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Emmy Magazine - April 01, 2018

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SEAL Team
heads for
the hills
Carrie
Brownstein
on life postPortlandia
Masterpiece
remakes an
American
classic
How to
Commit
Marriage*
humbs
up for late
night’s
Robin
hede
Losing
sleep for
Electric
Dreams
Police work
goes live
on A&E
Laura Linney and
Jason Bateman drift to the
dark side in Netflix’s Ozark
*and other misdeeds
ALL YOUR FAVORITE
FRIDAY, APRIL 27
WITH
Claire Foy
Vanessa Kirby
Peter Morgan
TUESDAY, MAY 8
Docu(MMM)entary
Food Night
GO BEHIND
AND EXPER
FOR YO
FOR MORE D
fyc.netf
Events are by invitation only. Bring your Telev
SHOWS IN ONE PLACE.
WEDNESDAY, MAY 9
SATURDAY, JUNE 2
WITH
Justina Machado
Rita Moreno
THE SCENES
IENCE IT ALL
URSELF.
DETAILS, VISIT
flix.com
vision Academy membership card for admittance.
Isabella Gomez
Gloria Calderon Kellett
Norman Lear
SATURDAY, JUNE 9
WITH
Jason Bateman
Julia Garner
Chris Mundy
SUNDAYS
9ORPM
STREAM IT ON
welcome
When emmy debuted in 1979, its founding
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hom Williams, Elizabeth York, John Ziffren
Hayma Washington
Chairman and CEO
Television Academy
Executive Committee: Hayma Washington, chairman; Allison
Binder, Jill Daniels, Madeline Di Nonno, Dan Evans, III, Tim Gibbons,
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Venezia, CAS, Mitch Waldow
s Quantico, was
Priyanka Chopra, star of ABC’
Emmy’s 2016 cover featuring
ty of Magazine Editors.
honored by the American Socie
2 EMMY
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PHIL MCCARTEN/INVISION
he Television Academy is currently
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THE MAGAZINE OF
THE TELEVISION ACADEMY
televisionacademy.com
WHO WOULDN’T WANT
TO COME HOME TO THIS
EVERY NIGHT?
CONSIDER IT #MARVELOUS
I N A L L C AT E G O R I E S
I N C L U D I N G O U T S TA N D I N G C O M E DY S E R I E S
contents
emmy® he Magazine of the Television Academy Volume XL, Number 4
38
Features
24 he Deep End
When the Byrdes of Ozark fly south, danger
follows. For multi-hyphenate Jason Bateman
— who stars with Laura Linney — the chilling
Netflix drama was a deep dive into “a 600page movie.”
By Gina Piccalo
Photographs by Nigel Parry
34 he New Normal
With eight seasons of her IFC show in the
rear view, actor-writer-producer-director
Carrie Brownstein contemplates life beyond
Portlandia.
By Margy Rochlin
54 he Western Front
As the elite commandos of CBS’s SEAL Team,
they protect the free world. On a day off in the
Malibu hills, these actors stand their ground
on a different western divide.
Photographs by James Dimmock
64 Perfect Union
As the U.S. recovered from the Civil War,
Louisa May Alcott published the perfect balm:
a tale of four sisters, different yet devoted.
Now, in an era that many find divisive,
Masterpiece unveils a new Little Women.
By Lisa Rosen
38 Losing Sleep Over Electric Dreams
Whirlwind production — on two continents —
for Amazon’s Philip K. Dick anthology series
was challenging, but worth it.
By Michele Shapiro
72 Late Shifting
With time slots less important than ever,
networks are monetizing comedy clips and
segments all over the social internet.
By Daniel Frankel
Photoillustration by Todd Reublin
50 Change in the Air
he host of The Rundown with Robin Thede
may be the only African-American woman
with her own late-night show, but that’s not
why she hopes you’ll tune in.
By Craig Tomashoff
76 Open Road
While police face increased scrutiny over
training and practices, departments are
hoping to get booked for A&E’s Live PD, which
lets viewers witness police work firsthand.
By Kathleen O’Steen
4 EMMY
Departments
2 WELCOME
From the chairman
6 IN THE MIX
BIO PICK: Vida’s Mishel Prada,
director Zetna Fuentes
WAY TO SHOW: Lip Sync Battle
goes global; Carson and his
couch endure in Hulu’s
There’s... Johnny
THE ART OF CRAFTS: the
making of a president; hail
to the hats of Mrs. Maisel!
FACE TIME: Atlanta director
Hiro Murai, Canada’s beloved
Yannick Bisson
DIGITAL DOWNLOAD: Movies
Anywhere gains momentum
TRENDING: back into the fire of
Fahrenheit 451
82 FOUNDATION INTERVIEWS
Director Pamela Fryman
88 ME AND MY EMMY
Producer Audrey Morrissey
On the cover: Laura Linney and Jason
Batema, of Netflix’s Ozark, photographed
on set in Atlanta exclusively for emmy by
Nigel Parry. Go behind the scenes of the
shoot at TelevisionAcademy.com/cover.
F O R Y O U R E M M Y ® C O N S I D E R AT I O N
O U T S TA N D I N G C O M E D Y S E R I E S
“TELEVISION’S VERY BEST SHOW”
“here’s always something in
our lives that we try to not deal
with,” Mishel Prada says. “But
it’s always gonna follow you.”
hat’s one reason she’s sure people
will relate to Emma, the ambitious young
woman she plays on Vida, Starz’s new
dramedy about a Mexican-American family in
fast-gentrifying East Los Angeles. When the
show opens, Emma is a self-sufficient success
in Chicago, but she returns home after the
sudden death of her estranged mom. Back
in the old neighborhood, she grudgingly
helps run the family bar with her partying
sister, Lyn (Melissa Barrera), and their
mom’s paramour, Eddy (Ser Anzoategui).
“Emma is an island, but you find out
she bottles a lot of hurt,” Prada says. “She
wants love and acceptance.”
Born of Dominican descent in Miami,
Prada and her three younger siblings grew up
conservative Christian in a “wild” neighborhood. “But I was a good kid,” she says. “Church
plays, youth group, all that stuff.” She wasn’t
a complete angel. When she got bad grades,
she recalls, “I would hide my report card.”
Acting came easy, though — and early:
she played the lead in a second-grade
production of The Little Red Hen. Even so, after
BIO PICK
On Her
Honor
graduating from a private Christian school —
and performing in Christmas musicals in malls
— she decided to study political science and
communications at he Master’s University, a
Christian college in Santa Clarita, north of L.A.
“I didn’t want to be that struggling actress
cliché,” she says.
But she “didn’t quite finish,” and took odd
jobs back in Miami before deciding to return to L.A. to give
acting a shot. She landed an agent, a McDonald’s commercial
and then Benjamin Troubles, a 2015 indie flick in which her
boyfriend’s jeans magically dispense hundred-dollar bills.
hen came a bigger break: a lead in Fear the Walking Dead:
Passage, a web spinoff of the popular AMC series.
“And now Vida!” she says. She’s proud that
the project, which features trans and non-binary
performers, is run “primarily by women” — which was
a goal for creator–executive producer Tanya Saracho
(Looking, How to Get Away with Murder).
Prada’s personal life is rich, too. Away from
Hollywood, she and her rocker boyfriend relax in their
new New Orleans home, where she makes gumbo and
sings to her cat, Louis Armstrong.
And unlike her Vida character, Prada honors her
past. “My grandmother was this single mom who
came here from the Dominican Republic to toil in a bra
factory. She worked really hard. If I’m going on set or
to the Creative Arts Emmys, so much of it is because of
her. I’m here because of that.” —John Griffiths
JOHN TSIAVIS/STARZ
in the
F O R Y O U R E M M Y ® C O N S I D E R AT I O N
O U T S TA N D I N G L I M I T E D S E R I E S
“CAPTIVATING....
AMBITIOUS AND RATTLING”
in the
mix
BIO PICK
the Coast
“I had an amazing time on daytime television and
learned so much,” she says of her years on One Life to Live
and Guiding Light. “And people explained to me that it
would be a tough transition, but I’m the type of person
who thinks, ‘I’m going to be the one who makes it by
working twice as hard.’ I wanted to create that opportunity for myself.”
And create she did. Since moving to the Golden
State in 2012, she’s racked up an enviable list of directing credits that includes such dramas as Ray Donovan,
Shameless, Scandal, How to Get Away with Murder and
Bosch, the gritty Amazon Studios series that launched
its fourth season in April.
Based on the novels by Michael Connelly and starring Titus Welliver as an LAPD homicide detective with a
dark side, Bosch showcases the city itself as a key player.
“It’s always great to shoot in L.A., and for Bosch it is super
important,” Fuentes says. “he city is such a character in
the show — you get to see all the textures and the gorgeous light.”
he director, who lives with her husband and their
young son, might miss home but she appreciates the
charms of her adopted city. “I’ll admit: I love, love, love
New York, but it is great to have a house with a garden,” she
says, laughing.
Back in the Bronx, “where I grew up, no one was in show
biz,” she explains. “My dad and I used to love watching old
movies together, but it took me a while to realize how much I
enjoyed telling a story.”
To find her way into the director’s chair, she worked as a
personal assistant, location manager, editor, assistant director
and finally director in off-Broadway theater before moving into
daytime television in 2007.
Fast-forward five years. “When I first moved out to L.A.,
I had only booked one episode of Pretty Little Liars and just
hoped it would lead to more.”
It did. Looks like the trinity of talent, timing and hard work
really paid off. — Maria Neuman
PHOTOGRAPH BY ELISABETH CAREN; HAIR BY STEVEN MASON; MAKEUP BY AGOSTINA LOMBARDO
M
Most people would see three Daytime Emmy
nominations as a sign of success, but for director
Zetna Fuentes, the honors meant that she should
box up her life and move to Los Angeles. Time to
try something new.
F O R Y O U R E M M Y® C O N S I D E R AT I O N
O U T S TA N D I N G D R A M A S E R I E S
“JAW - D R O P P I N G T V”
in the
Ramin Bahrani
on location with
Michael B. Jordan
and Michael
Shannon
INTO THE FIRE
A writer-director raises societal alarms
with a reimagined Fahrenheit 451.
But then it gets nasty.
An axe-wielding young officer named Guy Montag (Michael B. Jordan)
smashes a computer as his mentor, hardened Captain Beatty (Michael
Shannon), looks on approvingly. Meanwhile, men with flamethrowers sweep
books off shelves and set them ablaze. With history, art and imagination in peril,
we see the future as envisioned in 1953 by science fiction legend Ray Bradbury.
In his best-known novel — named for the supposed burning point of paper —
battalions of “firemen” incinerate books and anything else that might encourage
independent thought. Radicals who hide the contraband are often burned alive.
he story focuses on the relationship between Beatty, a zealous bookburner, and Montag, an up-and-comer who may have an unnatural fondness
for the printed word. It’s true: Montag harbors a secret stash that includes a
handwritten postcard, which he pores over like a scholar studying a sacred
text. Adding to Montag’s disillusionment, he falls for Clarisse (Sofia Boutella),
an enigmatic young woman with ties to both the underground and the
totalitarian government.
In the HBO movie, debuting May 19, director–executive producer
Ramin Bahrani preserves Bradbury’s bleak vision but colors it with chillingly
contemporary details. “We wanted to create a world similar to today’s — but
different enough,” says Bahrani, who wrote the script with Amir Naderi. He
punctuates Bradbury’s dark narrative with twenty-first-century references,
including giant emoticons projected onto skyscrapers — all part of what he
calls “a strange tomorrow.”
10 EMMY
Urging people to rat out oddball neighbors who harbor books, authorities
plaster a familiar slogan onto the giant interactive screens in every home: “If
you see something, say something!” Fleeing book-lovers are tracked on live
TV. When they’re caught, the amped-up home audience is asked, reality-show
style, what the firemen should do to them. It’s never good.
As a teenager in North Carolina, Bahrani was enthralled by
Fahrenheit 451. “It’s an amazing combination of intellectual,
emotional and visceral power,” he says. “And it just stays
with you.”
Alarmed by what he calls “the erosion of culture” — corrupt leaders,
corrosive technology, mindless entertainment and a public that accepts it all
— Bahrani started working on a Fahrenheit remake in 2015. (François Truffaut
directed the first adaptation in 1966, starring Julie Christie.)
Bahrani has made five features — including 99 Homes, a 2014 drama (also
starring Shannon) about home foreclosures — but this is his first adaptation.
It was daunting, he says — as was choosing which works would be put to the
torch.
he child of Iranian immigrants, he ruefully chose a copy of The Shahnameh,
a 1,000-year-old Persian epic poem said to be the longest in the world by a
single author. “I wanted a good representation of genders and cultures. Toni
Morrison, Kafka, Dostoevsky, Joan Didion — they all had to be there,” he says.
“It was amazingly painful to watch.”
He also included a classic so tied to fire that its publisher originally
distributed about 200 copies bound in fireproof asbestos. It was called
Fahrenheit 451.
— Steve Chawkins
HBO
At first, the gritty scene in HBO’s Fahrenheit 451 looks like
a standard-issue TV drug raid: battle-ready tough guys in
armor kick in a door, race through rooms and slam suspects
up against walls.
in the
mix
On the set of Atlanta, director Hiro Murai shares
a shorthand with the show’s creator.
SOUL MATES
Few directors start their television careers working with a good friend on one
of the medium’s most respected shows. But that’s exactly where Hiro Murai is,
working with creator–executive producer–writer–star Donald Glover on FX’s
Emmy-winning Atlanta. “his show has really spoiled me,” says Tokyo-born
Murai, who was previously known for directing music videos. “It’s sort of a dream
scenario, where you’re working with friends and having a really fruitful and
satisfying collaboration. It’s a rare thing, obviously.”
GUY D’ALEMA/FX
He should know. Atlanta has led to other directing jobs on FX series, like
Snowfall and Legion, where he gets to see how guest directors fit in. Having
helmed fourteen of Atlanta’s twenty-one episodes so far, Murai found
guest-directing to be an eye-opening experience that he brought back to his
own show, on which he’s also a coexecutive producer.
“It’s been educational and interesting, working on other TV shows,
seeing how they operate. It’s really different from what we do,” he explains.
“Our structure is unlike any other show, so it’s fun to get to play in someone
else’s world a bit. I sort of felt like I was coming into someone else’s house
and rearranging their furniture. It’s a question of how much authority you
have while doing it, so I’ve been careful about dealing with our own guest
directors when they come in. I let them know that they have some freedom to
explore their vision. I encourage them to own it.”
hat can be tricky with a show like Atlanta, which often toggles between
comedy and drama, with occasional action in the
mix. In season two, subtitled “Robbin’ Season,” the
first episode begins with an attempted holdup of
a fast food restaurant, which leads to a shootout
involving automatic weapons. Under Murai’s
direction, that leads seamlessly into a hilarious bit
about Willy, Glover’s character’s uncle, who keeps a
live adult alligator in his house.
“Donald really likes the idea of playing with tone, so that the show can
be a drama sometimes, and a comedy [too]. It can be a lot of things, and
that’s part of the trick of managing it all, making sure it’s cohesive and it
works the way we want it to,” Murai says. “A lot of it is about atmosphere and
performance and having it all gel together. he idea is for the show to keep
you on your toes. You should be a little confused.”
Glover was initially struck by the visuals Murai created for Frank Ocean’s
performance at the 2013 Grammys. Later that year, Murai directed three
music videos for Childish Gambino, Glover’s hip-hop alter ego. When Atlanta
came along, Murai recalls, Glover “called me and we started talking, and it
just clicked. It’s the most intuitive collaboration I’ve had in my life. We’re on
the same page constantly and have really good shorthand. We don’t have to
explain things to each other — it just sort of makes sense.”
— Neil Turitz
When Donald Glover (right, with Hiro Murai) received an
Emmy for directing Atlanta, he said of Murai: “He taught me
everything about directing. He had the eye for this show, and
he’s just amazing. I really want to give this to Hiro and just
say, ‘I love you and thank you for being my best friend.’”
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O U T S TA N D I N G C O M E DY S E R I E S
“GRADE A.”
OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTRESS
IN A COMEDY SERIES
OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR
IN A COMEDY SERIES
ALISON BRIE
MARC MARON
i
x
Rachel Brosnahan as
Midge Maisel (upper left
and center; lower right and
center); Marin Hinkle as
her mother, Rose (upper
right); and Alex Borstein
as her manager, Susie
(lower left)
Stylish hats are a must on The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.
Chapeaux à Go-Go
her hair or pin a flower to it. “Women felt vulnerable
when their heads weren’t covered,” she explains.
Midge looks particularly fetching at her wedding
reception in a bridal veil with a bow on top, an idea
lifted from Audrey Hepburn’s costume in Funny
Face. “Bows are always a good thing with Rachel.”
Head confections, some veering into the exotic,
pop up on other characters, too.
