Emmy producer defends snubs: 'The Emmys are not a popular choice award'

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Upset about CBS’ The Good Wife being snubbed by the Emmys? What about James Spader in The Blacklist, or Tatiana Maslany in Orphan Black? Well, that’s too damn bad! Longtime industry award show executive producer Don Mischer pushed back at critics Sunday who were wondering why broadcast network shows were so roundly left out of¬†last week’s nominations, which were led by shows like HBO’s Game of Thrones and FX’s Fargo.

“The Emmys are not a popular choice award,”¬†Mischer sternly said. “The Emmys are an industry award. The Emmys are determined by the men and women who create television. That’s why for those of us who are lucky enough to win an Emmy, it means a lot because it’s our competitors and our peers that have given that to us. I think the way it’s set up and the way it’s going to work again this year is that the nominations came from people in the industry who make the product. How many people watch a particular product I don’t think is as important as the quality of the product, and that’s been reflected in the nominations that you’ve seen four days ago.”

While Television Academy chairman Bruce Rosenblum added, “When you look at the dramas that were nominated, I’m not sure which one of those you’d move out for number 7 or 8. The top shows are all terrific. While we’ll get criticism for one or two particular shows not getting nominated, I think membership as a whole did a terrific job of nominating the best of television this year.”

Critics suggested the Academy create a new category for shows that run for a full broadcast season — since broadcast executives have pointed out that it’s very tough for producers creating 22 episodes to compete with series that only have to make eight episodes (like HBO’s True Detective). Rosenblum noted that in the last five years there are 40 percent more dramas being submitted, and 60 percent more comedies, so such a change is indeed possible. “It’s something the Academy should take a look at … it’s on the list,” he said. “We look at rules every year, and if the executive community decides it’s appropriate, it’s entirely possible that we will. But if we do that it’s not in reaction to criticism or reaction to this year.”

NBC Entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt noted the lack of nominations for NBC shows can sting a little, even though nominations don’t seem to boost a network’s bottom line. “Emotionally we all care, in spite of the fact you tell yourself it doesn’t matter, and I honestly don’t know if there’s any evidence that says one more viewer comes because they hear we won an Emmy for something or were nominated,” Greenblatt said. “But of course you want that validation … at the same time there’s great shows on so many networks and cable has the advantage of doing material that’s darker and more interesting and going into subject matter that feels cooler than some of the stuff that we can do. It’s just a fact of life. Should we debate that James Spader is one of the best actors working on television or anywhere? Sure, we can debate that. But at end of the day, I’m not sure what good that does us.”

The Blacklist executive producer John Eisdendrath also noted his disappointment about Spader. “I would be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed, and I think he’s completely deserving of it,” he said. “The competition is fierce and that’s the reality … we just have to continue to do the best show we can and hope that we’re on long enough or people to reconsider the decisions they made.”

As for this year’s ceremony, which airs Monday, Aug. 25, host Seth Meyers assured critics that the telecast won’t be quite as utterly morbid as last. “We want to be upbeat and have fun,” Meyers. “I don’t think we’re guided by last year’s … certainly we don’t want it to feel morbid. And we were very happy with the nominees because [the list contained] a lot of shows we watch and think are deserving.”

In case you missed it, here’s our list of snubs.

Marc Snetiker contributed to this report

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