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Emmy FYC events bring back stars and writers a year after the strikes




Emmy FYC events bring back stars and writers a year after the strikes

A year after the Hollywood strikes made the Emmy campaign a bit of a modest undertaking, the For Your Consideration events are back in a big way in 2024. The networks, studios and streamers have already launched a slew of activations to celebrate their awards contenders, on top of the usual circular panels, with their stars back on stage, front and centre.

What a difference a year makes. In 2023, the FYC events were forced to pivot when the Writers Guild strike kicked off on May 2 – just as the campaign kicked into high gear. In most cases, series stars did not feel comfortable going ahead with events (and in many cases even declined media interviews despite still being allowed). Then, talent hit the picket lines for their own strike in mid-July, right after the Emmy nominations were announced.

At that point it was up to directors and artisans to promote their shows. “We definitely did a lot of jazz hands last year to make people feel good,” says one award winner of organizing events while dealing with restrictions.

That is not the case this time. There are still plenty of challenges as the industry tries to return to a sense of normality, in an environment where no one has quite figured out the new normal. But despite all that – or perhaps because of it – audiences eagerly return to celebrate their favorite shows.

“I feel like everyone seems rejuvenated after last year,” said another award winner. “Academy and Guild voters seem very excited about attending the FYC events. There is a strong desire to attend anything that involves a great line-up of talent, and visitors are very happy when they can greet the talent and take a quick snapshot.”

Another award winner says: “The crowd, the voters are happy to be back. The talent is happy to be back. It just feels like, ‘Oh yeah, this is what we do.’ It’s not just a lot of window dressing. This is legit.”

It can be a struggle to find talent who isn’t happy about being nominated for projects they filmed a year or more ago. But after being sidelined during the strikes, even they seem energized on the campaign trail — and they’re surprising publicists by doing things they might not have done before.

“It feels like there’s a sense of excitement that I haven’t felt in recent years,” says one executive. “I really see our talent taking to the streets and mingling with the crowd, rather than just going straight to their cars after the panel is over.”

Part of that could come from the fact that in many cases these shows or seasons premiered without much fanfare during the strikes last summer or early fall. Because there was no real premiere
or media junket to promote the work, this all feels fresh.

“Instead of being tired and being asked the same thing they’ve answered a million times, it actually feels like they’re answering these questions for the first time,” says an insider. “And I think enthusiasm is contagious when the audience feels it.”

Jessica Gunning, Richard Gadd and Nava Mau at Netflix’s official ATAS screening of “Baby Reindeer” (Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for Netflix)
Getty Images for Netflix

There are also quite a few buzzy shows on the campaign trail that audiences will want to catch a glimpse of, like Netflix’s “Baby Reindeer,” Prime Video’s “Fallout” and Peacock’s “The Traitors.” The panel ‘The Traitors’, for example, was packed with visitors who partied well into the night.

Another director is surprised that even “the things we thought would be small have been packed,” adding, “We’ve had rejections every night. I think people are happy when they’re gone. Especially because I think they felt burned from last year.”

There may also be a darker reason why these events are so well attended. While a lot of production has returned – and A-list stars are in huge demand, making planning for these FYC events extremely difficult – production is still not back to previous levels. Since so many people are still unemployed, that may be one of the reasons that there are more FYC participants than normal.

“You just talk to voters and a lot of them say, ‘I can’t get a job,’” sighs one director. “I feel for them.” The FYC events are a good outlet for free entertainment, as well as food and drinks, which may also be a welcome perk for TV Academy members who are still struggling economically.

It’s one thing for Emmy campaigners to strike the right tone while many have yet to recover from the strikes. But it’s also important not to be tone-deaf in the midst of troubling current events.

“Given the state of the industry, with all the protests happening, you just want to be sensitive to what’s happening in the world around you,” says one executive. This also applies to these companies, most of which have been hit by layoffs and cutbacks. One executive notes, “’Do more with less’ is definitely the mantra.”

But it’s still a much more manageable problem than last year, when streamers and studios opened their FYC homes right as the strikes hit. They’re bringing these activations back with a vengeance this year and the events calendar is stacked.

“It’s become something that everyone does now,” says one director. “I think it’s efficient because it’s a good way to campaign for a lot of things. You just bring someone in for one event and you get to expose them to the rest of your slate.

Netflix’s ‘FYSee’ spot opened at Sunset Las Palmas in Los Angeles on May 12, kicking off with ‘Griselda’, followed by events for ‘The Crown’, ‘Love Is Blind’, ‘Selling Sunset’, ‘The Gentlemen’, “3 Body Problem”, “Ripley” and more. The space included immersive, in-world activations for even more titles.

Carol Burnett and Kristen Wiig attend Apple TV+’s official Emmy FYC event “Palm Royale” (Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images)
Getty Images

Apple’s Emmy FYC home at the Hollywood Athletic Club featured panels and displays for shows such as “Masters of the Air,” “Silo,” “Palm Royale,” “Lessons in Chemistry” and “The Morning Show.” The streamer also planned pop-up spaces in Westfield Century City, the Shops at Sportsmen’s Lodge and Pacific Palisades Village.

At Amazon, the “Prime Experience” at Nya West included exhibits and panels for “Fallout,” “Expats,” and “Mr. and Mrs. Smith.” NBCU’s FYC Emmy Showcase at The Aster hosted events for ‘Top Chef,’ ‘The Voice,’ ‘Ted,’ ‘Apples Never Fall’ and more. Variety teamed up with Sony Pictures Television for an FYC evening dedicated to shows like ‘For All Mankind’, ‘Platonic’, ‘Twisted Metal’ and ‘Justified: City Primeval’.

Back at the DGA Theater in Hollywood, the Emmy-themed “Disney FYC Fest” officially opens June 1 with “Fargo.” Like last year, costume and memorabilia displays will be installed in the DGA lobby, along with social media photo opps.

So where does the return of star-studded panels leave the artisans, the artisans like clients, music supervisors, production designers and more, who were the heroes of last Emmy season? One director says they haven’t been forgotten, even as the talent is back in the spotlight. “We will not abandon them,” she says. “We are certainly campaigning against them as well and giving them a moment.”