“he hats are everything in the ’50s,” says Donna Zakowska, the series’
“I really got into the hats at the fortune teller,” Zakowska recalls, refercostume designer and the mind behind Midge’s millinery. She grew up in New
ring to a scene in which Midge’s mother, Rose (Marin Hinkle), dons a turban to
York City and remembers when it was teeming with milliners. Women in all
visit a medium. he clairvoyant’s half-hat — influenced by a vintage find
income brackets, she says, routinely ordered custom-designed
hats.
g
“It’s nice to connect with the tradition,” Zakowska sayys. She
from Zakkowska’s own mother’s hatbox — similarly spirals ostenusly. It’s almost like the two hats are gabbing with each
scoured hundreds of vintage fashion magazines and drew
tatiou
her. “It accentuated their camaraderie,” Zakowska says —
on her own art background to arrive at designs that suitt
oth
the period and Midge’s personality. Her goal? “To create
as well as the comedy.
While Midge seems to have an inexhaustible supply
the idea of Midge’s perkiness and assertiveness — with
of hats, her aspiring talent manager, Susie (Alex Borhats.”
stein), wears the same hat day after day, styled like the
Zakowska, who received an Emmy for her costume
Greek fisherman cap Bob Dylan made popular. “It’s the
designs on HBO’s John Adams, aims for an asymmetrical
beatnik look,” Zakowska explains. She thought it reinsculptural look, saturated in rich tones, like persimmon
b
and emerald green, to match Midge’s wardrobe. What she
forced Borstein’s role as a woman trying to make it in what
Donna Zakowska
arrives at looks like “a cloche gone a little wild,” she says. “Itt’s
was still a man’s game at that time.
always reaching out, like her personality.”
e series already has a second season lined up, so it might
he
he hairstyles also have to harmonize. “here has to be
balance,”
roll into the ’60s, bringing hippie headbands and peasant scarves.
e balance
observes Zakowska, who always consults with the show’s hair department
Does that doom hats for Midge’s future? Not necessarily, Zakowsa says, nothead, Jerry DeCarlo, to ensure that Midge’s hairdo works with her hats.
ing that the ’60s also spawned space-age fashion and hats that resembled
When Midge isn’t wearing a hat, Zakowska might snake a scarf through
lampshades. “It’s a truly sculptural period.” — Ann Farmer
14 EMMY
NICOLE RIVELLI/AMAZON
In her stand-up act, she curses like Lenny Bruce. But on the streets of Manhattan,
Midge Maisel — a 1950s housewife-turned-comedian — looks like she stepped
off the cover of Vogue Paris. In Amazon’s The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Midge —
played by Rachel Brosnahan — turns out in period-perfect ensembles: dresses
flawlessly cinched at the waist and jewel-toned swing coats, almost always
topped off with a zingy hat.
F O R Y O U R E M M Y C O N S I D E R AT I O N
O U T S TA N D I N G D R A M A S E R I E S
®
A NETFLIX ORIGINAL SERIES
in the
mix
An actor finds long-term work and a global following in a show Canadians revere.
Yannick Bisson in Murdoch Mysteries
By the time Yannick Bisson was in his mid-thirties, he had
already been acting for more than twenty years. Starting
out in commercials as a teen, he moved on to dramatic
acting, mainly working in television in his native Canada.
By the time he was married and had three young daughters, however,
Bisson was seriously considering a career change. He enjoyed restoring and
flipping houses and was looking at a full-time commitment.
But he put that plan on hold when he accepted the lead role of detective
DIGITAL
DOWNLOAD
HERE, THERE, ANYWHERE
FTER NEARLY A DECADE OF
TRYING, THE MAJOR STUDIOS
FINALLY HAVE MOMENTUM
ON THEIR CLOUD-BASED “DIGITAL
LOCKER” CONCEPT, THANKS TO
MOVIES ANYWHERE
he concept is straightforward and
symbiotic: buy a movie from any major
studio at any major digital store — Apple
iTunes, Amazon, Google Play or Vudu.
he movie is automatically stored in a
centralized, cloud-based digital locker
and playable on most devices. Just
because you bought a Disney film on
iTunes doesn’t mean it will only play
on your iPhone and Apple TV; you can
A
16 EMMY
William Murdoch in the whodunit series Murdoch
Mysteries, which debuted in Canada in 2008.
“I really liked the writing and the premise,”
Bisson recalls. “But it was also a Victorian-era show
set in Toronto. At the time, there were no period
shows in Canada. here were barely shows filming
in Canada because it was post-SARS [epidemic]. I
didn’t expect more than two or three years from the
show.”
Some ten years later, Murdoch Mysteries —
based on novels by Maureen Jennings — is a beloved
Canadian television institution, and Bisson is a
national celebrity. he eleventh season of the CBC
series is now available on Acorn TV in the U.S.
he show’s appeal crosses generations, Bisson
says, with storylines that incorporate real events like
the Great Fire of 1904 and real-life figures including
Queen Victoria, homas Edison and horror writer
H. P. Lovecraft. Former Canadian Prime Minister
Stephen Harper, a huge fan of the series, once had
a cameo role.
Contrary to his own easygoing and affable
ways, Bisson presents Murdoch as proper and
understated. he Montreal-born, Toronto-based
actor believes the super sleuth reflects Victorian
Canada under the British Empire.
“People were trying to be seen as civilized, not just as a colony,” he
observes. “hey wanted to be decent and to dress and speak a certain way.
Maybe they were overcompensating.”
Bisson is proud of Murdoch’s international following: it airs in about 110
countries, including Japan and Iran. “he show has been seen around the
world for many years,” he says. “We really have captured lightning in a bottle.”
—Jon Matsumoto
also watch it using a Movies Anywhere
app on your Roku, Xbox One or Android
phone.
Movies Anywhere is a boon to the
major studios, which would like to kickstart digital movie ownership again, following the decade-long collapse of the
DVD market. he locker provides a far
more practical proposition for consumers, who previously saw their movie
collections siloed and dispersed based
on where they bought specific titles.
At January’s big Consumer
Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Movies
Anywhere’s managers said consumers had already used the locker to store
close to 80 million movies since its
October launch.
“As the app continues to gain traction, consumers can expect to see the
integration of new partners and a continued evolution of product features that
serve them in unprecedented ways,”
Movies Anywhere general manager
Karin Gilford told reporters during a CES
presentation.
While the traction is new, the
concept is not. In 2012, most of the
major studios banded together with
Walmart to launch a cloud locker called
UltraViolet. But that gambit wasn’t
terribly user-friendly — it didn’t have its
own app, for example. More important,
UltraViolet never received buy-in from
key constituents, notably Disney, Apple,
Google and Amazon.
hose four companies, however,
did join forces in 2014 to launch the
app-based Disney Movies Anywhere,
which became the forebear to the
current Movies Anywhere digital locker
incarnation that’s thriving today.
Movies Anywhere now supports
7,500 titles from Disney, Fox, Sony,
Paramount, Universal and Warner Bros.
Participating retailers include Apple,
Amazon, Google and Vudu.
—Daniel Frankel
COURTESY ACORN TV
NATIONAL TREASURE
F O R
Y O U R
E M M Y
®
C O N S I D E R A T I O N
OUTSTANDING LIMITED SERIES
OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR
IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE
JEFF DANIELS
JEFF DANIELS
“
IS ONE OF THE GREAT VILLAINS
OF MODERN TV. ”
in the
mix
LL Cool J and Chrissy Teigen
Celebs step up for Lip Sync Battle, and
so do fans worldwide.
During a 2013 appearance on he Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, John Krasinski
challenged the host to a lip sync battle: who could best mouth the words to a variety
of songs, like “I’ll Make Love to You” by Boyz II Men? hat little bit went on to spark
a worldwide phenomenon.
First, it became a recurring segment on Fallon, and then it morphed into its own hit series,
Lip Sync Battle, which premiered in 2015 on Spike,
since rebranded as the Paramount Network. Last
year, according to Nielsen, the show reached or
was sampled by some 30 million viewers.
Lip Sync Battle now airs in 120 territories
across six continents and has been licensed in
twenty-one formats, with versions in Russia,
Mexico, China and the Philippines. Twice
nominated for Emmys, it has spawned several
spinoffs, including Nickelodeon’s Lip Sync Battle
Shorties, which features kids. BET hosted special
knockoffs around the Hip Hop Awards and Soul
Train Awards, while a Lip Sync Battle aired on MTV
just before the 2017 MTV Movie & TV Awards. In
2016, Carnival Cruise Line created an adaptation
that lets passengers compete throughout their
vacations.
What makes the show so universal? Host LL
Cool J says it’s a “peek behind the curtain” that
showcases an authentic side of stars, something
fans always enjoy. “You get to see these
celebrities and cool people letting their hair down
and being silly, having these sing-in-the-shower
moments that we all have.”
Executive producer Casey Patterson adds
18 EMMY
that superstars bring no agenda, other than to
entertain. “We don’t pick the songs — the stars
do,” she says. Contestants often say that once
they do Lip Sync Battle, fans embrace them in a
whole new way. “A lot of celebrities are terrified to
come on our show,” LL Cool J says. “But the next
time you see them, they say this is all anybody
ever talks to them about.”
he internet is key to the show’s worldwide
success. In 2017, Lip Sync Battle generated 300
million views across YouTube, Facebook, Twitter,
Instagram and Spike/Paramount’s owned and
Casey Patterson
operated platforms. Because Lip Sync Battle is
produced ninety seconds at a time, Patterson
says, it offers “very clean, realized moments and
small bites” that are extremely sharable.
he series kicked off its fourth season at
Hollywood’s Dolby heatre with a Michael Jackson–
themed live premiere. Hailee Steinfeld, Laverne Cox,
Neil Patrick Harris and Taraji P. Henson battled for
the championship belt. To up the ante, the show’s
regular set received a flashy makeover.
“We have a new stage!” chirped Chrissy
Teigen, whose title is “Colorful Commentator.”
“And I live inside a disco ball!” Patterson says
the goal was to create a theater-in-the-round
experience so the stars can go “bigger and
bolder. Over time, we realized that if celebrities
wanted to compete, they wanted to do it right,”
she says. “We now have that ability.”
Patterson and her fellow exec producers —
Jay Peterson, Stephen Merchant, Krasinski, LL
Cool J and Rick Schwartz of Eight Million Plus Productions — have no plans to slow down. “here’s
always new music and new artists,” she says.
As the platform grows, so does the caliber of
the talent. “We just had Kathy Bates here doing
Bruno Mars,” Patterson says. Stars typically sign
on after seeing a viral clip of a colleague on the
show, she explains. “Hers was Ben Kingsley.”
he ultimate battle, Teigen says, would be
herself versus LL Cool J. “It’s going to happen at
some point,” her would-be rival teases, promising it would “blow up the internet.” —Nicole Pajer
PETER YANG
SYNC, INC.
FOR YOUR EMMY CONSIDERATION
®
CONTINUES
TO RULE.”
“
LOS ANGELES DAILY NEWS
W I N N E R
S A G
A W A R D®
OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A
FEMALE ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES
CL AIRE FOY
in the
mix
Get close to Carson’s famous couch on Hulu’s There’s... Johnny!
Backstage with the King of Late Night
he show is set in 1972, the year Carson moved The
Tonight Show to Burbank. Ian Nelson stars as Andy, a naïve
nineteen-year-old Nebraskan who lucks into an entry-level
job on the show. Jane Levy plays Joy, the assistant talent
coordinator who supervises him. Tony Danza re-creates
Carson’s longtime producer Fred de Cordova, the only realhat original clip appears in There’s… Johnny!, along with an imaginary
life Tonight Show personality who’s been fictionalized for the series.
backstory (the dog didn’t eat because it was mistakenly fed beforehand). It’s
There’s… Johnny! is a Carson aficionado’s dream, with vintage callbacks
an inspired moment in Paul Reiser’s comedy, which is set backstage at The
to guests like George Carlin, Albert Brooks and Steve Martin. Reiser received
Tonight Show and interweaves fictional storylines with actual clips from the
unprecedented access to the Carson library thanks to Sotzing, who is not
Carson archives.
only president of Carson Entertainment but also Carson’s nephew.
“It’s sleight of hand,” Reiser says. “We do it very cautiously. If not done
“From the beginning, we had a few clips in mind we could write to,”
well, it can look manipulative and false.”
Reiser says. “We were like kids in a candy store — we could look up any
There’s… Johnny! — now streaming on Hulu — was created by Reiser
performance.” Even so, the Carson clips are kept to a minimum. “If you want
and Mad About You producer David Steven Simon. It’s produced by Comedy
to see more of Johnny, get the DVD,” Reiser advises. “We didn’t want to milk
Dynamics and its president, Brian Volk-Weiss, along with Nuance Productions
it too much. We always erred on the side of less is more.
and Rough House in partnership with the Carson estate. Executive producers
“Most of the time,” he continues, “we had our stories and tried to
are Reiser, Simon, David Gordon Green, Jeff Sotzing and Michael Pelmont.
find footage that supported [them].” When Joy attempts to seduce Andy
backstage, the action intercuts with a clip of Carlin and a
conservative sex doctor arguing about free love. “It was the
perfect counterbalance,” Reiser observes. “We found things
that colored our stories to give a sense of the values of the
time.” he fictional storylines reflect the turbulence of the
early ’70s: episodes deal with drug addiction, Vietnam and a
closeted gay writer’s struggle with coming out.
he show is rife with directorial and editorial trickery, as
in the shots where viewers can see both the TV monitors
(airing forty-five-year-old clips) and the guests on stage.
As Reiser explains, “We’d get a body double for a Carlin or
a Don Rickles and blur them in the background. We had a
great wardrobe team, which matched the suits they wore.
It was movie magic.”
he trickery extends to audio as well. Most of the time
when Carson’s voice is heard, editors were able to find
Tony Danza as Tonight Show producer Fred de Cordova
him actually saying the dialogue they needed by doing a
keyword search of the archives. A few lines they couldn’t
find were dubbed in by actor Kevin Pollak, who also did all
the Albert Brooks phone calls. Again, the device was used
sparingly.
“We don’t want to push the envelope to the point where
the envelope breaks,” Volk-Weiss says.
There’s… Johnny! was originally sold to Seeso, NBCUniversal’s streaming comedy network; when Seeso was shut
down last year, NBCU found a home for it on Hulu, with which
it has an overall distribution deal.
For Reiser, a frequent guest on The Tonight Show
throughout the 1980s, it was a chance to honor the Carson
legacy. “It was interesting to learn what made Johnny so
impactful,” he says. “Not to put him up on a pedestal, but
there’s no one who did what he did for thirty years.”
Ian Nelson as Andy, a young Nebraskan living his dream
—Graham Flashner
20 EMMY
HULU
In a classic bit from he Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, Ed
McMahon did a live Alpo commercial onstage, only to watch in dismay as
a dog refused to eat the food. In a moment of unrehearsed comedy gold,
a quick-thinking Carson took the dog’s place, pretending to eat from the
bowl as the studio audience roared with laughter.
F
O
R
Y
O
U
R
E
M
M
Y
®
C
O
N
S
I
D
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A
T
I
OUTSTANDING DRAMA SERIES
OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES
MILLIE BOBBY BROWN
OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES
DAVID HARBOUR
“A MASTERFUL CREATION.”
O
N
in the
mix
It takes a village (and a good wig) to turn comic Anthony Atamanuik into
the commander-in-chief for Comedy Central’s The President Show.
THE MAKING OF A PRESIDENT
“he wig application only takes about five
minutes. Prepping and styling can take anywhere
from a half hour to an hour, depending on what was
previously done to it. Anthony does lots of stunts
and sweating. He’s had water poured over his head
and swum in a pool — all sorts of fun things like that.
A lot of times my partner-in-crime, Robin Day, codepartment head, takes over because my schedule
is so crazy, but most often I’m in charge of prepping
the wigs.
“With the wig on, it’s as if Anthony’s wearing five different hairstyles on
one head. On the sides, we wet-set and style it into place with a wide-tooth
comb [and pull out] the individual little hairs that drape over his ears. he top,
which we call the lid, is back-combed and brushed into a sort of pompadour
and pulled down really low to make it look like a baseball cap lid. hen there’s
the mullet on the sides and back. here’s even a small swirl in the back of his
parting area that Robin calls ‘the swatch.’
“Unlike the wig, the eyebrows took about an hour to create. hey sprout
out of everywhere. Tom mats down Anthony’s [own] brows with spirit gum
before applying them.
“he day before we shoot, I cut Anthony’s hair. We try to keep it short so
when the bald cap goes on, it stays pretty tight to the head. I love when the
wind blows and the whole lid section comes up.”
Anthony Atamanuik, who morphs into Donald Trump for Comedy Central’s
he President Show, perspires. A whole lot. Just ask the team responsible for
his weekly metamorphosis. “When he’s in full hair and makeup and a bald cap,
he gets hot,” costume designer Nina Schelich says. hat’s why the two-piece
fat suit she created for field shoots includes a cooling system. Perspiration was
also a consideration when Tom Denier, Jr., makeup department head, and Bettie
O. Rogers, head of the wig department, were developing a look that’s true to
the commander-in-chief — yet can withstand sweat (as well as mud and an
occasional flop into a pool).
