From the Chairman
Chairman & Chief Executive Officer
This is one of my favorite times of the year, as both a television executive and as a fan of television.
Our favorite series are gearing up for exciting season finales, while shorter-run series that have been off for what seems like years are back on the air. As Academy members, we are overwhelmed with for-your-consideration DVDs and streaming opportunities for the best in television to consider for our Primetime Emmy votes. There are also the annual “save our show” campaigns staged by vocal and loyal fans for series on the fence for pickup. Never before has there been so much incredible content to enjoy and so many ways to enjoy it.
But let’s not forget the development season, as this year eighty-nine pilots are being produced for the five broadcast networks, the most since 2006. Still, it’s not just about the quantity of projects as it is quality. There’s enormous star power both in front of and behind the camera. We are casting stars we’re only used to seeing on the big screen, like Eddie Murphy and Robin Williams (who got their starts on the small screen).
Just as impressive is all the star power behind the cameras, with Steven Spielberg, J.J. Abrams, Chuck Lorre, Guillermo del Toro, Joss Whedon, Jerry Bruckheimer, Bill Lawrence, Will Ferrell, Adam McKay, Seth MacFarlane, Shawn Levy, Shawn Ryan, Peter Tolan, Peter Chernin, Katherine Pope, John Wells, Tim Bevan, Jon Favreau and Robert DeNiro all in the producing chairs for series up for the primetime schedule on ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC.
And that doesn’t even include the incredible number of original series on basic and premium cable as well as digital platforms. Ever since HBO started airing original programming in 1977, we’ve come to expect excellence in programming from all of the premium channels, be it Showtime, Starz or HBO. They raised the bar for quality across the board, and that standard continues today with series like True Blood, Shameless, Dexter, Girls, Spartacus and Game of Thrones, to name a very few.
Meanwhile, basic cable networks are earning staggering ratings, critical acclaim and awards for shows like Mad Men, Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead. Netflix’s impressive House of Cards disappointed only in that it left viewers wanting more (might I suggest The West Wing, available on Netflix and Amazon, as a great option to get you through the time before a second season?).
It will be interesting to see how May plays out and see how the schedules will look for the fall.
Meanwhile, here at the Academy, our awards department has been busy with preparations for this year’s Primetime Emmys competition, which officially opened in late March. On March 19 our activities department brought our members an amazing evening with the cast and creators of the HBO drama Game of Thrones, which was held at the storied TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. And on March 21, at the Sheraton Universal, our foundation, along with Variety, hosted the second-annual TV Summit, which brought together leaders from throughout the industry.
Indeed, it’s an exciting time of year, and all of in the industry are fortunate to have the opportunity to play a role.