear Jon Stewart say goodbye to the ceremony (especially after he, with Colbert, gave us some amazing moments over the years).

Jimmy Kimmel was kind of a dick to the nominees and future winner of the best comedy lead actor category he was presenting.
Not only did he jerk the whole audience around, he destroyed and chewed a key piece of memorabilia for the winner: the Emmy winner’s envelope.
Maybe Jeffrey Tambor wanted to frame the envelope with his name written on it? All he got was that heavy golden trophy!

kimmel emmys 2015

Moving on to the actual show itself (because this is a post about the Emmy program as much as its outcome)…

Surprisingly, there weren’t any big “show-stopping” moments. It was overall a very low-key ceremony.
I enjoyed Andy Samberg’s stand-up routine, although he seemed pretty nervous during that opening monologue. I can’t blame it all on him—the audience was frigid (despite the 100-degree heat). People were probably trying to cool off and enjoy the AC after the 100-degree weather we’ve been having.
With that said, they had Scott Aukerman and the Lonely Island, yet the only other “moment” they were able to pull was that “Emmys Can Kill” song.

emmys can kill

The one “big” show thing that happened was the laughable (and controversial) spoiler reel that aired.

Whose idea was it to show literally every final scene of this past year’s series finales?

I also did appreciate the last moments of the show, specifically seeing Tracey Morgan back on his feet and ready for the TV world.

tracy morgan emmys 2015

Overall, I’m not annoyed by this year’s Emmys as much as I’m disappointed in the predictable sweep outcome of this whole voting mess.

I really hope they either switch back to previous years’ model, or at least have some control over the voting process.
An idea would be to limit what you can vote for by having a basic way to verify actual knowledge of all nominees in the categories you’re voting for.

Until that happens, brand awareness will be the name of the game. Or to put it in other words: the Emmy Awards will entirely be the popularity contest they were always on the verge of becoming.

Seven Years of TV Industry

The television industry has evolved more in the past seven years than in its previous seven decades.
That’s a bold statement, I know. Let’s take a look at the business-related stories I did in that time.

One of my very early posts was a manifesto entitled “why TV is where you must be“.

Who would have thought 2 years ago that a small basic-cable movie channel was going to make not only one but two innovative shows, let alone one that wins Best Drama?

That was 2008. The network was AMC. The two shows were Mad Men and Breaking Bad.
Seven years later, AMC’s TV shows are everywhere. Hell, television shows are everywhere. It’s even a banality to say that.

We’ll dig into some of my TV industry predictions tomorrow, namely my “Nine ideas to save television“, also from 2008. In the meantime, let’s take a look at some other classics about the business.

The big NBC 2009 move was to put Jay Leno in primetime, every day. No more NBC dramas. My reaction was, maybe, an over-reaction. “Is NBC killing television?“, I wondered.

If everyone would pull a Zucker, and every network would simply remove dramas from the 10PM slot, original primetime content would be swallowed by clones of clones of clones of shit. […] I’m hoping that FOX/ABC will wake the fuck up and seize this great opportunity to be the underdog; bringing alternative, groundbreaking content to this 10PM slot.
Don’t ruin this for us, guys.

This reaction led, in turn, to a counter-over-reaction: “Is NBC reviving television?
What I was actually talking about though was simple—

As I pointed out yesterday, the 10PM slot is begging to be changed.
Well, not really “begging”.
CBS’ Les Moonves himself declared the other day that “Taking a third [broadcast] competitor out of the marketplace will make us even stronger”, though he said that for different reasons (“‘CSI: Miami’ on Monday at 10 o’clock will beat Jay by a lot. Remember that. By a lot.”).
The Leno-move should not be without consequences for the 10PM slot on the other nets.
I am not talking about drastic schedule changes here (even if I’m guessing it’ll unfortunately come to that — affiliates anyone?).
I am talking here more about quality changes.
We have in one corner C.S.I., and in the other Jay Leno.
Bring on the alternative!
And if there aren’t any alternative on the Big Five, then we sure as hell will tune to other content-providers.
Like Cable.

Yup, still sounds about right seven years later.

