Awards HQ Aug. 2: Emmy Nominee Awareness Survey; Quibi to Roku; Univision’s Awards Show Growth; More!

Greetings from Variety Awards Headquarters! Today is Aug. 2, 2021, which means it’s 17 days until final-round voting starts on Aug. 19; 28 days until final voting ends on Aug. 30; and 48 days until the Primetime Emmys telecast on Sept. 19.

GET YOUR VACCINE. You want to attend the 73rd Emmy Awards this year? You better be vaxxed up, as the Television Academy made it clear last week that audiences for both the Creative Arts and Primetime ceremonies will require proof that you’ve had the shot.

It’s no surprise, given the sudden rise in cases of the Delta variant of COVID-19 across the country, including in Los Angeles County. And it’s being spread by folks who have mostly been stubborn about refusing the vaccine. (And in the process, hurting things even more for the people who truly can’t be vaccinated for health reasons.)

EVERY event is now requiring vaccination proof, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Emmys also require a negative COVID test before entry. That’s been the case for other events, including the recent “Ted Lasso” premiere that I attended. If “Ted Lasso” required a test and vaccination, then I would expect the Emmys to do the same.

The next question will be whether masks will also be required — and/or if the ceremony will be moved outdoors. Like I mentioned last week, the TV Academy’s recent LA Area Emmys were held outside, and it looked lovely. It may also now be necessary. Stay tuned, of course.

Now on to this week’s newsletter. Don’t forget, send any burning questions you have about this year’s rules and ceremonies; also, pass along any fun things you’re doing to campaign! Now, let’s get going!

Emmy Awareness Survey: Here Are the Nominated Shows That Audiences Have Heard Of, Have Seen and Deem ‘Excellent’

It’s a question that we always have about the nominated Emmy series: What have audiences actually heard of, and what have they seen? Greg Durkin, the principal at research firm Guts + Data, has some stats. Guts + Data surveyed 2,400 teen and adult consumers to check their awareness, whether they’ve watched the show, and if so, if they deemed it “excellent.” Longer-running shows have more awareness, of course. Respondents were shown a poster and the show’s title and list of stars. Here’s what came back, and clearly the Lucasfilm/Marvel properties on Disney Plus had a leg up thanks to those franchises; I was surprised “This Is Us” didn’t have more awareness, but perhaps that’s a reminder of the challenges facing broadcast TV. And as we sometimes suspect, some of the most popular and most-discussed shows among critics and in TV biz circles aren’t necessarily as well-known in the wider world. Here’s what the firm found:

AWARE (percentage)

“Black-ish” 71%
“The Mandalorian” 68%
“WandaVision” 62%
“Cobra Kai” 60%
“The Handmaid’s Tale” 59%
“This is Us” 56%
“The Queen’s Gambit” 52%
“The Crown” 49%
“Bridgerton” 48%
“The Underground Railroad” 41%
“The Boys” 36%
“Ted Lasso” 33%
“Emily in Paris” 29%
“The Flight Attendant” 26%
“Lovecraft Country” 26%
“Mare of Easttown” 26%
“Pen15” 25%
“The Kominsky Method” 23%
“Pose” 22%
“Hacks” 18%
“I May Destroy You” 15%

SEEN (percentage)

“The Mandalorian” 31%
“WandaVision” 30%
“Black-ish” 29%
“Mare of Easttown” 29%
“Cobra Kai” 24%
“The Queen’s Gambit” 21%
“This is Us” 21%
“Bridgerton” 19%
“The Handmaid’s Tale” 19%
“The Boys” 17%
“The Crown” 15%
“Lovecraft Country” 11%
“The Underground Railroad” 11%
“Emily in Paris” 10%
“Ted Lasso” 9%
“The Flight Attendant” 9%
“Pen15” 9%
“The Kominsky Method” 8%
“Pose” 7%
“Hacks” 5%
“I May Destroy You” 4%

RATED “EXCELLENT” (percentage)

