Tag Archives: Moonlight

Emmy Nominations: How They Work and Who They Benefit (2008)

[The following is a post I wrote last year around this time, explaining how the Emmy Awards nomination process works. Tomorrow is the deadline for the first stage of the process, where the popular vote will be completed and the Top 10s will be tabulated. Look for more coverage here at Cultural Learnings of the various categories as the process continues, but in the meantime enjoy this updated explanation.]

Tomorrow, June 20th, the first stage of the Emmy Nomination process ends. Getting nominated for an Emmy Award is not an easy task, and the entire process was recently made even more complicated in an effort to create fairness. To help you follow the process as it unfolds over the next month, here’s a rundown on how the decision is made and who benefits from each stage.

Stage One: The Popular Vote

How it Works: Voters select their favourite candidate from all individuals who have submitted themselves for nomination. They read For Your Consideration ads, watch screeners, but in the end likely just pick who they like, allowed to vote for as many as Ten candidates who gets more points the higher they are on their list.

Who it Benefits: Shows that are either perennial nominees or extremely buzz-worthy, and actors that are well-known in Hollywood. Thus, voters don’t really even need to see what these candidates have to offer, they just assume they’re really good. Examples of shows that perform well at this stage are big winners last year like 30 Rock, current awards season sensation Mad Men, or highly rated shows like Grey’s Anatomy, while perennial Emmy favourites like Julia Louis-Dreyfus (New Adventures of Old Christine) or William Shatner (Boston Legal) will place highly based on their past acclaim.

Who it Harms: Ratings-deprived, critically acclaimed programs without any of the above, and actors or actresses who lack star power or past Emmys attention. Friday Night Lights and The Wire are generally the two best examples, shows that so few people watch that their unquestioned quality (Mostly unquestioned, anyways) goes unrecognized when they can’t make their Top 10. Performers, meanwhile, have an even tougher time even on hit shows; multiple Lost performers will make it onto the next part of the process, but for relative unknowns like Yunjin Kim standing out amongst over 100 other names is tougher. It also does nothing for fan favourite shows, as Emmy voters don’t tend to watch recently canceled shows like Jericho or Moonlight, and therefore they have very little chance of emerging out of this round.

Stage Two: The Top 10 Run-Off

How it Works: The Top 10 series from the popular vote are isolated and screened in front of a blue ribbon panel. Each show/actor/actress selects an episode that will be screened for the panel if it makes the Top 10. They also prepare a short written statement explaining their show and the episode in context with the show. For example, should Mad Men make the Best Drama Series panel (Count on it), they will be screening the shows’s pilot, “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes.”

Then, each member of the panel will rank the shows from 1 to 10, and a final ranking will be decided.

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Upfronts Analysis: CBS 2008-2009 Fall Schedule

“Highest Standards in Television”

CBS 2008-2009 Fall Schedule

Last year, CBS’ Upfronts were a shock to fans of Jericho, a drama that had struggled mightily in the face of scheduling woes and was upended by a network with extremely high standards; heck, that year they even got rid of Close to Home, a show with much higher ratings but just not enough balance between buzz and Nielsens for the network to continue on that path. They wanted things to be a little hip, but not too hip, with good ratings as well. In other words, they’ve got an idea of what they want.

And now, a year later, things aren’t much different: Shark is getting the boot for not having enough buzz, and Moonlight is being tossed out with the bathwater because its ratings just aren’t enough to match its overwhelming and motivated fan base.  This news broke yesterday, but today we get to learn which shows are replacing them, and whether or not CBS’ high standards are going to just have more casualties in a year’s time.

New Shows

Eleventh Hour – Thursdays at 10pm

It gets the biggest lead-out in television amongst demo viewers, so there’s something to be said for the potential quality of this British import based on the BBC miniseries starring Patrick Stewart. It comes from Jerry Bruckheimer, who also produces CSI, and its real barrier is that is lacks star power (Rufus Seawell is not exactly a household name). It will be facing off with ABC’s import of Life on Mars, and I actually think that this show’s premise (Investigating abuses of science and scientific crimes) seems less intriguing at the end of the day. This is the first time the network has tested a show in the slot since Shark got moved from it, so we’ll see how it turns out.