Since its April 2017 premiere, this half-hour talk show–sketch comedy
hybrid has aired 21 episodes and two specials. But Atamanuik had perfected
Trump’s mug and mannerisms long ago, while touring in a live comedy show
called Trump vs. Bernie. Even so, Denier and Rogers, both Saturday Night Live
vets, put in a lot of sweat equity to upgrade the comic’s Trumpian appearance
for primetime. Here, in their words, is how the dream team keeps Atamanuik
looking — and feeling — positively presidential.
TOM DENIER, JR.
“When I was first contacted about the job, Anthony wanted to go full
prosthetic. I have a special effects company, and that’s mostly what we do.
We built a wrap-around prosthetic for his face. Sitting still, it looked great. But
the rubber on his face was inhibiting him. Anthony’s been doing Trump for so
long, he’s used to making faces by distorting himself. In the long run, I think
it would have been a nightmare for us to deal with applying the prosthetics
every day.
“Anthony’s makeup can be done in an hour when he sits still, but it
usually takes closer to two. He’s the show’s creator and host, and has a lot of
people wanting to confer with him at all times. Working around that is quite
the challenge. I can’t have his head moving back and forth.
“he process starts when I put a bald cap on him. I then shade the jawline
and all the dark recesses around the nasolabial areas to give him that jowly,
heavyset look. I use an alcohol palette to add creases and crow’s feet. hen, I
create a layered look by airbrushing over it all with Trump color.
“I first used an orange-based color to replicate Trump’s skin tone. But
it read too orange [under the lights], so I switched to a deep tan with just
a bit of coral adjuster. he lack of skin tone around the eyes is Trump’s
signature look. To achieve it, I have Anthony put on an old pair of gogglestyle sunglasses that I had from twenty years ago, and I spray around them.
With the dark sunglasses and the bald cap, he looks like a mad scientist from
Despicable Me. he hair totally transforms him. When it’s on, everything
comes together.”
BETTIE O. ROGERS
“I headed up the hairstyling department at Saturday Night Live for ten years,
so I’ve made at least ten Trump wigs at this point. To make Anthony’s, I
used around five different colors of hair. It took about forty-five hours to
individually hand-tie each hair to a custom lace foundation.
22 EMMY
NINA SCHELICH
“I’d describe the real Trump’s style as basic. I don’t think he puts a lot of
thought into it. When I worked on The Nightly Show, Larry Wilmore wore Boss
suits and looked super dapper. For The President Show, I wanted to go in
the opposite direction. I didn’t want the fit to look like anything custom, so I
purposely left the hem of Anthony’s trousers slouchier, and the length of the
sleeves on his French-cuff shirts an inch longer than I’d normally put on him.
I also turn the flag pin on his lapel upside down.
“My biggest challenge was creating a fat suit that Anthony could work
in for as long as possible. We actually ended up creating two fat suits. he
first is a one-piece that zips up the back. He wears it in the studio. Anthony
was emphatic about having the right butt on the fat suit, so the tailor, Jimmy
Hogan, and I looked at photos of what Trump would look like naked and
figured out how to put the excess weight on Anthony’s body. he suit is made
of nude Spandex with poly-fill batting for padding. he stomach and boob
pieces are filled with little hard pellets, like those in stuffed animals, to give
them weight. A mesh top-skin smooths the fat pockets. When Anthony has
the suit on without clothes, he looks like a naked chicken.
“Once we built that fat suit and Anthony started working in it, we realized
that when he does field pieces, he needs to be comfortable. We built a twopiece fat suit that he could take off more easily. he vest hooks up to a cooler
and helps bring his core temperature down.
“We usually have about a day to custom-make costumes. In one
episode, Anthony [as Trump] dressed as [a superhero patterned after] Evel
HEAD-TO-TOE
GAVIN BOND
TRUMP
“It’s a dishwater blond with some white accents
to give the effect that he colors his hair and there
are bits that were left out — maybe on purpose,
maybe not,” Rogers says.
“His skin tone is my biggest daily battle. I make
constant adjustments. I go heavier in the studio
because the lights are so bright. hen, when
we’re in the field, I bring it down,” Denier says.
“Anthony is quite the perspirer. In the back of the
bald cap he wears under
his wig, I leave a trough for
the sweat that drains down
his neck,” Denier explains.
“I didn’t want to be trashing a
$1,600 suit every time Anthony
did something funny. So I bought a
Lauren by Ralph Lauren suit off the
rack at Macy’s,” Schelich says. She
adds that they went through eight
to ten suits in the first season.
“Anthony’s shorter than Trump. he lift
shoes help his performance. hey elevate
him an inch and a half and pitch his body
weight forward,” Schelich says.
Knievel. We got a white zip-up janitorial suit and added French cuffs, a huge
collar and metallic trimmings…. We made a huge cape. I had yards of red,
white and blue fabric. We had an assembly line of PAs cutting out 400 stars
that we glued on the cape.
“We’re dressing people that everyone in the world knows and replicating
them in a way that’s funnier. For John Gemberling, who plays Steve Bannon,
we put fake dirt on his pants and gave him stomach padding. Before he went
“Anthony wears a fat suit in studio
that zips up the back. We added a lot
of fat to his stomach and hip area,”
Schelich says.
“I bought extra-long
ties in either red or a
brilliant stripe. hey
need to hit below the
belt,” Schelich says.
on camera, we sprinkled fake soap on his jacket collar to look like dandruff.
For Peter Grosz’s Mike Pence, we made a custom vest to bulk up his chest.
James Adomian had been playing the character of Bernie Sanders for a long
time with Anthony, so I just modified his look by putting him in a gray suit
(also with dandruff) and orthopedic shoes with rubber soles. I’d seen the real
Bernie up close several times at The Nightly Show, which helped.”
—Michele Shapiro
TelevisionAcademy.com
23
PHOTOGRAPHY ASSISTANCE BY MILES KERR AND AMANDA GREEN
STYLING BY STEPHANI LEWIS
GROOMING FOR BATEMAN BY KIM GREENE
HAIRSTYLING FOR BATEMAN AND LAURA LINNEY BY RITA PARILLO
MAKEUP FOR LINNEY BY SUSAN REILLY LHANE
BATEMAN’S SUIT BY ARMANI COLLECTION; SHIRT
BY THEORY; BELT BY RALPH LAUREN
LINNEY’S TURTLENECK BY HUGO BOSS; PANT BY
REBECCA TAYLOR; JEWELRY LINNEY’S OWN
When the Byrdes of Ozark fly south,
danger follows. For multi-hyphenate
Jason Bateman — who stars with
Laura Linney — the chilling Netflix drama
was a deep dive into “a 600-page movie.”
BY GINA PICCALO
THE
DEEP
END
EYOND THE STRING QUARTET AND THE ICE SCULPTURE,
THROUGH A CROWD OF CHEERY BLACK-TIE GUESTS, JASON
BATEMAN AND LAURA LINNEY ARE DANCING CHEEK-TOCHEEK, WHISPERING CONSPIRATORIALLY.
As Marty and Wendy Byrde, the duplicitous, moneylaundering duo on Netflix’s crime drama Ozark, they
sway and smile in the ballroom of Atlanta’s stately
Georgian Terrace hotel, plotting their next con. It’s an
unusually elegant setting for a series so unrelentingly
dark. But, as fans discovered in the dynamite first season,
nothing is as it seems in this show. And in the second
season, due this fall, the stakes are even higher.
Over the course of ten episodes released last
July, the Byrdes run for their lives from suburban
Chicago to the Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri with
their two teenagers in tow — and a deadly
Mexican drug cartel on their heels. In no time,
bodies turn up in the lake, a preacher’s pregnant
wife disappears, hit men are parked outside and
the Byrdes’ son develops a fondness for dead
animals and shotguns. Yet, somehow, there’s still
time for mundane marital squabbles over parenting
choices and overblown adolescent drama.
PHOTOGRAPHS BY NIGEL PARRY
TelevisionAcademy.com
25
“he Byrdes are a family just like many others — another family with
money problems,” says Cindy Holland, Netflix’s vice-president of original
content. “I think what’s captivating to audiences is, you keep asking yourself
if you were that character, what would you do? It starts from a point of real
relatability and just keeps spiraling from there.”
hat gangbusters narrative earned Ozark a second-season order just
three weeks after its debut. By fall, Bateman had earned an acting nomination
from the Golden Globes, he and costar Linney each had nods from the Screen
Actors Guild Awards and the show had a nomination from the Writers Guild.
By December, cast and crew were headed back to Atlanta for another sixmonth shoot.
On this chilly winter day, there’s a palpable sense of camaraderie among
the crew, a mix of locals and L.A. interlopers. Bateman is not only a series star,
but also an executive producer and director, and his poised professionalism
clearly sets the tone.
After a few takes in the ballroom, he darts out to watch playback on a
monitor with cinematographer Ben Kutchins. Adjusting his tux as he perches
on the edge of his director’s chair, Bateman offers quick, precise notes,
requesting a different lens to shoot that ice sculpture and a tighter shot for
the partygoers. In minutes, he’s back on set, consulting crew on lighting.
“he thing about Jason is, he gets straight to the point,” Ozark cast
member Julia Garner says in a call from New York. “here’s no running around
in circles with him. A lot of people make you run around. And Jason doesn’t do
that. He knows what he wants.”
Ozark presented a unique opportunity for Bateman. As an actor, the
role offered a complex setting for the sardonic everyman character he’d
mastered during his three seasons as Michael Bluth on the Fox cult comedy
Arrested Development. As an executive producer — a credit he shares with
showrunner Chris Mundy, creator Bill Dubuque and Mark Williams — Bateman
wanted to treat the ten-episode series as “a 600-page movie.”
“From a visual sense, I thought it was important to create an environment,
an atmosphere, a tone, a palette that felt kind of raw and authentic and a
little frayed,” he says while waiting for crew to reset the scene. “It’s not tidy.
Bad things could happen here. It’s real. Colors are probably desaturated and
lenses are a little bit longer. he music is a little bit more atmospheric and
sonic than it is rhythmic and melodic. All things in each department contribute
just a little bit to create an unsettling world.”
In the first season, as the Byrdes’ marriage is collapsing over Wendy’s
infidelity, they discover that, to stay alive, they have three months to launder
$8 million in an insular rural Missouri vacation spot. hey frantically buy up
every tourist trap they can find on the lake while playing it straight for their
two adolescent kids. Meanwhile, two local criminal clans threaten it all with
their own deadly schemes.
Even the writers thought the first season would be hard to top.
“We wanted to make sure that, despite the fact that there were these
insane things happening and this crazy premise, at every point we were
trying to ground it in reality,” says Chris Mundy, who is also head writer. “his
year, there’s something we might have Marty and Wendy do that — although
it seems small in comparison to some of the other crazy things — we’re
arguing over whether people would forgive them.”
In season two, the Byrdes dig their hole even deeper. Now they have $50
million in drug money to launder and at least that much in heroin to move.
In the Georgian Terrace scene, they’re crashing a Kansas City fundraiser to
befriend a political kingmaker in hopes of launching a legal waterfront casino.
“It’s a bit like a Chinese puzzle,” Linney says, pausing at one of the
ballroom tables. “hey’ve reached one level of safety, and a whole other level
of danger opens up to them.”
O
26 EMMY
ZARK QUICKLY DREW COMPARISONS TO AMC’S LEGENDARY
CRIME DRAMA BREAKING BAD, WITH BATEMAN’S FAMILYMAN FINANCIAL ADVISER LIKENED TO BRYAN CRANSTON’S
HIGH SCHOOL CHEMISTRY TEACHER. But Bateman, a fan of
David Fincher and Paul homas Anderson, had a few other influences in mind
when he envisioned his show. Above all, he aimed to have “a fine touch” that
would avoid anything treacly or overly earnest.
Having grown up in the business — from a child star into a leading man
whose tinder-dry wit and masterful comic timing earned him two Emmy
nominations for Arrested Development — Bateman knew what he was doing.
When the Ozark script reached him, he’d recently directed and produced
two dark comedies. In 2013’s Bad Words, he plays an obscenity-spewing
forty-year-old who competes in children’s spelling bees. In 2015’s The Family
Fang, he and Nicole Kidman star as siblings traumatized by their parents’
macabre performance art.
He wasn’t looking for a TV series, but once he’d read creator Bill
Dubuque’s script, Bateman wanted to run the show. He pitched an unconventional structure to Modi Wiczyk, co–CEO of Media Rights Capital,
the production company behind the series: Bateman would direct four
episodes and serve as a film-style director, overseeing everything but the
script. Mundy, known for his work on Bloodline and as showrunner of AMC’s
2013 thriller Low Winter Sun, would plot the narrative and run the writers’
room from Los Angeles.
“He has autonomy over his lane — all the scripts, all the writing, the plot:
who should we kill? Who should we not?” Bateman says. “And I basically cover
everything else. he shooting. Hiring of other directors [Daniel Sackheim,
Andrew Bernstein and Ellen Kuras also directed season-one episodes]. he
casting. he performances. A large portion of the editing. We’re still kind of
figuring it out as we go forward.”
Bateman asked the production design team to study the aesthetic of
cinematographer Adam Arkapaw, who won Emmys for his work on HBO’s
True Detective and Jane Campion’s BBC–SundanceTV series Top of the
Lake. Bateman also referenced writer-director Scott Cooper’s 2013 steeltown thriller Out of the Furnace. Before the start of shooting, Bateman hired
composers Danny Bensi and Saunder Jurriaans, who had scored his 2015
thriller The Gift. For Ozark, they created a standout sound palette of distortion
and “junk percussion.”
T
HE OZARK CAST, MEANWHILE, FEATURES A MIX OF YOUNG AND
ESTABLISHED TALENT. Most of them come with acclaimed stage and
film experience and aim for realism in their portrayals. As a director,
Bateman says he gives them the space to evolve their characters
independent of his influence.
“I feel that the part is the actor’s to play,” he says. “It’s not the director’s
to kind of shove the actor into. It’s not the writers’ or the studio’s or the
network’s. As long as there’s an agreed-upon finish line, it’s the actor’s
prerogative to get the character there any way they see fit.”
Scottish character actor Peter Mullan (Top of the Lake) plays the
genteel and deadly heroin manufacturer Jacob Snell. Jason Butler Harner
(Ray Donovan, The Blacklist) gives a visceral performance as an obsessed
undercover FBI agent. Michael Mosley, a versatile actor with lengthy film and
TV credits, was so compelling as the lakeside preacher whose life is upended
by the Byrdes that Netflix cast him in the drama Seven Seconds, which
premiered in February.
But Julia Garner stands apart as Ruth Langmore, a criminal genius and
the teenage matriarch of a clan of impoverished ne’er-do-wells. She’s made
an uneasy alliance with Marty, running his strip club while plotting his murder.
In season two, she faces a reckoning when her steely ex-con father gets
paroled.
“You’re not watching somebody perform — you’re actually witnessing an
actor frame up a part of themselves,” Bateman says of Garner.
Garner first earned critical note with roles in the 2011 Sundance hit
Martha Marcy May Marlene and more recently on Netflix’s 1970s drama The
Get Down. She splits time between the Atlanta set of Ozark and the New York
set of FX’s Emmy-winning The Americans, where she plays the daughter of
a CIA agent.
SHIRT BY THEORY
FROM A VISUAL SENSE, I
HOUGHT IT WAS IMPORTANT
O CREATE AN ENVIRONMENT,
N ATMOSPHERE, A TONE,
PALETTE THAT FELT KIND OF
AW AND AUTHENTIC AND A
ITTLE FRAYED....”
SUIT BY ARMANI COLLECTION; SHIRT BY THEORY; BELT BY RALPH LAUREN;
TURTLENECK BY HUGO BOSS; PANT BY
REBECCA TAYLOR; JEWELRY LINNEY’S OWN
Garner describes herself as “a Jewish girl from the Upper West Side.”
But in Ruth, she embodies a Southern firecracker as at ease rigging a deadly
booby trap as she is firing a gun. hough, she admits, the first time she had to
fire a gun as Ruth, she screamed.
“I knew that Ruth was going to be a three-dimensional character,”
Garner says. “here wasn’t one character in the show that wasn’t developed.
Each character had its own subconscious.”
S
HOW CREATOR DUBUQUE GREW UP AROUND FOLKS LIKE RUTH
AND THE LANGMORE CLAN. As a teen, he spent summers at the
Lake of the Ozarks, working as a handyman, pumping gas and
manning the grill at the Alhonna Resort, the inspiration for the series’
Blue Cat Lodge. After he had a family of his own, they vacationed at the lake.
“When I talk to people who are not familiar with Missouri or the Midwest,
they think I’m making it up,” he says in a recent call from his St. Louis home. “I
can show you a home for $5 million, and I can show you a home that’s worth
$30,000, and I can show you abject poverty. I can take you on the outskirts of
town to a trailer with two horses in the front yard and two Confederate flags.
It’s this whole mix of everything.”
While researching his 2016 Ben Affleck thriller The Accountant, Dubuque
learned a lot about money laundering. He started playing with the idea of a
family man saddled with loads of illegal cash and how that conflict might play
out in the Ozarks. In the process, the show illustrates the class divide in America
that has come to define the most polarized political climate in generations.