“The Mandalorian” 60%
“The Queen’s Gambit” 60%
“Mare of Easttown” 59%
“I May Destroy You” 58%
“Pose” 57%
“WandaVision” 55%
“Lovecraft Country” 54%
“Hacks” 52%
“Bridgerton” 51%
“Cobra Kai” 50%
“The Handmaid’s Tale” 49%
“The Kominsky Method” 49%
“The Underground Railroad” 49%
“The Boys” 48%
“The Crown” 47%
“Pen15” 47%
“Ted Lasso” 46%
“Emily in Paris” 45%
“This is Us” 44%
“The Flight Attendant” 41%
“Black-ish” 38%

Awards Circuit Column: My Annual Plea for Why 10 Is the Perfect Nomination Number for Top Categories

In last week’s column, I suggested that TV Academy voters got it mostly right with the 2021 Emmy nominations. But what if I told you there was an easy way for them to get it even more mostly right?

Yes, welcome to my annual plea for the Emmys to expand some of its key categories to a nice round 10 slots. Perhaps I’m a broken record on this, but hear me out. Peak TV is still alive and well, and even in a pandemic year, the volume of original scripted fare is astronomical. Granted, basic cable has pulled back from first-run dramas and comedies, but the rise of new streaming services has made up for it — and has brought more so-called prestige fare to the forefront.

I know this is in direct contrast to the prevailing feeling this year that it was a struggle to identify enough nominees for this year’s ballots. All season long, I heard a lot of TV Academy voters and pundits bemoan a dearth of major Emmy contenders. With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing production delays on hits like HBO’s “Succession,” and past favorites like FX’s “Atlanta” taking their sweet time to return, were there even enough worthy options this year?

The TV Academy expanded the number of outstanding comedy and drama nominees to a permanent eight slots last year, but I’ll go ahead and be the contrarian and argue that it’s still not enough.

Think about it — for decades, there were just three (and maybe four, if you counted PBS) networks filling five slots in the key drama and comedy categories. Not everything was golden, but there was room to recognize most of TV’s top offerings. In 2021, the amount of eligible fare has more than doubled from those days. But the number of nominees has not.

For all this talk of comedy in crisis, look at the stellar crop of this year’s nominees: “Ted Lasso,” “Hacks,” “The Flight Attendant,” “Cobra Kai,” “The Kominsky Method,” “Black-ish,” “Pen15.” (OK, fine, and “Emily in Paris.”) And then think about the shows that didn’t make the cut but easily could have (and should have), like “Mythic Quest,” “Girls5eva,” “Superstore,” “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist.” You could have gotten to 10 and still had snubs.

Read the full column here.

WATCH MY SHOW: ‘UFO’ Director Mark Monroe Fills Out Our Survey

J.J. Abrams is ready to get to the bottom of unidentified flying objects, and Showtime is giving him the platform to do just that. Abrams’ Bad Robot and Glen Zipper are behind “UFO,” a four-part docu-series that will look at the phenomenon of mysterious objects in the sky and “what clandestine influence the American government, lucrative private companies and the military may have in shielding the truth behind extraterrestrial phenomena to further their own agendas.”

Mark Monroe (“Icarus”) and Paul Crowder (“Riding Giants”) will direct the series, which comes as new attention is placed on what the government knows about UFOs, and what it may or may not be telling us. The series comes in the wake of a 2017 New York Times article that revealed that the Pentagon had been secretly tracking UFOs for years. We asked Monroe to fill out our “Watch My Show!” survey and share why we should tune in.

Sum up your show’s pitch in one sentence.
A critical, but open-minded exploration of UFO and unexplained phenomena, told through the perspectives of believers and non-believers alike, that takes audiences on an exciting and often times unsettling ride.

What’s an alternate title for your show?
“UFO: Truth is Scarier than Fiction,” or my alt alt: “Are You Really Sure You Want to Believe?”

What do we need to know before tuning in?
Our series is largely inspired by the sudden seriousness of UFO coverage from credible outlets, in fact, journalistic standard bearers like The New York Times and Washington Post. We wanted to dig into these stories flooding our news cycle as well as explore the context of our very complicated history with the subject matter, while at the same time offering audiences the kind of riveting, “raise the hair on the back of your neck” storytelling they would expect from a scripted series about UFO phenomena.

