Monday, May 21, 2007


An article on about the Emmy nomination process makes the following point:

"No disrespect to the CBS soaps, but it is completely unfair for them to garner more votes just because they have more shows. The Emmys need to revamp the (selection) process, perhaps have a select group of people who are intimately involved with the daytime industry, yet not affiliated with any show or network, to select the nominees," a fan commented on the TV Guide Editors' Blog.

This sentiment is repeated over and over again. And it sounds good. Except for one tiny detail. It makes no sense.

When it comes to voting on nominees for Outstanding Drama, production personnel are not allowed to sit on panels featuring their own shows or even shows from their own networks. The three years I served, the East Coast groups were split into two: The folks from P&G viewed the ABC shows and Passions, while the folks from ABC viewed the CBS shows and DOOL. Then all the votes were tallied together. (At the pre-nominations, shows are not ranked against each other, so you can conceivably give the same score to every single show. The numbers are then averaged). So how does having more shows on CBS help the CBS shows garner nominations?

(P.S. Up until a few years ago, ABC had four shows on the air as well, and the Emmy nomination results weren't markedly different.)

Arguably, having a smaller number of voters makes it easier to fix the results your way. After all, it's much easier to organize 20 people to vote as a block, than 200.

Let's say actors from the NBC shows want to give their soaps a boost. All they'd have to do was organize their members into giving the CBS shows very low numbers in the voting process, in the hope that other, more fair-minded voters would give the NBC shows higher scores and thus secure a nomination.

Also, the NBC shows are located together on the West Coast, while the CBS and ABC ones are split between two coasts and two different voting sessions. Another reason why organized cheating should be easier for the NBC shows.

Finally, the third accusation leveled against CBS is that, since they are sister shows, ATWT and GL vote for each other, as do Y&R and B&B. But those are only two shows a piece, while ABC has three sister shows, AMC, OLTL and GH. So their alleged block should be even bigger.

Now, I'm not suggesting that any of the above tricks are employed by any of the shows. In fact, in my experience, I haven't seen cheating or block voting going on at all. Every actor and producer I've ever spoken to, from all three networks, has taken their role as part of the nominating committee very seriously.

But that doesn't make nearly as interesting of a story, does it? What do you think?

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