“I thought if I could do those things and use the lake as a metaphor for
capitalism and power, I’d have a winner,” Dubuque says. “hen it was getting
into these characters without making them look like stereotypes.”
In the writers’ room, Mundy says, early discussions revolved around
how HBO’s The Sopranos juxtaposed horrific crimes and unrelenting danger
against the ordinary challenges of a privileged middle-aged couple raising
two adolescents.
“We really thought about it as a story about a family in the middle of
this,” Mundy says. “he arc of the first season was about this marriage: can
it survive? And this family: can it survive? More than this plot about [whether
they can] launder this $8 million. You just felt in this strange way that if any
viewer was thrown into this situation, this felt realistic.”
hroughout the series, scenes of ordinary stress are mixed in with lifechanging devastation and terror. In the pilot, Bateman’s Marty blithely talks a
young couple through some financial planning options, while surreptitiously
watching a surveillance video on his computer of his wife unbuttoning
another man’s pants. here’s no indication from his even tone that it’s the
first time he’s confirming her affair.
After movers unload all their belongings onto the front lawn, Marty
chides his kids about bringing in some boxes, while pausing to matter-offactly explain the meaning of money laundering. Later, Marty’s son secretly
watches a gruesome news report about the murderous cartel that employs
his father.
Wendy, desperate to normalize the situation with a grocery-store run,
goes on a pilgrimage for her daughter’s favorite pistachio ice cream, only to
glimpse Mexican hit men tailing her. When a store clerk tells her they only
have mint chocolate chip, she throws a tantrum right there in frozen foods.
“What’s the most fun in dealing with her, even now, is that she’s a woman
who doesn’t know herself very well,” Linney says. “She’s very capable, but
she’s not terribly mature. And she’s not very in control of herself.”
Linney, a three-time Oscar nominee and four-time Emmy winner, last
led a TV series as a suburbanite grappling with cancer in Showtime’s The
Big C. After four award-winning seasons, the show ended in 2013. When
Bateman approached her, Linney had just finished two dramas, the 2015 film
Mr. Holmes opposite Ian McKellen and the 2016 biopic Genius. He flew to New
York and took her to breakfast to make his pitch. Bateman knew Linney’s
pedigree would draw talent to the production.
“She doesn’t do a lot of acting,” Bateman says. “Everything is just very
real. So you have to make sure you’ve got your shit together. Everything
needs to be buttoned up so you’re as believable as she is, which then basically
adds up to chemistry.”
Together, Linney and Bateman cultivate a restrained sort of depth and
intensity that not only amplify the tension of Ozark but also bring humanity
to the show.
“When you sign on to something like this, you have to take into
consideration it could last for a very short period of time, or it could last for
several years,” Linney says. “It’s all about the people that make the material,
and the material itself. I just followed an instinct. he world [of Ozark] itself
is interesting. But really, I wanted to help Jason create something that was
different for him.”
Go behind the scenes of emmy’s cover shoot with Jason Bateman and Laura
Linney at TelevisionAcademy.com/cover.
ONLY IN OZARK
JULIA GARNER
As the fierce, feral and deadly woman-child Ruth
Langmore, Garner is a masterful scene-stealer.
She cultivated a believable Missouri accent to
give this fast-talking matriarch of the Langmore
clan striking charisma and power. But it’s the
vulnerability behind all that bravado that makes
Ruth so dangerous.
Born in Riverdale, New York, Garner found acting at fourteen while
taking a class to help her overcome shyness. She made her film debut as
a teen cult member in the 2011 Sundance hit Martha Marcy May Marlene.
Garner went on to starring roles as a Mormon teen pregnant with what
she believes is a “miracle” baby in the 2012 drama Electrick Children,
as a cannibal in the 2013 horror thriller We Are What We Are and as Lily
Tomlin’s pregnant granddaughter in the 2015 dark comedy Grandma. She
also guest-stars on FX’s The Americans.
JASON BUTLER HARNER
In one of Ozark’s most complex portrayals,
Harner is Roy Petty, an undercover FBI agent
obsessed with nabbing Marty Byrde; his liaisons
with a fellow agent and a Langmore uncle only
complicate his investigation.
Harner, who has appeared for years in roles
off-Broadway, made his major film debut as a
sociopathic killer in Clint Eastwood’s Oscar-nominated Changeling. More
recently, he has appeared in meaningful guest-starring roles on Ray
Donovan, Homeland and The Blacklist, among other dramas.
MCKINLEY BELCHER III
As devoted and dogged agent Trevor Evans,
Belcher plays one of the few characters in Ozark
who has a well-developed moral compass.
Heartbroken by his volatile former lover Roy
Petty, he suspects his colleague is in over his
head.
Belcher earned a Drama Desk Award for his
role in Lincoln Center’s The Royale and made his film debut in John Sayles’s
2013 indie film Go for Sisters. In 2015, he appeared in David Simon’s HBO
miniseries Show Me a Hero, and he portrayed a secretly educated black
laborer on two seasons of Ridley Scott’s PBS Civil War series Mercy Street.
TelevisionAcademy.com
31
WHAT’S THE MOST FUN IN DEALING
ITH [WENDY], EVEN NOW, IS THAT
HE’S A WOMAN WHO DOESN’T
NOW HERSELF VERY WELL. SHE’S
ERY CAPABLE, BUT SHE’S NOT
ERRIBLY MATURE. AND SHE’S NOT
ERY IN CONTROL OF HERSELF.”
SWEATER LINNEY’S OWN
With eight seasons of her IFC show in the rear view,
actor-writer-producer-director Carrie Brownstein
adjusts to life beyond Portlandia, where she played
multiple characters (Carrie, Nance, Iris, Kath, Kris, Lance,
Lisa, Toni, Quinn…) and had to work at lightning speed.
With new TV projects, another book and a new album
with her band Sleater-Kinney, she has plenty of projects
ahead — though, hopefully, fewer wigs.
THE NEW
NORMAL
BY MARGY ROCHLIN
very actor has audition
stories. he casting directors who talk on their iPhones. he ones who noisily inhale a meatball
sandwich. he people who doze off. But Carrie Brownstein’s tale of her tryout for IFC’s Portlandia
is singular — especially because it took place at the wedding for the short-lived marriage
of Brownstein’s Portlandia costar and fellow executive producer Fred Armisen to actress
Elisabeth Moss.
Having been chosen as the best man (“for lack of a better word”), Brownstein was expected
to deliver a toast to Armisen in front of what she admits was a “tough audience” — something
of an understatement, given that she’s referring to the casts of NBC’s Saturday Night Live and
AMC’s Mad Men. Armisen was still an SNL regular at the time.
hough she wasn’t “super scared,” Brownstein also wasn’t fully aware of the high
stakes. Lorne Michaels, SNL’s creator and executive producer, was doubling as a wedding guest
and, unbeknownst to Brownstein, appraiser of her comic talents.
At the time, just for fun, she and Armisen had been collaborating on hipster-skewering
videos they posted on YouTube under the name hunderAnt. Seeing a sensibility emerging in
the short vignettes — which squeezed laughs out of clueless couples, aging hipsters and the
painfully earnest — Armisen’s manager told them, “here’s a tone here, a consistency in terms
of point of view. You guys should figure out a show.”
PHOTOGRAPH BY TINA BARNEY
34 EMMY
Not wanting to offend Michaels, Armisen felt obligated to run his concept
for a sketch-comedy series past an executive at Michaels’s company,
Broadway Video Entertainment. “[Fred’s] manager said, ‘I’m sure he’s not
interested in it. Just get his blessing and we’ll pitch it,’” Brownstein recalls.
What happened next took the duo by surprise: Broadway Video wanted to
produce the show.
Michaels was well acquainted with Armisen’s goofy charms. But when
it came to Brownstein, he needed persuading. Cut to her crushing it with
her wedding toast. “he fact that I was able to command a room and people
laughed, and that he saw the connection that Fred and I have, I think that instilled
in him a confidence in the idea of us as partners. Later, Lorne said, ‘hat was her
audition.’” She shrugs. “It’s slightly apocryphal. But it’s also partially true.”
ow, with Portlandia’s eighth and final season complete, Brownstein
is sitting at Kismet, an airy Mediterranean restaurant near her
Los Angeles home. She’s just arrived wearing a sparkly sweater,
black pants and a jacket, and a slightly frazzled expression. Her publicists,
having miscalculated her late-afternoon crosstown drive time, have been
functioning like a Carrie Brownstein Tracker app, issuing texts every fifteen
minutes: “She’s running late” … “hank you for your patience” … “She’s finding
a place to park.”
Sitting down, she quickly scans the menu and orders a side dish of
turnips with butter and preserved lemon. (“hat seems like a nice snack!”)
Brownstein, who prides herself on being prompt, hasn’t decompressed
quite yet. Midway through pouring a glass of water, she freezes. “You want
some, right?” hen she smiles and makes a deadpan joke. “For some reason
I thought, ‘Well, you’re doing all the heavy lifting right now with all your hardhitting questions.’”
Like most L.A. residents, Brownstein is subject to the city’s traffic snarls.
But her career — like that wedding toast — sustains a storybook quality. Who
N
36 EMMY
else can say they went from being lead singer–guitarist of an essential riot
grrrl band (Sleater-Kinney) to blogging for NPR Music to being an A-plus
helper at the Oregon Humane Society (she won a Volunteer of the Year
award in 2006) to co-creating and starring in a Peabody- and Emmy-winning
sketch comedy series?
he storybook pages keep turning: after directing a couple of episodes
of Portlandia, Brownstein decided to branch out, guest-directing episodes of
Comedy Central’s Idiotsitter, NBC’s A.P. Bio and Hulu’s Casual.
here’s also Search and Destroy, the Hulu pilot she wrote and will direct,
which was inspired by Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl, Brownstein’s raw
2015 memoir. It follows a pair of twenty-two-year-olds — loosely based on
Brownstein and her Sleater-Kinney bandmate, Corin Tucker — as they look for
a drummer in Olympia, Washington, ground zero of the riot grrrl movement.
Developing a pilot with Brownstein, recounts Sue Naegle — head of the
TV division at Annapurna Pictures, the production company behind the project
— has been an unexpectedly humbling ride. “She’s excellent at everything in
a way that I find almost infuriating,” Naegle says, laughing. “She’s the kind of
creator where I wake up in the morning and I already have four emails from
her laying out what we need to get done during the day.”
As Naegle sees it, everything about Search and Destroy has Brownstein’s
fingerprints on it, from the casting to the hiring of Ashley Connor (The
Miseducation of Cameron Post) as director of photography. “Carrie recently
said to me, ‘Action and participation supersede commentary.’ It’s really true.
How about if we just do it? his is a female director, a female DP. It’s going to
feel different just because of that.”
hen asked about foundational figures in her creative life,
Brownstein points to her drama teacher at her middle school
in the suburbs of Seattle. “You know how when you’re young,
everyone seems old? Well he was certifiably old — upper sixties, seventies,”
W
AUGUSTA QUIRK/IFC
On Portlandia, Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen, as concerned parents
Michelle and Brendan, consult a doctor played by Andy Kindler.
Brownstein says. She remembers appearing in a somber one-act called
Ladies of the Tower in which, at age twelve, she sat onstage in a semi-circle,
clad in a black robe, playing one of the wives of Henry VIII. “I loved how seriously
he took theater, that we weren’t doing the normal Brigadoon or Oliver Twist.”
hough Brownstein continued to appear in school plays until her high
school graduation, she had trouble finding other outlets. “Especially in the
[Pacific] Northwest, there’s not a huge theater community for a teenager. So
the music came along like a wrecking ball,” she says.
At fifteen, Brownstein bought and taught herself to play an electric guitar.
As a musician, she first rose to prominence with the band Excuse 17. But in
1994 she and Tucker co-founded the influential, still-revered feminist punk
group Sleater-Kinney. he band went on hiatus in 2006 but recorded a new
album in 2015 and is currently writing and recording a new album with no set
release date.
Looking back, Brownstein credits her tenure in the indie rock scene for
providing the basic tools needed to improvise in comedy. “With music,
especially with jamming, there’s a lot of listening, a lot of giving yourself
over to someone else’s idea,” she says. “I also think you can’t be allergic
to collaboration. I’m used to giving the stage. It puts your ego in check
automatically, because by default you are giving credit to a community when
you don’t posit yourself in the front of something. So I think that music and
sketch [comedy] have a lot of commonalities.”
hen Armisen talks about his friendship with Brownstein — they
met at an SNL after-party in 2003 — he makes it sound as if
their power partnership was meant to be. “It was an immediate
thing — we knew we had the same perception of things,” he says. Armisen
began flying out to Portland, where Brownstein lived at the time, and,
together, they’d beseech friends to shoot them playing characters like Toni
and Candace, the cantankerous proprietors of Women and Women First,
Portland’s leading feminist bookstore.
“We didn’t have the sense to monetize what we were doing or turn it into
anything tremendous,” Armisen says. “I think we just wanted to make these
little videos to show our friends. Sometimes the best reason to do anything
is no reason.”
As excited as Brownstein was about bringing their gaggle of “Portlandia”
eccentrics to television, sometimes in the early days jitters would take hold. “I
was scared out of my mind,” she says, recalling the moment on Day One of
AUGUSTA QUIRK/IFC
W
Brownstein, with Armisen,
as Portlandia transients
Quinn and Jeffrey
Portlandia when she and Armisen shot what would become one of their
signature bits, “Put a Bird on It!” — a sketch Brownstein wrote satirizing the
DIY home décor trend. “I was fine when we were doing a two shot,” she says.
“But I remember there was one point where it was, like, ‘Action,’ and they said
to me, ‘Just go ahead and riff on this,’ and I thought to myself, [quavery voice]
‘Am I able to do this?’”
Instead of falling apart, Brownstein rose to the occasion.
“When you’re working with one of the best, you have to keep up,” says
Karey Dornetto, a Portlandia staff writer and coexecutive producer. “I think
she’s now on par with Fred [when it comes to improvising].”
Dornetto loved the moment when she realized that Brownstein’s many
transformations extended to the world of music, as well. “It’s funny — I feel
like she’s very intellectual and together in person,” Dornetto says, setting up
her recollection of the first time she saw Brownstein perform with her postSleater-Kinney band, a supergroup called Wild Flag. “Then when she gets on
stage, you’re like, ‘Oh. She’s very punk rock. Don’t fuck with her.’ It’s cool to
see both sides.”
he way Brownstein talks about it, Portlandia was like an education in all
things TV, from acting to directing to writing to executive-producing.
“It’s hard to compartmentalize all those roles, and on Portlandia, we’re
moving at lightning speed. When I’m on set acting, I’m still thinking about the
writing.”
By contrast, when she describes her recurring role on Amazon’s
Transparent, it sounds like she’s talking about a me-time vacation. “here
was a freedom, a letting go, a giving myself over to another person’s vision,”
she says of her experience playing Syd Feldman, the acerbic lifelong friend
of Ali Pfefferman (Gaby Hoffmann). “Exploring a whole character or narrative
arc, you’re really immersing yourself in a world. I really relished it.”
Along with Transparent, Brownstein has built out her filmography with a
small part opposite Rooney Mara in Todd Haynes’s period romance Carol and
an appearance on Curb Your Enthusiasm as Larry David’s assistant. In Gus
Van Sant’s Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot, Brownstein plays the case
worker of real-life cartoonist John Callahan (played by Joaquin Phoenix), who
uses a wheelchair.
She approaches the possibility of each new role methodically, first
assessing whether or not it’s in her wheelhouse. “I think I am very, very good
on Portlandia. But,” she continues, laughing, “I’m a very self-aware person.
I’m not being self-deprecating. I think it’s good to have a sense of what you
can do.” Once, while she was talking with a director about a role, he remarked
lightly that she’d be expected to speak with a foreign accent. “I really identified
with the character,” she says. “But after that I was just like, ‘Um, no.’”
Last year, while doing a promotional tour for the seventh season of
Portlandia, Brownstein and Armisen caught fans — as well as IFC — off-guard
by revealing that the eighth season would be the last (viewers can catch up
via the IFC apps and on IFC.com, Netflix and other platforms). Asked about
the decision to end the show, Brownstein lights up. “I’m smiling because we
were so clumsy about it,” she says. “Fred and I said in an interview, ‘Yeah, we’re
just going to do one more season.’ And IFC was scratching their heads, saying,
‘Please don’t say that. Please let us be the ones to announce it.’”
Asked what he’ll miss about Portlandia, Armisen sounds like he’s already
in full-on mourning. “I’m going to miss watching Carrie be really intense,” he
says. “Whenever she screams or starts doing a chant, they have to either cut
away from me or edit it out. I always laugh.” Brownstein, on the other hand, is
so busy that she’s still in an emotional holding pattern. Along with Search and
Destroy and the slow-motion reformation of Sleater-Kinney, she’s working
on a series of essays, a follow-up to Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl.
“Friends and colleagues who’ve been in the same position tell me it’s like a
grieving process,” she says of the series’ end. “But this time of year, I’d be doing
the exact same thing: promoting [the upcoming season of] the show. But next
spring, when we do not reconvene in the writers’ room…?” Brownstein pauses.
