The Problem with Predicting the Popular
July 12th, 2009
There are a lot of reasons why my Emmy coverage has been less extensive than previous years leading up to this year’s nominations on Thursday. I’ve been a bit busier with academic work, there’s been a bit more Summer TV to cover, and various other time restraints, first and foremost. But more importantly, the Emmy Nominations process has changed this year to a process that is considerably more difficult to analyze.
This isn’t to say that I won’t be making predictions over the next three days, or that I haven’t been thinking out various scenarios without putting them into blog post form. Rather, because the nominations being based on entirely the popular vote, the predictions being made are without much objective analysis. Before, when panels viewed submitted material in order to make their decisions, we could judge the episodes chosen compared to one another, and decided which one was objectively better, or objectively more suited to Emmy voters. This time around, however, there are no submissions: whatever six shows, or six actors, get the most votes are the ones who will be nominated for Emmys.
The result is that we prognosticators of Emmy have become fortune tellers, attempts to read tea leaves in an effort to decide what the Emmy voters think is popular or deserving of attention. Will last year’s nominees be safe? Will a larger number of veteran performers make it in? Will network series benefit from their wider viewing audience, or will cable series benefit from more targeted advertising campaigns? These are all questions that we can’t really answer in an objective fashion, which leaves us to attempt to think like Emmy voters.
And, well, that’s not easy.