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Emmys: Television Academy Pushes Last-Minute Voters As Ballot Deadline Looms Tonight

Deadline logo Deadline 6/26/2017 Pete Hammond
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The Television Academy just sent out what presumably is its final notice reminding its nearly 22,000 eligible members that they still can vote in this year’s contest. Online balloting (there is no other choice) closes 10 tonight PT.

During the past two weeks the Academy has sent out a number of these reminders, even an emergency one when its help line went on the fritz and it had to get another one up and running quickly for those members who just can’t figure out how to press “send.” The voting is easy, but the ballot goes on forever; it took me over an hour to choose among numerous candidates in the 20 or so program categories and five for writing achievements (I am in the writers branch). As the Academy promised, in order to maintain fairness, it mixed it up with some categories listing entries A to Z and vice versa, or just starting in the middle of the alphabet and working their way forward or backward.

It is interesting to note that in writing categories, some series entered just one episode (wise), while others entered nearly all of their season’s scripts (not wise). The sheer number of contenders is mind boggling across the board, and, in a new accounting method, the Academy has eliminated any attempt at weighting the ballot by requiring a listing of preferences; instead, it simply asks voters to name as many shows as they want. So conceivably, if you just can’t make up your mind, you could select nearly 200 entries in some categories. One executive of a network with numerous possibilities called last week to ask if it would hurt its prime contender (and perennial nominee) if its voters also were to vote for all their other shows in the same category that don’t have a much of a chance (the answer is no). “We know it’s a lost cause, but we like to honestly tell the producers we voted for them,” said this politically savvy exec.

At a lunch Sunday at which there were numerous Emmy voters, one told me she still hadn’t voted but was a bit overwhelmed by all the FYC events she had been attending. “My favorite one ever was actually last year for The Path, which was held at Hollywood Forever Cemetery. The food was great, ” she said, adding that of the two streamers — Amazon and Netflix — that took over large buildings for nightly FYC events, she particularly was impressed with Amazon, again because of “the food.” I asked if she got any of the Netflix blankets handed out at most of its FYC events. “Oh yeah. I have five, so I am giving most of them away,” she said (I have two. My cats love them). “I had to turn my second bedroom into a storage space just to sort all the endless screener packages I got,” she added. “They are everywhere.”

As I previously wrote the Phase I campaign has been nuts this year, but I am happy to say the episode of the TruTV series Adam Ruins Everything in which I appeared was sent to Emmy voters via an insert in Emmy magazine, and TruTV has been campaigning it with ads and strategically placed billboards around town with the cheeky tagline, “Ruined Awards Shows. Still Needs Your Vote.” Titled “Adam Ruins Hollywood,” the episode explores the absurd lengths to which people go in order to win awards. I played myself, shrunken (via the magic of green screen and special effects) to the size of an actual gold statuette. Even though it is a comedy hybrid, it is on the ballot in the Outstanding Informational Series or Special category. That apparently is because truth in the case of Hollywood’s obsessive awards seasons is stranger than fiction. The star of the show, Adam Conover, has a podcast as well on which I recently guested to discuss the wackiness of the whole process. You can check it out here.

Emmy nominations will be revealed on July 13. The Creative Arts Emmy ceremonies take place on September 9 and 10 at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, followed by the Primetime Emmys airing September 17 on CBS.

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