“I think that’s going to be strange. But right now it still feels normal.”
T
TelevisionAcademy.com
37
WHIRLWIND PRODUCTION — ON TWO CONTINENTS — FOR AMAZON’S PHILIP K. DICK
“THE FATHER THING”
In the episode written and directed by series
executive producer Michael Dinner, aliens invade a
quiet suburb; in the climactic scene, he channeled
Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Even scarier than
the pod people created by U.S. production designer
Julie Berghoff and her team was the frenetic shooting schedule in Chicago, where production on
several of the episodes overlapped. “At the end, we
had four shooting simultaneously,” Berghoff says.
“We worked seven days a week.”
ANTHOLOGY SERIES WAS CHALLENGING, BUT WORTH IT
BY MICHELE SHAPIRO
Jack Gore (above, left) plays Charlie,
a ten-year-old whose dad (Greg
Kinnear) starts acting a little… off in
“he Father hing,” which writerdirector Michael Dinner describes as
“an emotional Freudian horror movie.”
Near right: Between takes, Gore sidles
up to Dinner, himself the father of two
boys. “Not to be corny,” Dinner says,
“but I did this as a gift to my kids.”
F
IVE YEARS AGO, producer Michael Dinner discovered the short stories of science fiction author
Philip K. Dick. Dinner — known for the 1990s TV series The Wonder Years and Chicago Hope,
and the more recent FX drama Justified — was already familiar with the big-screen adaptations
of Dick’s longer works, such as Blade Runner and Minority Report. But finding that the author
wrote more than 100 short stories made the producer feel he had unearthed a treasure trove of
untapped material.
Even more than the alternative universes Dick created, Dinner loved the emotional core of the stories
so much that he didn’t want to limit himself to telling just one.
40 EMMY
“THE COMMUTER”
In the first episode shot on location in London,
a train station worker (Timothy Spall, pictured)
visits an idyllic town that allows him to erase
a violent son from his reality. As for creating
the appealing alternative reality, U.K. hairmakeup designer Kirstin Chalmers says: “It
was a Martin Parr–inspired, heightened ‘70s
world. We wanted to make everything sharper
and brighter, but everything’s slightly off. he
[inhabitants] all look slightly odd, but you’re
not sure why.”
TelevisionAcademy.com
41
“IMPOSSIBLE
PLANET”
In this episode, two space-tourism
employees (Jack Reynor, Benedict
Wong) take advantage of a wealthy
elderly woman (Geraldine Chaplin)
who wants to travel back to dead
Earth. Left: A robot made of wood;
below: U.K. production designer Lisa
Marie Hall’s futuristic vision came to
life at the old Gillette factory site in
west London.
42 EMMY
“I went to Sony, where my company, Rooney McP Productions, had a deal,
and said, ‘How about an anthology?’” Dinner recalls. “I thought they’d say no,
but they embraced the idea.” Nearly four years later, Amazon commissioned
the series Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams for the U.S., as did Channel 4 for
the U.K. “All of a sudden it became real,” Dinner says. “When the train left the
station, it left quickly.”
he next order of business was to have twelve writers from the U.S. and
the U.K. submit scripts. Dinner wanted to forgo the traditional writers’ room
and instead encourage individual points of view. Of the dozen submissions,
season one of Electric Dreams would include ten episodes, half of which were
to be shot stateside and half across the pond.
“It’s not only two continents, but two entirely different film cultures,”
says Dinner, who complicated matters by wearing three hats on the project.
He served as an executive producer (one of fourteen on the series) and also
wrote and directed the episode “he Father hing,” starring Greg Kinnear.
Dinner describes it as “Invasion of the Body Snatchers through the eyes of a
ten-year-old boy” and says he did it for his two sons.
“My boys are twelve and fourteen. In the past, I did stuff they wouldn’t be
allowed to watch — cable or streaming fare. In the back of my head, I felt this
was one they could watch.”
But Dinner had an even bigger reason for assuming the added
responsibility of writing and directing the episode. “It spoke to me. We all
have daddy issues. I used to joke that The Wonder Years let us exorcise the
ghosts of our past.” He wasn’t the only one to tap into the emotional zeitgeist
of Dick’s work. “No matter how much world-building there is in some of the
stories, it’s not the genre that’s leading the way. It’s about the characters — a
“REAL LIFE”
“Everyone brought something to make it more
dynamic,” says Julie Berghoff of decorating
a futuristic city for this episode — complete
with a flying police car — in a matter of hours.
Time is also of the essence for the story leads: a
policewoman living in the future (Anna Paquin),
who shares headspace with a game designer
(Terrence Howard).
TelevisionAcademy.com
43
“CRAZY DIAMOND”
Ed Morris (Steve Buscemi, here, with Julia Davis) encounters a synthetic woman who
shakes up his mundane life. “You know real life people who try to make themselves
look like Ken and Barbie with extreme surgical procedures? I based the synthetic
woman on them,” says Kirstin Chalmers. Bottom left: Creating the part-human,
part-porcine creature (Joanna Scanlan) was a challenge. “I researched previous pigs
done with prosthetics, and they were menacing,” Chalmers says. Bottom right: “Money
went a lot further in Great Britain,” Michael Dinner says. “For ‘Crazy Diamond,’ we built
futuristic houses on the sides of cliffs along the ocean.”
44 EMMY
“KILL ALL OTHERS”
father-son story, a husband-wife story.”
Dinner quickly learned — as did the writers,
directors and crews he hired on both continents
— that an anthology series poses a unique set of
challenges. “It’s its own beast,” he says. “Some
episodes take place eight seconds in the future,
some are 800 years from now.” Unlike a series,
which has a set cast, with an anthology “you’re
starting from scratch every time,” Dinner says,
adding that “some people say Electric Dreams is
more like a collection of pilots. I think it’s more a
collection of movies.”
When a politician (Vera Farmiga, top) makes
a shockingly violent statement, a factory
worker played by Mel Rodriguez (below,
right) becomes an instant target. Dee Rees,
who directed the episode, “wanted the
factory to be mesmerizing for the people who
worked there,” says Julie Berghoff. “he color
palette was bright and cheerful to trick you
into thinking you were in a wonderful place,
even though automation had taken over.”
W
HEN IT CAME TO attracting
A-list talent from both
countries, the Philip K. Dick brand
was a draw. “Some people knew
his work,” Dinner says. “But
ultimately, the cast had to respond to the script.”
Many bold-faced names gravitated to the project.
Among them were Oscar winner Anna Paquin, who
plays a police officer sharing a consciousness with
a businessman portrayed by Terrence Howard in the
season opener, “Real Life.” Bryan Cranston stars
in the episode “Human Is” (and also serves as an
executive producer), while Steve Buscemi stars in
“Crazy Diamond.” Janelle Monáe plays an android
in the post-apocalyptic “Autofac,” which riffs on an
Amazon-like business that continues to operate
despite a lack of consumerism.
As if the anthology format of the series
weren’t enough of a mind-bender, the condensed
production schedule on both continents left little
time for preparation, reflection or sleep.
“We often have tight time schedules and
budgets,” says Kirstin Chalmers, hair and makeup
designer for the U.K.–filmed episodes. “What was
different here was, we were designing five films
for five directors simultaneously.” Chalmers came
on board in February 2017 and had a month to prep
before shooting the first episode, “he Commuter,”
about a British train employee with a mentally
troubled son. Each of the U.K. shoots, which also
included “Impossible Planet,” “Crazy Diamond,” “he
Hood Maker” and “Human Is,” lasted three weeks.
“We’d finish one on Saturday and start the next
on Monday,” Chalmers says. She worked closely with
production designer Lisa Marie Hall and costume
designer Edward K. Gibbon to create distinctive looks for each episode.
“It was a wonderful challenge,” she says. “My mind was racing.” Chalmers
equates the experience to childbirth. “You finish one episode and say it was
the hardest I’ve ever done, and then you do the next.”
hat pace was leisurely compared to its counterpart in the States, where
five episodes (“he Father hing,” “Real Life,” “Kill All Others,” “Safe and
Sound” and “Autofac”) were shot in and around Chicago. “We were shooting
on an eleven-day schedule, and the last three or four days overlapped
with the next shoot,” says Julie Berghoff, production designer for the U.S.
episodes. She was one of four female designers on the project, along with
costume designer Laura Jean Shannon, hair department head Cindy Shute
and makeup department head Aimee Lippert.
Chicago made sense as the U.S. location because, Dinner says, “it’s a
great place to shoot sci-fi. he city burned down at the turn of the [twentieth]
century, and the great architects of the world had to rebuild it. It’s old and new.”
Berghoff agrees that the city provided the perfect backdrop. “Dick’s characters
are the underlings, the working man, and Chicago’s such a working city.”
Electric Dreams was Berghoff’s first sci-fi project. “I was excited to
touch every aspect of every episode,” she says. For each one, she, the other
designers and the director hashed out the technology. “We asked, how do
doors and windows open? What does the future look like? It was coming
from our imaginations, and maybe some influences from our favorite scifi movies. Everyone brought something to make it more interesting and
dynamic.” he biggest challenge, she says, was coming up with five different
visions and tech for each story. “I didn’t want to copy what everyone else
had done.”
TelevisionAcademy.com
45
“THE HOOD MAKER”
Honor (Holliday Grainger) and Agent Ross
(Richard Madden) live in a world where mutant
telepaths, identified by their facial markings,
have replaced technology. “Creatively, I loved
‘he Hood Maker’”, says Kirstin Chalmers. “I
tried to create facial markings that were realistic
and feasible. For each skin tone, we had to work
out the most effective color mark.”
“SAFE AND SOUND”
Maura Tierney (top left) plays Irene Lee, the mother of
a small-town teen, Foster (Annalise Basso, top right),
whose social anxiety escalates after she moves to a
big futuristic city and starts wearing the latest tech
toy around her wrist against her mom’s wishes. he
episode’s candy-colored cars contrast with the Brutalist
architecture of the Chicago high school where much
of the episode was filmed. “I had found an amazing
futuristic school designed by Rem Koolhaas, but we
were shooting during the school year,” recalls Julie
Berghoff. When the first location fell through, she found
a concrete building with a timeless vibe.
For Dinner, the greatest obstacles were money and time, both of which
were in short supply. “You don’t have an unlimited budget in TV. You need
time to think of what the world you’re creating will look like, and you need time
to execute.” He adds, “What you really need to pull off a series like this is the
right people who creatively get it — and they have to have support.”
Berghoff says her core team of designers, builders, painters and set
decorators had four hours to execute the high-tech city in “Real Life,” which
included flying cars. But that was a cakewalk compared to their final episode,
“Autofac.”
“It was the biggest set to build and the most visual of all five,” Berghoff
says. “To create a futuristic factory in an apocalyptic world in two to three
weeks — including a six-foot drone and the inside of a spaceship — required
incredible diligence on the part of my team.” It also turned out to be the work
of which she is proudest. “My favorite pieces are the drones we designed. I
spent the most time on them and put the most detail into them.”
P
ROBABLY THE MOST massive undertaking from a production
design standpoint in the U.K. was “Crazy Diamond,” which entailed
building futuristic houses on the edge of some cliffs along the
ocean. But, Dinner points out, “Money went a lot farther in Great
Britain, where we got tax rebates across the board.”
When it came to creating distinctive looks for various characters in the
U.K. episodes, Chalmers’s team (and her imagination) worked overtime. Her
favorite task was creating the facial markings seen in “he Hood Maker.” In
the story, a meteorite crashes, and the people who develop these marks
become telepathic. For inspiration, she researched scarring on victims of
lightning strikes. he ultimate designs varied by skin color, and the hair
was tightly braided, “but electric, which was the theme,” she explains. “he
interesting thing was making the hair and makeup believable and realistic.”
In “Human Is,” Chalmers enjoyed the contrast between the “very
controlled military world” of the husband (Bryan Cranston) and the fetish club
TelevisionAcademy.com
47
“HUMAN IS”
Silas (Bryan Cranston, above,
also an executive producer on
the series) returns from battle
a different man, causing his
wife (Essie Davis) to wonder
what’s come over him. Could
these aliens have something
to do with it? Kirstin Chalmers
made sure that Cranston’s
character looked different
upon his return. “We used
subtle contact lenses to
make his eyes brighter and
greener.”
visited by the wife (Essie Davis of Game of Thrones) in one scene. “Everyone there had wild, fun facial
covering, body paint, sequins and rhinestones. I made it feel free and organic.”
hen there was the human-pig hybrid Chalmers had to create for “Crazy Diamond.” She fretted over
how to make Sue, a human pig, “endearing and lovely” rather than the “menacing” ones from films past.
So she based the pig’s hair on an early Lady Di style, and created trotters that could hug a steering wheel
while Sue drove. In the end, “Sue had lovely long eyelashes and soft ears,” Chalmers says. “Everyone
thought she was adorable.”
If Amazon and Channel 4 greenlight a second season, there will surely be an entirely new set of
challenges. As it stands, fourteen scripts are in development, Dinner says. “We got a lot of really big
writers now that they heard about the series, and a couple of returners.”
He adds that he and his production partners would definitely do a few things differently next time.
For one, “We’ll shoot everything in London, even if it’s an American-themed story.” But he wants to
preserve the series’ international bent by including writers, directors and actors from the U.S. and the U.K.
Despite the complexities posed by working on two continents during season one, Dinner says he
wouldn’t have changed a thing. “In many ways, it was very exciting. Even with the difficulties, we did some
really cool stuff, and it was a learning experience.”
48 EMMY
“AUTOFAC”
In this episode, the world has
collapsed, yet a huge factory
that delivers goods via
drone continues to operate.
“his was the last episode
we shot, and it was also the
biggest set build of all five
episodes shot in Chicago,”
says Julie Berghoff. “To
create a futuristic factory in
an apocalyptic world in two
to three weeks — including
a six-foot drone — took
incredible diligence on the
part of my team.” Janelle
Monáe (pictured) plays
Alexis, an automated Autofac
rep whose customer service
skills leave a lot to be desired.
he host of The Rundown with Robin Thede may be the only
African-American woman with her own late-night show, but
that’s not why she hopes you’ll tune in. “I know I have something unique to offer,” says hede, and her friend and former
colleague Larry Wilmore agrees. “She’s not just doing a show,”
he says. “She really wants to make her mark on the world.”
And though she’s fiercely funny — “she’s not kidding around.”
BY CRAIG TOMASHOFF
IN THE AIR
THIS ISN’T QUITE WHAT YOU’D EXPECT TO HEAR ABOUT SOMEONE WHO WOULD EVENTUALLY END UP HOSTING HER OWN
NATIONAL CABLE TALK SHOW. AND YET, IT’S HOW ROBIN
THEDE’S RISE TO THE TOP BEGAN — ACCORDING TO HER MOM.
“When she was about three, she and
her older sister would play school, but
Robin never talked. Ever,” Phyllis hede
says of her daughter, now the host of
BET’s The Rundown with Robin Thede. “I
was a little worried, so I took her to the
doctor. He said, ‘Can you talk?’ She nodded her head ‘yes.’ She knew how to talk. She just didn’t
because she had a sister who did it all for her. hen, a few days later, she came up to me and said,
‘Mom, can I have a drink of water?’ And there’s been no turning back since then.”
Phyllis is not joking, but apparently her daughter has been, ever since. hede’s comic career
has led her to work with the likes of Queen Latifah, Larry Wilmore and Kevin Hart and to her current
gig hosting The Rundown. A weekly half hour of timely pop-culture sketches, political commentary and field pieces, the series features something no other late-night talk show has: an AfricanAmerican woman as host.
hat’s not the reason she hopes people will watch. However, it is a reason she’s confident that
her viewers will find something no other current late-night series offers.
“I wanted to bring something to BET and the black community that hadn’t been done before,”
hede says. “here are a lot of white guys on TV, but there’s an untapped market for what we’re
doing. Being the only black woman in late night allows me to cover things differently and address
with authenticity issues that affect black women. I know I have something unique to offer, a point
of view and perspective on news stories that others don’t. I think people are tired of hearing the
same voices in late night. hose shows do well, but women and people of color are people we want
to hear from, too.”
Audiences definitely seem to be listening to what hede has to say. After The Rundown’s debut last October, The Hollywood Reporter praised the show for instantly settling “into its voice,
with a completely distinctive set of punchlines, references and comedic targets.” Vanity Fair raved
that hede “has an energy all her own: a little dark, but also mischievous and, at times, winkingly
conspiratorial, even when she’s covering heavy material.”
Meanwhile, Time listed a Rundown sketch parodying The Handmaid’s Tale (called “he Hairmaid’s Tale”) as one of its top ten late-night television moments of 2017. Deadline.com also
named the show one of its top ten new series of the year.
his success, according to hede’s BET bosses, is a direct result of the host herself.