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Upfronts Analysis – CBS Cancels ‘Moonlight’

Ladies and gentlemen, Les Moonves has a death wish.

There is no question that there is justifiable reason to cancel Moonlight, just as there was justifiable reason to cancel Jericho – they both suffered from low ratings, and in Moonlight’s case it never reached the early highs of Jericho’s run. The show was in creative turmoil from day one, barely settled on a cast in time to start shooting, and never became a buzzworthy drama (Something that CBS attributes to the show’s lack of creative vision). Plus, CBS set a high standard for Fridays last year when they canceled the fairly highly-rated “Close to Home” in favour of the vampire drama.

And yet, I don’t think they seem to understand how these shows, shows with passionate fan bases as opposed to broad ratings success, work. You would think that 10,000 lbs of peanuts would have taught them a lesson that a show with organized fans is probably not the kind of show you want to cancel, and definitely not the kind of show that you want to cancel in a strike-addled season that creates an instant handicap for any series.

Fans of Moonlight even saw this coming, emerging in a rare pre-cancellation drive for interest and support. Within months of its premiere, it was topping the charts at Hey! Nielsen, a site that Jericho fans once flocked to in support of their own show, and fans eventually organized a nationwide blood drive to help support the Red Cross and their favourite show. And yet, all of these efforts weren’t enough to save their favourite show from being booted off the airwaves.

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Cultural Learnings’ 2008-2009 Network Upfronts Analysis

Last year, Cultural Learnings produced a lot of hits (And perhaps a few new readers) during its coverage of the Network Upfronts, a process wherein each network reveals the shows that will make it onto their Fall or Winter schedules the following year. There were a lot of surprises last year: Jericho’s cancellation and subsequent campaign couldn’t have been predicted, and as a whole there were a lot of shows on the bubble that squeaked through.

This year, we can’t say the same thing: a network like ABC announced most of its pickups a while ago, and is leaving little room for new shows, while NBC announced a version of its schedule a month ago so we already know its lineup (Or what it looked like in April). For anyone following the trades, there’s few surprises to be found in these announcements, so now the real drama will be how your Fall viewing schedule will emerge. And whether Moonlight, the show that has been dominating at sites like Hey! Nielsen, will be able to avoid becoming another Jericho (And if it does, in all seriousness, has CBS not learned their lesson?).

So, at Cultural Learnings I plan to focus on analysis of how the schedules align, and how each network has adapted or not adapted post-strike to accommodate last year’s freshman offerings and this year’s foreign imports (A certain trend). Below, you’ll find a nice combination of helpful links and, eventually, links to our Upfronts coverage.

Cultural Learnings’ 2008-2009 Upfronts Analysis

NBC – Analysis from April (Open Letter, Office Spinoff, Timed-Friday Night Lights)

  • We can expect Jimmy Fallon to be confirmed to be taking over for Conan (Already confirmed, in fact), along with potentially more information on the elusive Office spinoff and on some of the neetwork’s new series.

ABC – Full Fall Schedule Analysis

  • New Shows: Life on Mars, various reality shows, Scrubs, The Goode Family
  • Returning Shows: Eli Stone, Boston Legal, Private Practice, Dirty Sexy Money, Pushing Daisies, etc.
  • Canceled Shows: October Road, Men in Trees, Miss/Guided, Cavemen, Carpoolers

The CW – Full Fall Schedule Analysis

  • New Shows: 90210, Surviving the Filthy Rich, Stylista
  • Returning Shows: Reaper, Gossip Girl, One Tree Hill, Supernatural, etc.
  • Canceled Shows: Girlfriends, Aliens in America, Life is Wild, WWE Smackdown, Beauty & the Geek

CBS – Coming Wednesday May 14th

  • Moonlight has officially been canceled (Read Full Story)
  • Moonlight is a huge cult favourite, but could be gone in favour of Les Moonves’ personal choices. This would result in another campaign, this time with more than peanuts to deal with.

FOX – Coming Thursday May 15th

  • FOX’s pickups are pretty clear, with most returning shows confirmed and big budget shows from Abrams and Whedon already announced. Scheduling is the only real drama.

Links to Other Coverage

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