Give us an equation for your show. (Blank plus blank minus blank times blank, etc.)
UFO’s and unexplained phenomena + Naval Radar images – The National Enquirer + NY Times + Eyewitness accounts – Pentagon misinformation X Bad Robot = Belief/Disbelief and almost religious fervor on both sides.

What’s the best thing someone said about your show?
Every time I think I’m pretty much settled on what I believe the truth is about UFOs, one of your characters has me doubting what I believe and tipping me over to the other side… and then the pendulum swings back again!

If you could work on any other series in TV, what would it be?
I just got back from my first family vacation in two years and we spent much of it at a big hotel in Hawaii. Having lived it, I’m going with “The White Lotus.” I have missed Mike White.

Finish this sentence: “If you like _______, you’ll love our show.”
If you like 60 Minutes and The X-Files in equal measure, you’ll love our show.

“UFO” premieres on Sunday, August 8, at 9 p.m. ET on Showtime.

Burning Emmy Question Corner: Why Is Quibi Still Credited With Nominees Now Running on Roku?

Roku scored its first-ever Emmy nominations this year, via “Die Hart,” “Mapleworth Murders” and “Reno 911!” But here’s the catch: Technically, those three shows are still credited to Quibi, since that now-dead platform was where all three programs originally appeared.

Now, next year, that may change: “Die Hart” has been renewed for Season 2, and if it returns to the Emmy race next year, that season would be identified as a Roku show. The ghost of Quibi lives on.

Here are this year’s Quibi… er, Roku nominations:

Kevin Hart, “Die Hart”
John Travolta, “Die Hart”
John Lutz, “Mapleworth Murders”
J. B. Smoove, “Mapleworth Murders”

Nathalie Emmanuel, “Die Hart”
Paula Pell, “Mapleworth Murders”
Kerri Kenney-Silver, “Reno 911!”

“Reno 911!”

Awards Circuit Podcast: Reneé Elise Goldsberry on the Moment That Tripped Her Up in Every ‘Hamilton’ Performance

Reneé Elise Goldsberry is stunned at how “Hamilton” keeps paying career dividends. Five years after winning a Tony for starring in the hit Broadway musical, the filmed version is now a major contender at the Emmys — with Goldsberry among the nominees.

“Sometimes I wake up and pinch myself,” Goldsberry says of her Emmy nomination in the supporting actress in a limited or anthology series or movie category for “Hamilton.” Despite having three chances at landing a nomination, she says she never saw it coming. But in this episode of the Awards Circuit Podcast, Goldsberry calls it a “gift from God.” Listen to Variety’s Jazz Tangcay‘s interview with Goldsberry below!

Also on this episode of the Awards Circuit Podcast, Variety co-editor-in-chief Cynthia Littleton joins us to discuss this year’s Emmy nominations in the key drama acting categories and talk about her Variety cover story featuring Stephen Colbert.

Variety’s Emmy edition of the “Awards Circuit” podcast is hosted by Michael Schneider, Jazz Tangcay and Danielle Turchiano and is your one-stop listen for lively conversations about the best in television. Each week during Emmy season, “Awards Circuit” features interviews with top TV talent and creatives; discussions and debates about awards races and industry headlines; and much, much more. Subscribe via Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify or anywhere you download podcasts. New episodes post every Thursday.

Univision’s ‘Premios Juventud’ Bucks the Trend: An Awards Show That Has Actually Seen Ratings Growth

Broadcast TV doesn’t have many great stories to tell these days, but they’re celebrating over at Univision, which reports that it will end the July 2021 sweep as a Top 3 network in primetime in key adults 18-49 and adults 18-34 demos, beating CBS, Fox, The CW, Telemundo and all cable networks.

As a matter of fact, the Spanish-language network averaged 1.6 million viewers in July, up 15% from last year, 684,000 viewers in adults 18-49 (+28% vs. July 2020) and 287,000 viewers adults 18-34 (+25% vs. July 2020). That’s Univision’s highest July since 2017.

Driving those increases is live events, especially sports. Univision’s telecast of TUDN’s Summer of Champions programming, with matches from the knockout stages of the CONMEBOL Copa América and UEFA 2020 Euro Cup, plus the kick-off to the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup, was huge.