“Robin’s commitment to honest yet funny commentary about things happening in our
country and communities across the world is unmatched,” says Connie Orlando, BET’s head of
PHOTOGRAPHS BY ISLAND BOI PHOTOGRAPHY
50 EMMY
programming. “As a network, it’s our responsibility to ensure our audience
understands they have a voice and perspective that deserves to be heard,
and every week Robin stands up to anyone who dares challenge otherwise.”
BET
GETTING HER VOICE HEARD HAS LONG BEEN A SPECIAL SKILL
OF THEDE’S. OKAY, SO THERE WAS THAT SLOW START WHEN
IT CAME TO SPEAKING, BUT IT DIDN’T TAKE LONG FOR HER TO
START DEVELOPING OPINIONS AND SHARING THEM. GROWING
UP IN DAVENPORT, IOWA, SHE BECAME A NEWS ADDICT FROM
THE MOMENT SHE STARTED WATCHING TELEVISION.
“When I came home, the five o’clock news was on,” hede recalls. “We’d
eat dinner. I’d do homework. hen it was the ten o’clock news, so we’d watch
that. When we weren’t watching Must See TV, we watched the news. Even as
a little kid, I would mock newscasters, and my sister and I would do these fake
newscasts. It was important to know what was going on in the world.”
As a regular television viewer, she quickly realized one thing was missing
from nearly everything she watched: people who looked like her.
“When you aren’t seeing someone like you doing what you want to do,
it seems like that thing is exclusive to others,” says hede, who was named
after one of her father’s favorite comedians, Robin Williams.
he first performer she remembers relating to was Whoopi Goldberg.
While hede says she “didn’t understand who she was, I was captivated. I
didn’t know black women could do that. I could see that black women were
able to do what white women could do in comedy. I knew then that I wanted
to go to Hollywood but just didn’t know how to do it.”
Her first step toward California came when she turned thirteen. After answering a local TV station’s want ad for outgoing students to work on air, she
became one of the hosts of a local news show, Quad-Cities Kids to Kids. On this
Saturday-morning series, young correspondents interviewed local newsmakers
such as zookeepers and teachers. hede did that for four years, before heading
off to study journalism at Northwestern University. While in Chicago, though, she
discovered Second City comedy classes — and everything changed.
“We went to see her do shows in Chicago and knew she was going to do
bigger and better things,” says Phyllis, now an Iowa state legislator. “Going to
Los Angeles after that was clearly just the next step, because Robin’s never
been afraid to put herself out there. She is fearless and will throw herself 100
percent into anything she does. And I can really see that with this new show
she’s created.”
Upon arriving in Hollywood, hede found small roles in sitcoms like All
of Us and Buppies while also writing for several BET awards shows and the
short-lived Fox sketch show In the Flow with Affion Crockett. She went on
to script episodes of BET’s parody series Real Husbands of Hollywood and
become head writer on Queen Latifah’s syndicated 2013 daytime talk show.
hen, in 2015, Comedy Central was looking for a new companion piece to
run after The Daily Show. Larry Wilmore came on board to host The Nightly
Show, and when he needed a head writer, he knew precisely whom to call.
Years earlier, he’d seen an L.A. comedy troupe perform, and one woman in
particular stood out. hat’s when he began following hede’s career, so when
her name came up in discussions for his show, it felt like a perfect fit.
“She had the right combination of sensibilities,” Wilmore explains. “She
had improv skills, she understood late night’s style of comedy and she could
perform. I always felt she could be one of those true multipurpose talents
that are hard to find. Plus, she’s not only smart and funny — she is an unabashed lover of pop culture. I don’t know how she keeps up with it all, but she
can slip in a Beyoncé joke as easily as a Trump joke.”
Wilmore admires hede’s ability to be “a fierce defender of black-girl
magic — she makes sure that black women are not going to be invisible.” She
is just as impressed by his ability to communicate with an audience.
“I learned everything from Larry,” she says. “He taught me you can’t punch
down with your comedy. You can’t go after the powerless. Too many people
make that mistake. It’s easy to make jokes about people who are struggling,
but Larry taught me how to write a great joke with something smart to say.”
THEDE AND WILMORE REMAINED FRIENDS AFTER COMEDY
CENTRAL SUDDENLY PULLED THE PLUG ON THE NIGHTLY SHOW
IN 2016, AFTER MORE THAN 250 EPISODES. WHEN THEDE TOLD
HIM SHE WAS WORKING ON A NEW SERIES FOR BET, WILMORE
ADMITS, “I WAS MAD THAT I WASN’T DOING IT WITH HER! WHEN
SHE TOLD ME WHAT THE SHOW WOULD BE, I THOUGHT IT WOULD
BE PERFECT FOR HER. A COMBO OF POP CULTURE, POLITICS
AND SKETCHES IS SOMETHING SHE CAN DO WELL.”
The Rundown isn’t BET’s first attempt at a late-night talk show. From
2009 to 2011, the network had The Mo’Nique Show, one of a very small group
of post-primetime comedy series to feature a black female host. (Wanda
Sykes had a show on Fox for one season in 2009, and Whoopi Goldberg had
a syndicated show from 1992 to ‘93.) hat scarcity of minority women is what
inspired hede to create something “that will stand out from the pack” of the
white, male-dominated world of late-night TV.
She partnered with Chris Rock and Jax Media (Full Frontal with Samantha
Bee), and they actually used their own money to create a pilot for The Rundown.
“I had gone to meet with Jax about a different project and started talking
about other things,” hede recalls. “hey said, ‘If you were to do a late-night
show, what would it be?’ I said it’d be a mix of politics and pop culture, including sketches. I named all the things I liked in late night, and they said, ‘Okay,
we’ll take it.’ I didn’t even realize I was pitching, but within two months we’d
made the pilot and sold it.”
At outlets other than BET, she kept hearing that “people loved it, but they
had no place for it. I knew what that meant. hey didn’t want to take a chance
on a show with a black woman who wasn’t a household name. It was frustrating getting that feedback, and even those who had interest wanted to change
it to be something that wasn’t authentic for me.”
Network executives may not have known what to make of a black woman
hosting a comedy show, but many of hede’s late-night peers have become
fans. She says Trevor Noah, Jordan Klepper, Samantha Bee and Seth Meyers
are just a few of those who have offered support. “here really isn’t a competition anymore,” she says. “Everyone has found their own space.”
Still, according to Wilmore, hede is “competitive in a good way. hat’s
why I feel good about where she’s heading. She’s not just doing a show. She
really wants to make her mark on the world, and she’s not kidding around.
Nerves aren’t something that I’ve ever sensed coming from her. It’s just the
opposite. here’s a restlessness with her, where getting to do The Rundown
couldn’t come quickly enough.”
While hede’s humor often springs from her experiences as an AfricanAmerican woman, she is confident all viewers can find something to relate to
within that realm — as long as they get past their preconceptions and tune in.
“If you’re a regular white person going about your life, you may not
have conversations of substance with people of color, or even with women,”
she says. “I think it’s important for people who don’t look like me to watch,
because they’ll get a much clearer view of the world than what they can see
on the news. his show is a celebration of black community, thoughts and
opinions and can be eye-opening for a lot of people who don’t interact with
black people on this level.”
TelevisionAcademy.com
53
THE WESTERN
From left: TONI TRUCKS, DAVID BOREANAZ, MAX THIERIOT, NEIL BROWN JR., JESSICA PARÉ and AJ BUCKLEY
FRONT
As the elite commandos of CBS’s SEAL Team,
they dive into danger with the fate of the
free world at stake. On a day off in the Malibu
hills — and out of their combat gear — these
actors stand their ground on a different kind
of western divide.
PHOTOGRAPHS BY JAMES DIMMOCK/CREATIVE 24
STYLING BY AISHA RAE
STYLING ASSISTANCE BY ANGEL CROSS
HAIR BY KATY FRAY AND LIZA COGGINS
MAKEUP BY MARGEAUX FOX AND MARISSA SMITH
TONI TRUCKS’S BLOUSE BY ULLA JOHNSON; SKIRT
BY SHE’S ROYAL; RING AND BRACELET BY BONHEUR
JEWELRY; GOLD STUDS BY AURATE NEW YORK
SHOES TRUCKS’S OWN.
DAVID BOREANAZ’S JACKET BY RRL; T-SHIRT AND
JEANS BY RRL; BOOTS BY ARIAT.
MAX THIERIOT’S T-SHIRT BY ALLSAINTS; JACKET BY
PORTS; JEANS BY LUCKY BRAND; SHOES, HIS OWN.
NEIL BROWN JR.’S SHIRT BY R.M. WILLIAMS; PANT BY
ALLSAINTS; JACKET BY LUCKY BRAND; SHOES BY
BACCO BUCCI.
JESSICA PARÉ’S TOP, PANT AND BELT BY CONCEPTO;
SHOES BY JUST FAB; RING BY BONHEUR JEWELRY.
AJ BUCKLEY’S V-NECK BY TANKFARM; PANT BY
NUDIE; JACKET BY ALLSAINTS; BELT BY LEVI’S;
SHOES BY FRYE
DAVID BOREANAZ
Master Chief Special
Warfare Operator
Jason Hayes, leader
of the Navy SEAL
unit known as Team
Bravo
JACKET BY LEVI’S VINTAGE; T-SHIRT BY RRL
TelevisionAcademy.com
57
TONI TRUCKS Logistics Specialist First Class Lisa Davis
SHIRT BY MICHAEL STARS;
JEANS BY LUCKY BRAND
MAX THIERIOT Special Warfare Operator Clay Spenser
V-NECK BY THEORY; JACKET BY LUCKY BRAND
AJ BUCKLEY Special Warfare Operator Sonny Quinn
BLOUSE BY REBECCA TAYLOR; JACKET BY ULLA JOHNSON;
EARRINGS BY BONHEUR JEWELRY; JEANS, PARÉ’S OWN
JESSICA PARÉ Officer Mandy Ellis, CIA liaison
BOREANAZ, BROWN JR., BUCKLEY and THIERIOT
BOREANAZ’S JACKET BY RRL; T-SHIRT
AND JEANS BY RRL. BROWN JR.’S SHIRT
BY JOHN VARVATOS; PANTS BY H&M.
BUCKLEY’S V-NECK BY TANKFARM; PANTS
BY NUDIE; BELT BY LEVI’S; SHOES BY
FRYE. THIERIOT’S T-SHIRT AND JACKET BY
ALLSAINTS; JEANS, HIS OWN.
62 EMMY
JACKET BY LUCKY BRAND
NEIL BROWN JR. Senior Chief Special Warfare Operator Ray Perry
64 EMMY
Perfect Union
Starring as the March sisters in Masterpiece’s Little Women
are (from left) Kathryn Newton as Amy, Willa Fitzgerald as
Meg, Maya Hawke as Jo and Annes Elwy as Beth.
As the U.S. recovered from a savage Civil War, Louisa May Alcott
published the perfect balm: a tale of four sisters, different yet devoted.
Now, in an era that many find divisive, Masterpiece unveils a new
Little Women, a production that — for the many women on the set —
became a celebration of sisterhood.
BY LISA ROSEN ■ PHOTOGRAPHS BY PATRICK REDMOND
TelevisionAcademy.com
65
Yo
f
other. And that was just on set.
To hear them tell it, the cast and crew of the latest adaptation of Little
Women were as devoted to each other as they were to the material. Creating
that affection was so crucial for director Vanessa Caswill that she held two
weeks of rehearsals before filming began in Ireland last summer. “By the
end of it, they felt like family,” Caswill notes, speaking by phone from London.
“here was intimacy, truth and history between them.”
Very little time was spent working on the script, however. “It was less
about rehearsing the scenes and more about creating a family dynamic and
ways of being with each other,” says Willa Fitzgerald, who plays Meg, the
oldest of the four March daughters. To that end, they improvised, performed
theatrical exercises and danced. Extensively. “hey did it for hours,” says
Caswill, who goes by the nickname Ness, “so by the end of it they were
completely in tune with each other, and yet they moved as individuals.”
Recalls Maya Hawke, who plays the second daughter, aspriring writer Jo:
“We spent time staring into each other’s eyes and telling stories about our
childhoods.” She adds that she and Jonah Hauer-King, who portrays Laurie
Laurence — the rich but unpretentious boy next door — danced like monsters
for two hours.
“We shared everything about our lives,” says Annes Elwy, who plays
daughter number three, the sweet but ailing Beth. “It was really important
that we knew each other inside out before we started, and we really did.”
During a day of interviews with cast and crew in various nooks around the
stately Langham Huntington Hotel in Pasadena, Elwy and Fitzgerald sit side
by side on a couch, as comfortable as old friends. Or sisters.
Working with such iconic material, Caswill knew casting was critical.
Searching beyond talent, she sought women “with integrity and depth and
understanding, that really answered the themes of the story.”
he trials of the March family have captivated young, predominantly female imaginations since Louisa May Alcott’s novel was
first published in 1868, and screen adaptations stretch back to the
silent-film era. he latest Masterpiece–BBC coproduction is three hours
long; the first hour airs on PBS on Mother’s Day (May 13); the final two hours
will air a week later.
Executive producer Colin Callender, principal of Playground
66 EMMY
. It
ish
women know the book, British men don’t,” says Callender, who used to read
the novel to his daughters. “But as it happens, the head of drama at the BBC,
a man called Piers Wenger, knew it very well, and he loved the idea.”
Masterpiece executive producer Rebecca Eaton caught wind of the
production early and, in her own words, “pestered” Callender for it. “Every
now and then a project comes along which is dead obvious: Yes,” she says.
he BBC greenlit the series in January 2017, and Callender quickly tapped
Heidi homas (Call the Midwife) to adapt the material so that production
could begin that summer.
homas — also an executive producer, with Callender, Eaton, Sophie
Gardiner and Lucy Richer — relates that the material presented unusual
challenges. “You’re not just taking in people’s knowledge and love of the
novel,” she says. “You’re taking in people’s faint misremembrance of the
novel. And you will be judged against that as much as you’ll be judged against
the actual text.” In response, she hewed closely to the book. “I realized that I
didn’t just love it, I respected it.”
She saw the characters with fresh eyes. Meg is usually considered the
virtuous sister, “but one of the things I found very attractive in rereading it,
and what I wanted to put on screen, is she begins the story in a place of profound discontent.” hat complexity made her much more interesting to write.
And to play. “I always found Meg a very comical character because she
takes herself very seriously,” Fitzgerald says. “And also very moving when
she finally found what she was looking for.” he actress tracked down the
homemaking manuals Meg studies in the novel, which she found highly
entertaining. She also started a journal as Meg. “Both of those things were
helpful in getting into the world in which your sister [accidentally] burning
your hair off before a party is catastrophic.”
he book also surprised homas when it came to conveying the shy,
retiring Beth. “I was very much struck by the number of attempts Beth
made to get to Mr. Laurence’s house, because in actual fact it isn’t that she
doesn’t want to go, it’s that she can’t go.” Nowadays, Beth would probably
be diagnosed with social anxiety or agoraphobia, she says, “but what I really
homed in on was, Louisa May Alcott actually says the family was well aware
of Beth’s infirmity.”
Growing up in Wales, Elwy never knew about the novel, so the script was
her first exposure to it. When she read the book, she related to Beth and Jo in
Jonah Hauer-King, as Laurie Laurence, with Newton
Emily Watson (center) as Marmee, with her
daughters, played by (clockwise from bottom
left) Newton, Hawke, Fitzgerald and Elwy
equal measure. “As an actress, I obviously have different sides to me, too, but
there definitely is a side that’s shy and quiet,” she says. “To be allowed to be
that person for a few months felt very easy.”
Hawke, on the other hand, knew the story intimately. Barely contained
by a chair at the Langham, she wears jeans, a black jacket and sneakers — a
look that would probably earn the approval of free-thinking Jo. A fan of the
Transcendentalist movement and its practitioners (which included Alcott,
her father, Bronson, and their friends Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David
horeau), Hawke had visited the Alcotts’ Concord home, the Orchard House,
as a child. he daughter of Uma hurman and Ethan Hawke, she resembles
her mother in look and voice. Jo is her first role, and, like millions of women
before her, she identifies strongly with the character.
“She is so passionate,” Hawke says. “She loves language and storytelling
and adventure, and she wants more from this world and from life. She’s
hungry, and that kind of hunger is something I can really relate to.”
Writer homas brought forth qualities in Jo that hadn’t been as evident in
previous incarnations. “People tease her; people think she’s different and weird,”
Hawke says. “I wanted to expose what she would be mocked about, which is the
quirkiness and silliness and someone who makes mistakes and fumbles.” She
plays the role with a coltish energy, all gangly limbs and flyaway hair.
In contrast, youngest sister Amy, played by Kathryn Newton, has perfect
curls and pretty manners — until she doesn’t get her way. Newton could
relate. “She was my favorite girl when I read the book a long time ago,” she
says, speaking by phone from a film set in England. “I liked that she wanted
everything to be her way, and kind of got it in the end.”
or all the actresses, studying the Marches’ world and its
constrictions — from corset to travel — helped shape their
portrayals. “here’s something that happens when you’re
on the set and you’re in the [family] living room and look around,”
Newton says. “You kind of get there. Today we’re constantly on our phones
and entertained — back then, you had to entertain yourself. It’s a completely
different way of thinking. A much less selfish way of thinking.”
he actresses followed suit, making their own fun together rather than
TelevisionAcademy.com
Fitzgerald, Elwy and Hawke
69
turning first to their phones. Along with Hauer-King, they held impromptu
dance parties every day during their lunch break, read poetry to each other,
had dinner together nightly and, back at their hotel, spent the evenings
drawing, painting, playing guitar and writing songs with each other.