We could also talk about my Emmy (2008, 2009, 2010, 2011) and Oscar (2009, 2010, 2011) recaps. I miss doing them. Maybe I should start covering again.

There’s hundreds of industry stories we covered over the years, but there’s only be a handful I really cared to dedicate lengthy articles for. Some we’ll talk about tomorrow (Netflix, the future of the TV industry, etc.).
Others, well, I’ll mention them right now.

Since we’re on the subject of alternative programming, Lordy wrote about potential “new outlets for scripted fare” in the days of 2010. Namely: A&E, Starz, EPIX. Kudos on the foresight.
He also did a great piece about “what’s it gonna take to bring your bubble show back?” Among his solutions: international/DVD sales, other networks, and a producer with clout. Rare options five years back, but now mainstays to save (or bring back) TV series.

On my end, I wrote last year two pieces on the great Stephen Colbert, one in reaction to his Late Late Show announcement, and the other for his last Colbert Report episode.
Now I’m bummed.
Let’s cheer up by reading my review of the Jay Leno Show.

Overall, it was your typical Jay Leno talk-show.
There was no “revolution” here, just me being mostly bored.

Ah, the good old days of NBC bashing. I’m feeling nostalgic.

Reminds me of the time I asked Lorne Michaels “what he did”.

Everyone (including the President himself) is telling you to hire someone being able to do a good Obama impersonation, so you audition great comedians, and then you don’t hire any of them?
What. The. Fuck.

And now, he’s adding two new female cast peeps.
Okay, that’s a good thing.
But then he subsequently fires two other female cast members (Michaela Watkins and Casey Wilson)?!
What. The. Fuck.

[And] according to E!‘s Ted Casablanca, Wilson was asked to loose 30 pounds during the hiatus (and was fired because she didn’t).
What. The. Fuck.

At least Casey Wilson got Happy Endings out of all of this.

Can you believe I’ve been crying about the TV business for seven years now?
I can, but I don’t want to. Otherwise I’ll start crying again.

Let’s see where the TV industry is heading next.

Farewell Stephen Colbert

Which brings us to tonight’s word: End of an era.

There are very few times when the expression “end of an era” is really deserved.
This is one of them. At least, for me.

From Even Stevpehn (or is it Even Stephven?) to The Colbert Report, I basically grew up on Stephen Colbert (TM) (not to be confused with Stephen Colbert). Yes, that sounded dirty.
In the 9+ years the show has (or should I say had) been on the air, I have never missed a single of the 1,447 episodes.

Longtime readers of this blog also know how much I care for the show. In fact, one of my earliest post (over six years ago!) was a simple embed of one of my favorite all-time bits: “Charlene (I’m Right Behind You)”.
There have been several other posts on the subject (like yet another Charlene song).

Right this moment, I don’t have profound things to say about Stephen Colbert (TM) or The Colbert Report that haven’t been said better this past week (and over the years).
Maybe one day, after having processed the end of The Report, I’ll write a piece that’s a little bit deeper or enlightening (yeah, right).

But I just wanted to post something tonight because, well–

I’m going to fucking miss this show.

I’m going to miss the political and cultural satire (duh).
I’m going to miss the amazingly eclectic choice of guests.
I’m going to miss Better Know a District, Cheating Death, Colbert Platinium, the ThreatDown, Yawhweh or No Way, Thought for Food, Tip of the Hat, Wag of the Finger, the Atone Phone–all the other hilarious segments. Too many to count.
I’m going to miss the annual unveiling of his portrait.
I’m going to miss the On Notice board.
I’m going to miss Charlene.
I’m going to miss The Word.

Above all though, I’m going to miss Stephen Colbert (TM).

He’s immortal now, so maybe we’ll see him return to our screens (Highlander reboot anyone?).
In the meantime, we’ll have to be content with The Late Show. I already posted back in April my mixed feelings about the death of Stephen Colbert (TM) in favor of the CBS spot.
It’s way too early to tell what kind of show it will be, but it certainly won’t be The Colbert Report.
That show is gone. The Wikipedia entry replacing “is” with “was”.

I salute you Stephen Colbert (TM). Thank you for 17 years of you.

And that’s the word.

Until next time, I’ll see you in health!