And then, in contrast to the huge declines of awards shows on English-language TV, Univision’s 18th annual “Premios Juventud” youth award show was up 24% in viewers (1.9 million), up 31% in adults 18-49 (854,000) and up 12% with adults 18-34 (346,000). That makes it the only major award show on broadcast television to increase its audience year-over-year in 2020-2021 season.

Earlier this year, Univision’s “Premio Lo Nuestro” awards show in February was down, but only 6% from 2020.

Univision execs credit their continued steadiness in awards with presenting shows “grounded in Hispanic culture with music at the core – a major passion point for our audience. And within that, the producers for each event are heavily focused on storytelling, while tapping into the power of Latin music by providing a platform for both established and new artists and creating cross-generation co-viewing appeal with moments that connect to our audience’s roots.”

Univision also touts the growth in social, with engagement for “Premios Juventud” up 53% and “Premio Lo Nuestro” up 95% vs. 2020.

This year’s “Premios Juventud” took place July 22 and was hosted by Alejandra Espinoza, Chiquis and Sebastian YatraBad Bunny was the night’s big winner, picking up four awards (including album of the year), while Daddy Yankee was honored with the “Agent Of Change” award.

Performers this year included Karol G (above); Kali UchisNatti Natasha, Brray and Nio GarciaBecky G and El AlfaTINI and Ricky MartinPaloma MamiLunay, Chencho Corleone and Anitta; and Gloria Trevi, Guaynaa and Los Ángeles Azules.

Five Surprising Things Found In My Documentary: ‘Welcome To Chechnya’ Filmmaker David France

For a new feature on AWARDS HQ, we’re asking documentary filmmakers to share five things in their Emmy-nominated doc that might surprise people. First up: David France, from HBO’s “Welcome to Chechnya,” nommed for exceptional merit in documentary filmmaking.

“Welcome to Chechnya” follows activists risking their lives to confront the ongoing anti-LGBTQ persecution in the repressive and closed Russian republic of Chechnya. Here are five pieces of background on the lengths that France and his team went through to shoot the film, protect its subjects and make sure the footage saw the light of day.

1. 23 faces in the film are digitally replaced. Because many of the film’s protagonists are being hunted by government agents bent on murdering them, they could not appear in the documentary if their identities were revealed. To address this challenge, we recruited 23 other people — mostly LGBTQ activists in New York — who lent their faces as shields, which were then mapped into the frame using a novel AI process. This is the first time that a kind of digital witness protection program has been employed in documentary filmmaking.

2. A dozen voices were also replaced. To mask regional accents and other identifiers, it was also necessary to replace some voices in the film. This was done using traditional “looping” methods in an ADR studio: Russian speaking volunteers — all non-professionals — would listen to the lines as spoken in the film and then repeat them, creating a mimicked audio track that could then be synced with the footage seamlessly.

3. The film was shot with hidden cameras, iPhones, and camcorders. Much of the action in “Welcome to Chechnya” takes place in secret safe-houses scattered across Russia, whose locations would be compromised if we were to arrive at the door with a traditional documentary film team. Instead, we carried a small camera that could fit in a bag — the consumer grade Sony AX-100 — and recorded sound with that and with iPhones. When we needed to film outdoors and in public, in order to maintain our clandestine mission, we used hidden cameras, GoPros, and the iPhone X.

4. Every shoot day required extensive security planning and protocols, and was carried out under the guidance of a local criminal defense attorney in case formal charges were brought against the crew or protagonists. Luckily, we managed to complete almost 18 months of filming in Russia without being detected. We managed to move 100+ hours of video across the border on encrypted drives, getting them safely to New York. In order to further safeguard the footage, our security protocols included a policy to never allow any footage to touch the internet — or to touch a computer that had ever touched the internet during production and post-production.

5. The Russian-language song that plays over the credit sequence, “Rolling Stoner” by Thomas Mraz, about a man looking for freedom, develops the theme that one’s home might be anywhere in the world. We first heard it in Toronto while visiting one of the Chechen refugees who had relocated there. To him, it symbolized hope and a limitless future, which made it perfect as the coda to our film.