“It was a very creative, stimulating community that we forged,” Elwy notes.
Or, as Hauer-King puts it, “It was a bit of a hippie camp.”
he young actors are relatively unknown to audiences, and predominantly
American, while the mature roles went to British royalty. Michael Gambon
plays Mr. Laurence (grandfather to Laurie), Angela Lansbury is the formidable
Aunt March and Emily Watson was everyone’s first choice for the March girls’
mother, Marmee.
“Emily has a profound sense of humanity that’s in her every pore,” says Callender, who had worked with Watson before. “Yet there’s a twinkle and a mischief
that makes it fun, and a gravitas that holds center stage.”
homas remembers identifying with Jo as a child. “And of course now I’m
way old enough to be Jo’s mother, and I think the character that unfolded the
most for me is Marmee.”
hat’s Watson’s take, too. “I was Jo. Now I’m Marmee. How did that
happen?” She appreciated homas’s exploration of Marmee’s anger, which is
in the book but feels thoroughly modern — as are many of the themes, even
though the story takes place during the Civil War. “here are so many echoes
for now; we find ourselves very divided and polarized, and it’s making people
stand up for decency across the board in so many ways,” Watson says quietly.
“he first thing we see the [Marches] do is give their Christmas breakfast to a
family of German immigrants, and the irony is not lost.”
Most of the production, cast and crew, were female. Fitzgerald recalls
looking around the room at the read-through and noticing that, other than
the actors, Callender was the only man present. Even before that, she knew
this would be a unique set.
“Four weeks before we started shooting, I got an email from Ness and
Susie Liggat, the producer, in a very long-winded and funny way asking
if it would be okay if I didn’t shave my armpits for the next four weeks and
through filming, because they wanted to make it authentic.” She and Elwy
laugh at the recollection. “I was like, this is the best email I have ever received
from a producer in my professional life. hat is something that I don’t think a
male producer would even think of.”
Elwy says: “It set the tone.”
Caswill agrees. “It was a very female environment, and it was a kind and
generous one. We knew each other very well, very quickly.” She then hastens
to add: “We had incredible men on this project as well!”
One of them, Hauer-King, grew up in a house full of women, so he was
used to that experience. But he was new to the book — like most boys, he had
never read it as a child. “And I think it’s a shame. So I really hope that a lot of
boys and men watch this and it inspires them to read the book. I got so much
out of it, and saw so much of myself in each of the four girls in different ways.
And why wouldn’t I? hey’re humans.”
Despite her decades in the industry, Lansbury found the experience
of working with a female director highly unusual. “She didn’t make large
pronouncements on the set of what she was looking for,” says the eighteentime Emmy nominee. “She would come and literally whisper in your ear what
she was hoping to achieve in that given moment of the script.”
ansbury also discovered that Aunt March was a tough
role to crack. “If you’re playing a whole character, you can’t try to
woo the audience into thinking, ‘Oh, I’m a nice old person after all.
Love me a little.’ I’ve never done that.” She found glimmers of
humor in the role nonetheless.
“It kind of was a scary thing to work with Angela Lansbury,” Caswill
admits. “But she was so approachable and lovely.” Inspiring, even. Says Elwy:
“It was interesting to see how someone else is making this career work, as
they grow from being Emily to being Angela.”
Lansbury believes the next generation will no longer have time for the
March sisters. “‘he world is too much with us,’ as Wordsworth said. ‘Getting
and spending, we lay waste our powers.’ Indeed, we do. Today’s world is fast
receding from what’s coming up ahead of us.”
But for this generation’s cast, the experience still resonates. “We kind of
all fell in love with each other,” Newton says. “It could have been just another
movie, but new friendships were grown.” Even a sisterhood.
Watson (foreground) with (from left) Fitzgerald, Hawke, Newton and Elwy
70 EMMY
Angela Lansbury as Aunt March
WITH TIME SLOTS LESS IMPORTANT THAN
EVER, NETWORKS ARE MONETIZING
COMEDY CLIPS AND SEGMENTS ALL OVER
THE SOCIAL INTERNET.
BY DANIEL FRANKEL
TE
IFTING
PHOTOILLUSTRATION BY TODD REUBLIN
TelevisionAcademy.com
73
QUARTER CENTURY AGO, WHEN JAY
LENO AND DAVID LETTERMAN VIED
PUBLICLY TO SUCCEED JOHNNY
CARSON AS HOST OF THE TONIGHT
SHOW, THE PROGRAM’S VENERABLE
BRAND WASN’T THE ONLY PRIZE THEY
COVETED. LETTERMAN — WHO’D
BUILT THE LONG-FORSAKEN 12:30 A.M.
TIME PERIOD INTO A MUST-SEE FOR COLLEGE
STUDENTS AND OTHER NIGHT OWLS — WANTED
THE TONIGHT SHOW ’S MORE MAINSTREAM
11:30 P.M. TIME SLOT. HIS LONGTIME FRIEND
LENO, OF COURSE, WAS IN THE WAY.
From today’s perspective, their battle appears somewhat anachronistic
— and not just because both men have retired from late night (though
Letterman has resurfaced with a one-on-one talk show on Netflix, while
Leno indulges his car crush on CNBC with Jay Leno’s Garage). In the era of
the social internet, the whole notion of late night is being called into question.
Time periods are less important than ever.
It’s no secret that digital platforms are changing how we watch television.
Primetime series have seen their ad bases and lucrative syndication market
undermined by binge viewing on subscription-based, on-demand platforms
like Netflix. Late night has faced a slightly different but equally disruptive
digital fate — getting chopped up into clips and splattered all over YouTube,
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and other social platforms. hese
clips might be viewed at night, but they’re available at all hours of the day.
Back in 2015, NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke shocked the industry by
revealing that 70 percent of viewing for The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy
Fallon was occurring via clips on digital platforms — and not being monetized.
“his isn’t going to last forever,” Burke told investors. “Measurement
and monetization are only going to get better.” In fact, the tide was already
turning.
Jump forward three years, and competition in late-night comedy is
thriving, boosted by the nightly lampooning of an unpopular president. From
production to audience measurement to ad sales, networks are starting to
make the social internet work for them, not against them.
“he digital audience is bigger than the linear audience, [because of]
the many ways users can engage with the show across the platform most
relevant to them,” says Rob Hayes, head of digital at NBC Entertainment.
And it’s not just about clips anymore, he points out. Viewers also watch full
episodes of The Tonight Show on NBC.com, the NBC app and Hulu.
here’s no getting around it: time periods no longer matter nearly as
much as a well-planned, well-executed digital strategy.
74 EMMY
“We distribute and monetize clips across a network of partners,
including YouTube and Facebook,” says Marc DeBevoise, president and COO
of CBS Interactive, describing the network’s strategy for selling The Late
Show with Stephen Colbert and The Late Late Show with James Corden. “We
approach digital as a collaborative effort between the shows, studio, network
and interactive teams, and across platforms we are now measuring and
monetizing most, if not all, the viewership for our shows. We look at [digital]
platforms as great marketing channels that we can also monetize.”
N
ETWORK LATE NIGHT WAS ACTUALLY INSTRUMENTAL IN BUILDING THE SOCIAL VIDEO PARADIGM, AND IN A VERY REAL SENSE, THE GENRE
ENDED UP DISRUPTING ITSELF.
Sharing clips from late-night shows dates back to the dawn of YouTube,
and it’s debatable whether the Google-owned platform would have grown
as huge without this content. In December 2005, relative unknown Andy
Samberg and his partners in the Lonely Island comedy trio were trying
desperately to crack Lorne Michaels’s code and get airtime on Saturday Night
Live. heir Beastie Boys–inspired short, “Lazy Sunday,” became one of the
first viral hits on the newly launched YouTube platform.
In fact, by the end of the first full week after its airing on SNL, the twominute, eighteen-second clip — which tracks Samberg and costar Chris
Parnell’s rap- and cupcake-fueled journey through New York City to see
The Chronicles of Narnia — had been viewed more than 2 million times on
YouTube. he platform’s overall traffic jumped 83 percent that week.
It took several years of rampant piracy and perhaps billions of dollars
of uncounted and unmonetized viewership for the networks and producers
to wrap their heads around what had happened. But slowly, they began to
shut down unauthorized postings of their clips and centralize their assets on
their own YouTube accounts. hey also began to study other emerging social
platforms — like Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat — to get ahead of the curve.
Most of all, with viewers heading to bed earlier, networks started
adapting how they produced shows, creating segments with viral potential
and posting them quickly.
“Speed is of the essence — we make sure we get our SNL clips up
immediately after 1 a.m. on the East Coast,” Hayes says. “We’re focused on
short-form and social. Before I got here [in 2012], we were focused on domain
— driving people to the [NBC] website. But it’s not about that anymore. We
have to make our content available so people can see it.”
Pretty soon, every major late-night show had at least one viral hit to
boast about — a clip that, unlike the disposable daily churn of the linear
broadcast, would be immortalized on the internet, where it could enjoy the
benefits of “long tail” viewership.
In early November 2011, for example, ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live posted
a clip montage of parents telling their distraught children that they’d eaten
all of their Halloween candy. hat video has generated more than 60 million
views and is still going.
In December 2013, TBS late-night host Conan O’Brien posted a video
of himself sharing a Lyft ride with rapper-actor-producer Ice Cube and
comedian-actor Kevin Hart. hat clip has generated more than 41 million
views to date.
And in April 2014, Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show lip-sync battle with
actress Emma Stone hit YouTube, where it has garnered nearly 88 million
views so far.
hese days, late-night success isn’t measured so much in Nielsen
ratings but in YouTube channel subscriber counts. Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight
Show channel, despite a recent slump, remains the genre leader with 15.8
million subs. ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live is in second place with 11.3 million.
TBS’s “Team Coco” YouTube channel, home of all things Conan O’Brien, is
in third place with 5.6 million. Catching up in the post-Letterman era, CBS’s
The Late Show with Stephen Colbert has expanded its YouTube channel
subscribers to 4 million.
he shift in viewing habits has not only caused networks to rethink how
they produce, package and distribute late night, it has changed the talent.
With icons Leno and Letterman retired, the airwaves are now home to
younger comics who came of age with the internet and are perhaps more
willing to experiment with new paradigms.
O’Brien’s deal with Turner Networks last year is a prime example: the
comic agreed to create content for digital platforms, such as podcasts and
mobile gaming, as well as pay-TV specials and live tours. TNT president Kevin
Reilly has said that over time, he envisions O’Brien pulling back from the latenight show into a more specials-driven programming format.
“he TV landscape has changed dramatically since I inherited the
traditional talk show format in 1993,” O’Brien said when announcing his new
deal. “In the past few years I’ve stumbled across many new and exciting
ways of connecting with my audience, and I’m eager to evolve my show into
something leaner, more agile and more unpredictable.”
T
HE ASCENDANCY OF YOUTUBE LARGELY CAUGHT
THE MAJOR NETWORKS OFF GUARD IN THE LATTER
HALF OF THE ’00S, AND THEY SPENT THE PERIOD
FROM AROUND 2010 TO 2015 PLAYING CATCH-UP.
First and foremost, the networks had to keep YouTube users from
treating network shows like user-generated content. hat meant serving
takedown notices to myriad unlicensed clip postings, and getting the platform
to enforce those actions.
NBC, for example, spent several years making sure all of Fallon’s clips
were consolidated onto its own YouTube channel, but it wasn’t until 2015 that
NBC forged an agreement with YouTube to monetize the content by jointly
selling ads. Research firm OpenSlate estimated in 2015 that the Jimmy Fallon
YouTube channel was generating a genre-leading $500,000 to $600,000 a
month, and up to $7.2 million a year, of ad revenue.
Of course, the unhappy part of that scenario for NBCUniversal was that
those figures incorporate Google’s standard 45 percent YouTube cut. he
major networks are notoriously loath to discuss their dealings with YouTube,
but by all accounts, they haven’t gotten Google to budge on that steep
percentage.
Happily for the networks, their sales teams have found a work-around:
Madison Avenue integrates products into segments of the late-night shows
themselves. So after Colbert flashed the logo for allergy medication Xyzal
in a recent segment, that integrated ad appeared on every platform that
ultimately hosted the clip.
Also working for broadcasters: platforms like Facebook and Snapchat
are still in the relatively early stages of becoming video distributors. his
gives the networks an opportunity to learn from their mistakes with YouTube
and get in on the ground floor with newer platforms.
“Starting around five years ago, we began to invest heavily in our
technology and distribution models,” Hayes explains. “We really started
following what was going on in Silicon Valley. We needed to build scale on
these platforms that were growing and evolving.”
Notably, NBCU invested $500 million in Snapchat last year, giving the
media giant vested control of how its shows are presented and monetized on
the very youth-centric social media platform.
Hayes oversees a digital team of around 200 staffers (fluctuating with
on-call freelancers), spread across New York and Los Angeles. Some are
embedded in the production teams of The Tonight Show and Late Night.
YouTube may remain the biggest online distribution channel, but Hayes
says the NBC Digital team is actively trying to develop others. “Facebook is
a huge platform at a scale that encourages sharing favorite show moments
with friends and family, while Twitter is an ideal platform for real-time
[viewing] during the show, shorter-form video, photos and GIFs.
“Instagram is ideal for visual experiences,” he adds, ”whether that’s
short video, memes or Instagram Stories that allow Fallon and the show a new
form of visual storytelling that’s made for mobile, snackable entertainment.”
HILE THE NETWORKS HAVE MADE MAJOR
STRIDES OVER THE PAST FIVE YEARS IN
EVOLVING LATE-NIGHT PROPERTIES TO FIT
THE HABITS OF A LARGELY MILLENNIAL
VIEWER BASE, THERE’S STILL PLENTY OF WORK TO DO.
BROADCASTERS AND THEIR RESEARCH PARTNERS,
MOST NOTABLY NIELSEN, ARE GETTING CLOSER TO
BEING ABLE TO COUNT SHOW AUDIENCES ACROSS
THE ATOMIZED LANDSCAPE OF DIGITAL PLATFORMS.
W
“NBCUniversal speaks to the advertising marketplace about a holistic
premium video approach that is ‘screen agnostic, platform specific’ in the ads
that are placed around the company’s content,” Hayes says. “Using currently
available tools, we report to our advertising partners viewership on as many
platforms as possible.”
Even so, with the TV industry still reliant on Nielsen’s C3 metric, which
measures linear TV viewing of commercial time up to three days after live
broadcast, very few network executives are happy about the current state of
viewer measurement in late night — or in any day part, for that matter.
Says Hayes: “A C3 currency doesn’t help advertisers in today’s world of
time-shifted viewing.”
TelevisionAcademy.com
75
PE ROAD
While police face increased scrutiny over
training and practices, departments are
hoping to get booked for Live PD. he A&E
show — which sends live feeds from the
streets to the studio — lets viewers witness
police work firsthand. BY KATHLEEN O’STEEN
PHOTOGRAPHS BY PATRICK T. FALLON
t’s a Friday night in Richland County, South
Carolina, and an attempted traffic stop has
turned into a ninety-mile-per-hour car chase.
And then things turn ugly.
I
Previous page: Camera operator–producer Jean-Marc Cloutier (left) films
Utah Highway Patrol Sergeant David
Moreno; (this page, top) Utah Highway
Patrol troopers Jason Tripodi (left) and
Kade Loveland check for weapons; K9
dog Drago. Facing page, clockwise from
top: Live PD host Dan Abrams (center)
flanked by analysts Sergeant Sean
“Sticks” Larkin (left) and Tom Morris Jr.;
Richland County Sheriff’s Deputy Josh
Newsome; Utah Highway Patrol Sergeant
Donavan Lucas; supervising producer
Chris Rowe (left) and shooter-producer
Jean-Marc Cloutier.
78 EMMY
After the driver loses control and flips his minivan, he
scrambles out and tries to escape on foot — toddler daughter
slung under his arm. It’s up to the pursuing officer to bring the man
down, while trying not to injure the child.
And just like that, A&E’s Live PD becomes a program you
cannot turn off.
he series, which recently marked its 100th episode, airs
in three-hour segments on Friday and Saturday nights, pulling
in thirty-six feeds from dash cams, static cams and camera
operators — all live, as the title suggests. he mission is to follow
officers in six areas throughout the country simultaneously. Since
its premiere in October 2016, the show has become A&E’s numberone entry among viewers twenty-five to fifty-four, eighteen to
forty-nine and total viewers. It’s also cable’s number-one series
on Friday and Saturday nights among viewers twenty-five to fifty-four.
