get their product in front of voters when there are no events and no DVDs. This is the first year that they aren’t allowed to send out DVDs [to reduce waste].” To get around that, Disney created its own FYC website that features must-watch episodes and sizzle reels from all of its programs. Other studios are working around the quarantine by buying more radio, digital, and podcast ads and offering up their stars for interviews to outlets like yours truly. That in itself is a doubleedged sword, though: What actor really wants to shill for an Emmy when there are people dying across the country? “Studios are paralyzed by stars who don’t want to do interviews,” says O’Neil. Rather than worry about appearances during such a bleak time, Amazon converted its FYC billboards into “For Your Community” PSAs that promote COVID-related nonprofit organizations. It also gave $1 million to a local business to prepare meals for charities. HBO donated the same amount to an L.A. crisis fund. And Warner Bros. TV is forgoing any outlay. “It felt very tone-deaf to be spending what would amount to millions of dollars on an Emmy campaign when actors and crews are out of work,” explains one insider there. For those who still have to crusade for their talent, there’s a remarkable sense of calm, even hopefulness. Make no mistake: The 72nd annual Emmy Awards on ABC will look and feel a lot different from years past. (Yay to the possibility of no awkward red-carpet questions! Boo to the possibility of no audience at the Microsoft Theater!) But for once, a lot of underdogs feel they finally have a chance to vie for the gold. “This has leveled the playing field,” admits a broadcast-network insider. “Netflix and Amazon used to take over entire spaces for the month of June. They threw events every night. They’d spend bazillions in advertising. Now it feels like nominations will rest on the merits of the programs, which is the way it should be.” → Regina King plots a new extension on the guesthouse where she keeps her trophies OUR DREAM EMMY LINEUP ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY’S TV CRITICS TAKE A LOOK AT THE MAJOR CATEGORIES—AND CONTEMPLATE THE NOMINATIONS THEY’D LOVE TO SEE ON JULY 28 By and Kristen Baldwin Darren Franich of singular visions. An idiosyncratic perfection like would claim six Emmys, and at least one relative would text you: “But what is Is the bust coming? Can Peak TV survive Hollywood’s shutdown? In assembling our 2020 Emmys wish list, we cast aside caution (and predictive wisdom), honoring the shows we love that may represent a final statement from the years of plenty. Television will never be the same. Neither will we, but we’ll keep watching. ALL THE MOVIE THEATERS CLOSED. Albums were delayed. Amazon slowed book deliveries. Broadway went dark. Ticketmaster created fun new ways not to refund concerts. COVID-19 canceled public art, so our springtime of sorrow crucialized television. Thrilling new seasons launched through summer, their postproductions finalized in quarantine. Viewers had time enough at last to get around to a series (or seven) they missed. Fortunately, last decade’s scripted boom cultivated a surplus Fleabag Fleabag?” JULY 2020 EW ● COM 47
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