TV Academy Announces Category Plans for Creative Arts and Primetime Ceremonies; Here’s What Will Be Awarded at Each Show

Besides announcing the vaccination requirement for all Emmy ceremony attendees, the Television Academy also revealed last week its plans for how to divide this year’s categories into three Creative Arts ceremonies, plus the big CBS telecast.

This year’s Creative Arts Emmys will be split into three ceremonies over the weekend of Sept. 11 and Sept. 12, starting with a Saturday evening event focused heavily on artisans categories like cinematography, costumes, hairstyling, production design, editing and sound mixing.

Then, on Sunday afternoon, a shorter ceremony will center on animated programming, as well as non-scripted fields like reality/competition host, narrator, documentary filmmaking, structured reality program and unstructured reality program. The third Creative Arts Emmys, held Sunday evening, will include the balance, which major categories such as guest actor and actress races, music and lyrics, short form series, TV movie, variety sketch series, variety special (live) and writing for a variety special.

As previously revealed, first in Variety, the Creative Arts Emmys will return to the Microsoft Theatre at L.A. Live this year, and include a limited audience of nominees and their guests.

This year’s Creative Arts Emmys ceremonies will be edited into a telecast to air on Saturday, Sept. 18 at 8 p.m. on FXX, the night before the Primetime Emmys telecast.

As also previously written by Variety, there will be no post-show Governors Balls this year, but the TV Academy is reviving smaller peer group gatherings honoring nominees in various categories, which usually take place throughout the week before the Primetime Emmys.

Meanwhile, the TV Academy has also revealed the lineup of the 25 categories that will appear in the live main 73rd Primetime Emmys ceremony on CBS on Sept. 19, hosted by Cedric the Entertainer. Here they are, in alphabetical order:

73rd Emmy Awards Telecast, Sunday, September 19 – 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET

Outstanding Comedy Series
Outstanding Competition Program
Outstanding Directing For A Comedy Series
Outstanding Directing For A Drama Series
Outstanding Directing For A Limited or Anthology Series Or Movie
Outstanding Drama Series
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited or Anthology Series Or Movie
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited or Anthology Series Or Movie
Outstanding Limited or Anthology Series
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited or Anthology Series Or Movie
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited or Anthology Series Or Movie
Outstanding Variety Special (Pre-Recorded)
Outstanding Variety Talk Series
Outstanding Writing For A Comedy Series
Outstanding Writing For A Drama Series
Outstanding Writing For A Limited or Anthology Series Or Movie
Outstanding Writing For A Variety Series

See how the categories will be divided among the three Creative Arts ceremonies here.

PBS, ‘Frontline,’ ’60 Minutes,’ ‘Vice News Tonight’ Lead 2021 News and Documentary Emmy Nominations

PBS led all networks in nominations for the 42nd annual News and Documentary Emmy Awards, landing 52 overall — thanks to the strength of signature series “Frontline,” “Independent Lens,” “POV,” “Nova,” “PBS News Hour” and “Nature.”

The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences announced this year’s nominees on Tuesday morning, noting that more than 2,200 submissions were entered, from content that premiered in calendar year 2020. CNN was next with 41 nods, including five each for “AC360,” CNN Films and “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer.” CNN Films docs earning nominations included three for “John Lewis: Good Trouble.”

When combined with various partnerships, “Frontline” landed the most nominations overall, with 19. Next in line, with 16 each, were CBS’ “60 Minutes” and Vice’s “Vice News Tonight.”

Best documentary nominations included three for PBS: Frontline’s “Once Upon A Time In Iraq,” Independent Lens’ “Belly of the Beast” and POV’s “Advocate.” They’re up against Netflix’s “Athlete A,” Showtime’s “The Trade” and the video on demand entry “Born To Be.” This year’s outstanding newscast noms went to “ABC World News Tonight with David Muir,” “NBC Nightly News,” ABC’s “Nightline,” MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show” and “Vice News Tonight.”