“We got the idea for the show when we saw an article about police departments tweeting from their patrol cars to keep their communities informed
about their work,” says Dan Cesareo, president of Big Fish Entertainment and an
executive producer on the show. “here’s a massive debate about law enforcement in America. It’s an incredibly polarizing issue. Our thought was this: let’s
take everyone in America and put them in the front seat of a police cruiser. Let
them experience the job firsthand.”
Hosted from New York by ABC News chief legal-affairs anchor Dan Abrams,
the adrenaline-laden series is often unpredictable. “I’ve anchored live news
coverage many times in my career,” says Abrams, who has two police officers
Facing page: (top) Utah Highway Patrol
troopers Kade Loveland (left) and Jason Tripodi
check a trunk for weapons and drugs; (bottom)
trooper Loveland surveys bags of confiscated
marijuana found during a traffic stop. This
page: (clockwise from top left) Utah Highway
Patrol Sergeant Mary Kaye Lucas; Live PD
control room at A&E’s New York headquarters;
watching events unfold in the Live PD studio
with (from left) Tom Morris Jr., Sergeant
Sean “Sticks” Larkin and host Dan Abrams;
Richland County Sheriff’s Senior Deputy Peter
Hart; supervising producer Chris Rowe; Utah
Highway Patrol Sergeant Donavan Lucas.
on hand to provide commentary. “But I’ve never had a show where we were following six live events at
once…. It makes things exciting and tricky.”
What about the incident with the toddler? “he skirmish between the officer and this guy, who was
continuing to hold this child, was frightening,” Abrams relates. “It looked like he was using the child as
some sort of shield.”
Over the past sixteen months, the show has rotated among twenty-eight police departments, in
areas as diverse as Greenville, South Carolina; Spokane County, Washington and Jeffersonville, Indiana.
Cesareo says it’s Big Fish’s largest production, with some 100 camera operators, producers and crew
around the country. Live feed is sent to the show’s New York studio via cellular technology. “We’re on the
bleeding edge of technology,” Cesareo says proudly, noting that small transmitters on the cameras send
the signal to the cloud. “We have massive cellular bills every month.”
While police were initially hesitant to sign on, Cesareo says departments are now lining up to be
on the show. “We want the public to see what we do,” says Lieutenant Curtis Wilson, public information
officer for the Richland County Sheriff’s Department. “And here you get to see an incident from the
beginning to the end. You don’t just get the five-second sound bite.”
Or the finely edited cut.
“Officers in Nevada were serving a warrant for auto theft, and when they showed up at this home,
this massive turkey ran up — and he kept showing up,” Cesareo recalls. “If we had a traditional show, that
would have been edited out.”
Instead, the turkey soon had his own Live PD Twitter handle, with hundreds of followers. Cesareo
credits the show’s popularity, in part, to such quirky events. “hese are the moments that make us all
uniquely human.”
TelevisionAcademy.com
81
ASHLEY BARRETT
Foundation Interviews
[ Pamela Fryman]
F YOU LOOK AT PAMELA FRYMAN’S CAREER, YOU
IGHT GET THE IMPRESSION THAT BECOMING AN
D TELEVISION DIRECTOR IS FAIRLY SIMPLE. JUST
.A., MAKE A CALL ABOUT A JOB, AND — BOOM —
NEXT THING YOU KNOW, YOU’RE DIRECTING HUNDREDS OF
EPISODES OF TELEVISION’S MOST-WATCHED COMEDIES, FROM
FRASIER AND JUST SHOOT ME! TO HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER.
But Fryman’s success was no
accident. Her talents include listening
carefully to crewmembers and working
fast while having fun. Empowering
the whole staff is her style. “At the end
of the day, I want everybody on that
stage to take pride in what we did,”
she explains. And though as a director
she’s a leader, that doesn’t mean it’s
her way or the highway. “Everybody’s
valued. Everybody’s respected,” she
says.
Fryman was interviewed in
May 2017 by Nancy Harrington for
he Interviews: An Oral History
of Television, a program of the
Television Academy Foundation.
he following is an edited excerpt
of their conversation. he entire
discussion can be screened at
TelevisionAcademy.com/Interviews.
83
Foundation Interviews
Q: Did that pique your interest in a television
career?
A: It didn’t pique it — it defined it. It made it
seem possible, even though I didn’t think it
was possible in Philadelphia. here were so
few shows like that. But I kept in touch with the
people from the show, and when I graduated
college The Mike Douglas Show moved from
Philadelphia to Los Angeles. It gave me an
excuse to go out there. My brother was going
to law school in California, and we drove crosscountry. hen things just started to happen.
Q: What was your first job in the industry
when you got to L.A.?
A: I arrived on a Tuesday, and from a pay
phone in Studio City I called Patty Bourgeois,
who had worked as the talent coordinator on
The Mike Douglas Show. She said, “Come visit
me.” hey were at NBC in Burbank. So I found
a cab and went to Burbank, and my name
was at the gate, which was one of the great
thrills of my life. his was the week I turned
twenty-one, by the way. hey had changed
The Mike Douglas Show to The John Davidson
Show — Mike had gone to do something else.
I went to visit Patty, and in the course of an
hour or two, they asked if I wanted to be the
assistant in the talent department. By the end
of the day, I had a job.
Q: Did you have any interest in directing at
this point?
A: No. I wanted to be a PA, and in some strange
way that was a great thing. It helped pave the
way for me because I was never looking to the
next thing. I was totally immersed in what I
was doing. I was so happy, so enthusiastic, so
willing. When you are so willing to do anything
for anybody with a smile on your face, they
start giving you more to do. hat’s the way it
went for me.
84 EMMY
COURTESY PAMELA FRYMAN
Q: During high school you interned at he Mike
Douglas Show, which taped in Philadelphia.
Can you tell us about it?
A: I went to school with someone whose
father was a producer on that show. And there
was an internship program — for the second
half of your senior year, you could work for a
few hours, several times a week. But when I
asked about the show, I was told they weren’t
accepting interns. But I never stopped asking.
I went down there for an interview, and they
agreed. So I took the bus downtown a few
times a week. I made good friends there,
and they are responsible in a big way for
everything that unfolded in my career.
With cast members of Just Shoot Me: (rear from left) George Segal, Enrico Colantoni, Pamela Fryman, David Spade and (front)
Wendie Malick, Laura San Giacomo and producer Mark Bobadilla…
Q: hen in 1986 you were hired on he New
Hollywood Squares.
A: his was another crazy thing. After the talk
show ended, I was doing game shows — I was
a booth PA, and I was lucky enough to get
an offer to do this show. The New Hollywood
Squares was important in my life for a few
reasons. It’s where I met my husband. And
during that game-show era, I really wanted
to get into scripted programming for no other
reason than I loved actors. I loved watching
actors act, and I was also a fan of soap operas.
I’d watched them with my mom — it was
the thing to do back then. I was also working
on awards shows. I was doing the Daytime
Emmys as a booth PA and I told everybody, “If
anybody hears of anything in daytime, I would
love to be a script PA.” And that ended up
happening. I got a call for Santa Barbara.
right time! If you asked me to pick the most
important job in my career, that one would
probably win. It taught me everything. You
were in the booth one day, and then the AD
took that show to editing. Spending all of that
time in editing — being taught how to put a
show together — was critical, and it also taught
me how to work quickly.
Q: What were your responsibilities on that
show?
A: I was in the booth. I was making sure the
actors were saying the right lines and taking
any notes the director or the producers were
giving. It was a great show with a lot of talent,
a lot of heart and a lot of funny. One of my
favorite things was when they recast one of
the actors, they staged a fight sequence. he
character was knocked out and fell behind
a couch, and when he got up, it was another
actor. How perfect is that? hat show changed
my career.
Q: hen you moved on to episodic TV?
A: Not because I was longing to do nighttime
— it scared me. It never even occurred to me
that that was a possibility. But over the years
in game shows, I had worked with an executive
producer, Peter Noah, who would say to me,
“You’d be a great comedy director.” hat made
absolutely no sense to me. But — fast forward
— he was doing a show called Café Americain
at Warner Bros., and he called and told me to
come over to observe Jimmy Burrows. I said,
“hank you, but that’s ridiculous. How could I
possibly do that?” He said, “Because you’re on
the schedule. You’re doing episode fifteen.”
Q: Because you moved into the position of
associate director?
A: I did. Talk about the right place at the
Q: How did you end up directing your first
episode of TV for Santa Barbara?
A: he executive producer asked me to do an
episode, and I said okay, but not because I
wanted to direct, but because how rude would
that be to say no? I was wildly nervous, but
I had the support of everybody. he cover of
the script is still hanging on my parents’ wall. I
didn’t do it expecting there to be another one.
But it turned out that there was another.
Q: It was a multi-camera show?
A: It was a four-camera, multi-cam show.
DANIELLE LEVITT/CBS
Q: Had you ever done that format before?
A: I had so not done that before. I cannot tell
you how overwhelmed I was. But something
really important happened to me on that show.
We were camera blocking, and I set my shots
and a wonderful camera operator named Joe
Blaisdell, who’s unfortunately no longer with
us, called me over to his camera and said: “I’m
shooting this, he is shooting this, maybe you
want to shoot this….”
He was absolutely right, and it was wildly
kind of him to point that out. I went back, we
finished the scene, we went to another scene.
I set it up and said, “Joe, does it look okay?” He
looked at me and said, “Yeah.” And I realized
that I didn’t have to know everything.
hat’s one of the great lessons, and I was
lucky to learn it then. I thought I had to come
in and know everything. It turns out that when
you’re lucky enough to be in that position,
everybody who does all of those jobs comes
in knowing what they do better than I would
ever know. And you get to take advantage of
that. It’s not only lifesaving, it’s empowering.
Directors don’t have to know everything.
Q: In 1997 you had a major milestone: starting
as a director on Frasier.
A: Can you imagine that? I loved every minute
of that show. hat was like going to graduate
school. And part of the reason I got asked
back was because I was fast — and I was fast
because of my time in daytime.
So many people will tell you that when
you wrap on a Friday night, they don’t say,
“How was the show?” hey say, “What time
did you get out?” I knew how to keep things
rolling. On this show, they were so good — they
knew what they were doing. If you did it once,
they got it and we would move on.
Q: And in 1998 you began directing eightynine episodes of Just Shoot Me!
A: How lucky am I?
Q: How did that come about?
A: I got to know George Segal when I did a
show called The Naked Truth. George then went
to Just Shoot Me! I believe it was George — I will
always love George — who spoke to [creator–
executive producer] Steve Levitan about me. I
met with Steve and ultimately ended up doing
Just Shoot Me! I did three episodes of Just Shoot
Me! then three Frasiers, and I’d go back and
forth. Can you imagine going back and forth
between those two shows?
Just Shoot Me! was a dream. To this day, I
see that cast all the time. Frasier was like the
best dinner party you could ever be invited to;
this was the best slumber party you could ever
be invited to. It was fun and silly. We got the
work done, we loved each other and it was a
remarkable eighty-nine episodes.
Q: Now we come to what is probably your
career-defining show. In 2005 you started
directing How I Met Your Mother. How did that
come about?
A: During a pilot season, when I was reading
some scripts, I was lucky enough to read
that one. And I loved it. I was told to go meet
[creator–executive producers] Carter Bays and
Craig homas at a Starbucks in Brentwood.
Every table had two young guys, and I’m like,
“Are you Carter and Craig? Are you Carter and
Craig?”
I finally found them, and I fell in love with
them. hey were so young, but they wrote
a great script and we had a really great time
shooting that pilot. It was a really different kind
of pilot.
Q: What appealed to you about it?
A: Romance. It was cinematic and it was
…shooting the finale of How I Met Your
Mother with (from left) Cobie Smulders,
Alyson Hannigan, Jason Segal, Fryman,
Josh Rador and Neil Patrick Harris…
of the way at the
same time. At the
end of the day, I
want everybody
on that stage to
take pride in what
we did. It’s not
about me.
A good day
is when you wrap
and everybody
feels like it was
important that
they were there.
Everybody’s
valued,
everybody’s
respected and it
is a team sport in
the truest sense
of the word. I may
have that title, but
I’m not any more
important than
anybody else on
that stage.
…and with Norman Lear on the set of One Day at a Time.
everything that I loved, going back to what I
loved about soaps, what I loved about sitcoms.
It was not only funny, but there were so many
big moments in that pilot. It was the best of
everything. But I didn’t think it would get
picked up because it was so great. If you have
that good of a time, there’s no way they’re
going to let you do it again.
Q: Did you know you were going to be
the main director of the series from the
beginning?
A: No, there wasn’t a contract that said I had
to do it, but that’s what ended up happening.
It was so much fun. It was a hard show to do
sometimes, but it kept me interested and it
made me so much better. hey tested me
every week. I would read the next script and I
would say, “I don’t know how to do this.” And
they’d be like, “Well you’d better learn.” It kept
me on my toes. It was never boring.
Q: How do you characterize your directing
style?
A: I guess I’m open. I like things to seem like
they’re a group effort. I like to hear from other
people. I like to mold things and yet stay out
86 EMMY
Q: What was it
like shooting the
How I Met Your
Mother finale?
A: It was really emotional. he last scene that
the five [lead actors] were going to do together
was really tough. And as the real mother of this
show, it was especially hard for me. All those
tears that you see are as real as anything could
be. When we finally got to the last scene — at
the train station, where Ted [Josh Radnor]
meets the mother — we were on a soundstage,
there was rain and everybody showed up for
that. hat stage got very filled up with friends
and executives.
My remarkable crew had been trying to get
me to cry all week. At one point they acted like
there was an emergency drill, and we all had
to go to the lawn in front of the commissary. It
was just to get me out, because they had put
up a banner in front of the stage with my name
and some very kind words on it. hey were all
staring at me and I was like, “I’m not doing this.
I can’t, ’cause if I start I’ll never stop.”
But when it came time for that last
moment, saying “cut” for the final time was
tough. I had a few words to say to everybody,
and they gave me the yellow umbrella [that
Ted and the mother meet under], which is now
on display in my house. Many people have had
their pictures taken with that.
Q: You’ve directed a fair amount of pilots in
your career. What do you like about doing
pilots?
A: It would have been so much easier to say,
“What don’t you like about doing pilots?” First
of all, they’re a gift. he idea that somebody
writes something and takes that precious thing
and hands it to you is just remarkable.
And at this point in my career, I’m able
to work with so many friends. You collect
people along the way, and I’ve been fortunate to do pilots for people I love and respect.
hat part is so much fun. You get to take
nothing and make it something. here are so
many decisions to make to bring something
to life. It’s fascinating and inspiring and
overwhelming and challenging.
Q: Now you’re involved with One Day at a Time
on Netflix.
A: Yes.hat came about because Gloria
Calderon Kellett, who is the writer and
showrunner with Mike Royce, was a writer
on How I Met Your Mother. She invited me out
for coffee, told me that One Day at a Time with
Norman Lear was probably going to happen
and asked if I would want to be part of it. Of
course, I’d want to be part of it!
It’s been a dream. It is a really good show,
with spectacular actors and amazing writing.
And I get to work with Norman Lear, who is
in every casting session, warming up the
audience, watching the run-throughs and
giving great notes. It’s been an honor to be a
part of that show. I’m very lucky.
Q: Did you just say Norman Lear warms up the
audience?
A: Absolutely. He talks about this moment in
time — right now, never happening again —
and that everything in your life brought you
to this moment. Be so grateful for it. hose are
words that resonate with me every day. He’s
remarkable, and the show is remarkable.
Q: What’s your proudest career achievement?
A: hat my phone still rings. hat I still get
offered the things that I get offered. hat I’m not
slowing down in any way. After all this time,
people still want me to be a part of what they’re
doing. It means that I’m doing something right.
hat’s what makes me proud.
TelevisionAcademy.com/Interviews
COURTESY PAMELA FRYMAN
Foundation Interviews
Connect with
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Me and My Emmy
Audrey Morrissey
Primetime Emmy Tally: Four
How She Got the Gold: As an executive producer of The Voice, which was
named outstanding reality competition program in 2013, ‘15, ‘16 and ‘17.
The Voice spend the afternoon together, getting our glam done. We feel like
queens for the day!”
Eyes on the Prize: “I keep my Emmys in a bookcase in my house, where I
see them every day. hey are a constant reminder to strive for excellence.”
Now for the Noms: Morrissey has been nominated six times.
Glam Jam: “Attending the Emmys is always a fun time. All the women of
Fave Rave: “All of my wins are special. Each time, my heart is pounding and
everything feels in slo-mo. It’s thrilling that people love the show as much
as we do.”
Balancing Act: “Fourteen seasons of anything is a big challenge. We’re
constantly pushing ourselves to find ways, big and small, to evolve the show
while staying true to its core. It’s not easy. As an executive producer, my job
is part crisis manager, part therapist, part inspirer.”
PHOTOGRAPH BY COREY NICKOLS; HAIR AND MAKEUP BY DARCY GILMORE
Status Update: “he first time I won an Emmy, I was overwhelmed by the
outpouring of congratulations from everyone I saw. I remember walking
out of the theater, and strangers were asking to have their picture taken
with me. I kept thinking, who do they think I am? Finally I realized they just
wanted a picture with an Emmy!”
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