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Scott D. Pierce: Please, don’t expect the Emmys to be fair

By Scott D. Pierce

| The Salt Lake Tribune

First Published Jul 19 2013 11:11 am • Last Updated Dec 07 2013 11:35 pm

In the warped reality that is the Emmys, there’s not a single broadcast network series worthy of a nomination as outstanding drama.

That is, of course, utter nonsense. And it says more about the Emmys than it does about network dramas.

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To be clear, this is not a slam against the nominees. "Breaking Bad," "Downton Abbey," "Game of Thrones," "Homeland," "House of Cards" and "Mad Men" are all great shows.

But they all have a huge advantage. They don’t have to turn out 22 episodes (or more) in a season. The above nominees produced eight, eight, 10, 12, 13 and 13 episodes, respectively.

That’s no small task. Particularly for period pieces like "Downton Abbey" and "Mad Men" or something as epic as "Game of Thrones."

But there is something to be said for series like "The Good Wife," which turns out 22 highly entertaining episodes per season — something that would prove pretty much impossible for "Game of Thrones."

(And I’m rooting for "GOT" to win the Emmy.)

This may sound like TV critic heresy, but if I could watch only one, I would choose to watch a season of "The Good Wife" over a season of "Mad Men."

Again, that’s not a slam at "Mad Men" — I’m a fan — it’s praise for "The Good Wife."

There are a lot of things wrong with the Emmys. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard actors, writers, directors and producers say that they’re so busy with their own shows that don’t have time to watch TV.

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These are the people who vote for the Emmy winners. The people who don’t watch TV.

A lot of what gets nominated and what doesn’t is the result of who has the best campaign. HBO has marketing down to a science, which is a big reason it got 108 nominations.

You’ve got to wonder if BBC America’s "Orphan Black" would have gotten nominated if it was on HBO. Or even Netflix, which marketed like crazy and became the first streaming service to get a best-drama nomination ("House of Cards").

And, at this point, there’s a certain snob element to the nominations — the idea that if it’s on cable, it must be better than a broadcast show. That’s false at least as often as it’s true.

The Emmys are supposed to be about quality, not popularity. If they were all about which show has the largest audience, "NCIS" would win the best-drama Emmy this year.

There are more people who would choose to watch "NCIS" (which averaged 21.4 million viewers this past season) than "Mad Men" (2.5 million). A lot of people who will tell you "NCIS" is the better show.

Quality is subjective.

The primary thing to remember about the Emmys is — don’t take them too seriously. It’s rich, famous people patting each other on the back.

Scott D. Pierce covers television for The Salt Lake Tribune. Email him at spierce@sltrib.com; follow him on Twitter @ScottDPierce.

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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