Winners will be announced via two ceremonies: News categories on Monday, September 28, at 8 p.m. ET and documentary categories on Tuesday, September 29 at 8 p.m. ET. The ceremonies will be streamed live on NATAS’ dedicated viewing platform, available on the web at Watch.TheEmmys.TV and via The Emmys apps for iOS, tvOS, Android, FireTV, and Roku.

Go here for some of the key categories and nominations.

‘Lovecraft Country,’ ‘The Underground Railroad,’ ‘The Equalizer’ Among AAFCA TV Honors Winners

The African American Film Critics Association has revealed the winners behind its third annual TV Honors, including CBS’s “The Equalizer,” starring Queen Latifah, as best new show and HBO’s “A Black Lady Sketch Show,” created by and starring Robin Thede, as best comedy.

Also from HBO, “Lovecraft Country” stars Jurnee Smollett and Jonathan Majors were named best actress and best actor, while Amazon Prime Video’s “Sylvie’s Love” was selected best movie and Barry Jenkins was named best director for Amazon’s “The Underground Railroad,” which was also named best limited series. Ava DuVernay’s OWN series “Queen Sugar” was awarded AAFCA’s first Impact Award, as well as best drama and best TV writing.

Here is the full list of 2021 AAFCA TV Honors winners:

• Best Actress: Jurnee Smollett, “Lovecraft Country,” HBO
• Best Actor: Jonathan Majors, “Lovecraft Country,” HBO
• Best Drama: “Queen Sugar,” OWN
• Best Comedy: “A Black Lady Sketch Show,” HBO
• Best New Show: “The Equalizer,” CBS
• Best Limited Series: “The Underground Railroad,” Amazon Prime Video
• Best Docuseries: “Exterminate All the Brutes,” HBO and “High on the Hog: How African American Cuisine Transformed America,” Netflix
• Best Writing: “Queen Sugar,” OWN
• Best Director: Barry Jenkins, “The Underground Railroad,” Amazon Prime Video
• Best Movie: “Sylvie’s Love,” Amazon Prime Video

Read the full story here.

SIGNED, SEALED, DELIVERED: This Week’s Promo Mailers

Another slow week for mailers, as only Showtime sent out something this week — and it was quite delicious! For the Season 3 finale of “Black Monday,” Showtime sent a box of decadent My Cookie Dealer cookies, and these things are insane. The flavors:

OG: Chocolate chips and chunks
WELCOME TO THE 90S: Neon sprinkled batter
BODACIOUS: Chocolate-covered cake bites, chocolate chips, chunks, neon sprinkles and chocolate cake batter, dipped in chocolate icing, topped with neon sprinkles
GETTING PAID: Peanuts and caramel bit batter, filled with a marshmallow peanut butter creme, dipped in caramel, topped with salted peanuts
BITE ME: Golden Oreo birthday cake batter with yellow cake, neon sprinkles and white chips, drizzled with neon icing and neon sprinkles
NEW YORK MINUT: Bourbon-flavored batter with walnuts, diced cinnamon apples and white chips
MURDER MYSTERY: Dark cocoa batter with fudge brownie, chocolate chips and chunks, filled with a red vanilla creme
BIG MONEY: Green batter with green and gold M&M batter with chocolate chips, topped and green and gold sanding sugar

“Black Monday” will be eligible for next year’s Emmys, and I do hope the show returns for a fourth season. The cast, starting with Don Cheadle, Regina Hall, Andrew Rannells and Paul Scheer, remain a delight in this crazy show that doesn’t get enough attention.

Cynthia Erivo Steals the Hollywood Bowl Stage

Emmy nominee Cynthia Erivo (“Genius: Aretha”) wowed the audience on Friday as she took to the stage for the first time ever at the Hollywood Bowl. I attended via Nat Geo, which is hoping to spread the word about Erivo as Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin in the limited series; my colleague Jazz Tangcay was there as well, and filed this report:

Titled “Legendary Voices,” the night included covers of Aretha Franklin, Mary J. Blige, Nina Simone and Roberta Flack, as well as selections from Erivo’s upcoming debut release, “Ch.1 Vs.1.”

Erivo took to the stage shortly after 8 p.m. in a breathtaking white gown with puff sleeves that looked liked roses. It was the talk of the night — after her dazzling performance, of course.

