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FX Launches Covert Emmy Promotional Campaign for ‘The Americans’

Variety logo Variety 6/11/2017 Cynthia Littleton

FX has launched an appropriately covert campaign to push “The Americans” for Emmy Awards consideration.

“The Americans” revolves around a married couple in Washington, D.C. who are long-embedded spies for their native Soviet Union. FX has taken digital and print ads in the Sunday editions of the New York Times, Washington Post and Los Angeles Times that point readers to the TheRussiansAreHere.org website. That URL sends users to FX’s existing For Your Consideration website on behalf of “The Americans,” which features links to all 13 episodes of the show’s fifth season and various promotional material on the show and its key players.

Voting for the first round of Emmy nominations begins Monday and runs through June 26.

FX also took the extraordinary step of buying a 15-second TV spot in CBS’ “Face the Nation” and other Sunday political roundtable shows. The provocative spot echoed the print ads with a shot of the U.S. Capitol building with the red hammer-and-sicyle Soviet flag flying overhead, while the soundtrack features a Red Army Chorus-style rendition of “America the Beautiful” but with lyrics in Russian. It ends with a voice-over announcer declaring “The Russians are here.”

The cabler clearly aims to capitalize on the recent ratcheting of tensions between the U.S. and Russia. The two countries are at odds on numerous geopolitical concerns, notably the civil war in Syria. And last week former FBI director James Comey testified before Congress there was no doubt in his mind that hackers directed by the Russian government sought to meddle in the 2016 presidential election.

“The Americans” has long been a critical darling but it never generated much Emmy heat until last year, when it grabbed noms for drama series and lead drama acting bids for stars Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell. FX is clearly looking to generate some buzz for the show with its unusual FYC promotional efforts, which may well cause a stir with TV news viewers who are unaware of the show.

“The Americans” wrapped its fifth season last month. The Amblin TV drama is set for its sixth and final season next year.

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