What better way to kick off a Hollywood Bowl debut than with a dynamic rendition of Barbara Streisand’s “Don’t Rain on My Parade,” backed by the orchestra giving the song a full philharmonic treatment? It was the only Broadway number Erivo would sing.

The empowering night of jazz, soul, classics and a sprinkle of Broadway ended on a fabulous high note – Aretha Franklin.

Erivo starred in National Geographic’s “Genius: Aretha,” which scored her first Emmy nomination for lead actress in a limited or anthology series or movie. There were voting members in the audience, and Erivo may have just secured a few votes after her remarkable setlist, whether they’ve seen the series or not. Her belting ability was on full display.

She sent the crowd home on a high note with a successful adaptation of Franklin’s “Freeway of Love.” The audience didn’t want to leave, but with the Bowl’s strict curfew of 11 p.m. not too far off, they had no choice. She offered an encore and a cartwheel to end the night.

Read Jazz’s full report here.

Clayton Davis’ Emmy Predictions: Drama Acting Categories

This week, we’re looking at the latest predictions from Variety’s Clayton Davis in the drama acting categories, ranked in order of odds:


1 Billy Porter “Pose” FX
2 Josh O’Connor “The Crown” Netflix
3 Regé-Jean Page “Bridgerton” Netflix
4 Sterling K. Brown “This Is Us” NBC
5 Jonathan Majors “Lovecraft Country” HBO
6 Matthew Rhys “Perry Mason” HBO


1 Olivia Colman “The Crown” Netflix
2 Emma Corrin “The Crown” Netflix
3 Mj Rodriguez “Pose” FX
4 Elisabeth Moss “The Handmaid’s Tale” Hulu
5 Uzo Aduba “In Treatment” HBO
6 Jurnee Smollett “Lovecraft Country” HBO


1 Michael K. Williams “Lovecraft Country” HBO
2 Tobias Menzies “The Crown” Netflix
3 Bradley Whitford “The Handmaid’s Tale” Hulu
4 Giancarlo Esposito “The Mandalorian” Disney Plus
5 John Lithgow “Perry Mason” HBO
6 Max Minghella “The Handmaid’s Tale” Hulu
7 Chris Sullivan “This Is Us” NBC
8 O-T Fagbenie “The Handmaid’s Tale” Hulu


1 Gillian Anderson “The Crown” Netflix
2 Helena Bonham Carter “The Crown” Netflix
3 Madeline Brewer “The Handmaid’s Tale” Hulu
4 Yvonne Strahovski “The Handmaid’s Tale” Hulu
5 Aunjanue Ellis “Lovecraft Country” HBO
6 Ann Dowd “The Handmaid’s Tale” Hulu
7 Samira Wiley “The Handmaid’s Tale” Hulu
8 Emerald Fennell “The Crown” Netflix

To see all of Clayton’s latest predictions, of all the categories, in one place, visit  THE EMMYS COLLECTIVE. Visit each individual category, according to the awards show from THE EMMYS HUB.

The Week Ahead

Friday, Aug. 6, 5 p.m.: VARIETY SCREENING ROOM: An Exclusive Q&A With the Creators of “The Handmaid’s Tale” (Bruce Miller, Warren Littlefield & Margaret Atwood). Go here to sign up.

Premiere dates: MONDAY, Aug. 2: “Small Town News: KPVM Pahrump” (new/HBO).

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 4: “Cooking with Paris” (new/Netflix); “Cocaine Cowboys” The Kings of Miami” (limited series/Netflix).

THURSDAY, AUG. 5: “Hart to Heart” (new/Peacock); “Departure” (new/Peacock).

FRIDAY, AUG. 6: “Mr. Corman” (new/Apple TV Plus); “The Suicide Squad” (movie/HBO Max); “Val” (new/Amazon Prime Video).

SUNDAY, AUG. 8: “The L Word: Generation Q” (returning/Showtime); “Godfather of Harlem” (returning/Epix); “Family Game Fight” (new/NBC); “UFO” (new/Showtime); 2020 Summer Olympics Closing Ceremony (special/NBC).

Send Me Your Questions, Comments and More!

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