BYUtv has a chance to outshine Oprah Winfrey on Sunday. No, really. Not making that up.
BYUtv’s “Welcome Home” has been nominated for a Daytime Emmy as the outstanding special class series, putting it in competition not just with the Oprah Winfrey-hosted “SuperSoul Sunday” but with series on A&E, Facebook Watch and YouTube.
The folks at BYUtv are “thrilled, overjoyed, stunned and amazed,” said managing director Michael Dunn, who’s also one of the executive producers of “Welcome Home.”
“It’s an incredibly validating element for our staff to be able to realize that — you know what? — we’re producing content … that can stand on par with what’s being done in Hollywood,” he said.
“It’s really emboldened us in terms of our creative self esteem. This is a network based in Provo, Utah, that is now going toe-to-toe with Oprah and company. And it’s amazing.”
It’s BYUtv’s first Daytime Emmy nomination, and it really is a Big Deal. These are not local or regional awards, they’re national. Which is a whole ‘nother thing than the Emmys you hear local TV stations and TV reporters bragging about.
Those are regional Emmys, which aren’t much different than umpteen other state or regional awards — not that there’s anything wrong with that. There are 19 Emmy regions, and the Salt Lake City market competes with Phoenix, Albuquerque-Santa Fe, Tucson-El Centro and Casper-Riverton in Wyoming.
BYU has won more than 100 regional Emmys, “but this is a different thing,” Dunn said. “You go from Triple-A ball to the major leagues. It just means the world.”
“Welcome Home” follows Treger and Rob Strasberg, who operate a nonprofit that helps homeless families move into homes of their own. They do it on a budget, and the houses turn out great. And there’s a definite BYUtv feel to it.
“It can’t just be another home improvement or makeover show,” Dunn said. “I don’t ever want to be schmaltzy or preachy or anything like that, but when you can show a family coming out of just a horrendous situation, you just see the magic. It gets me every time.”
TV execs are prone to hyperbole, but Dunn isn’t exaggerating.
And, yes, “Welcome Home” is on a channel owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but there’s nothing overtly “Mormon” about it. If you just happened to tune in to an episode, there’s nothing to indicate it’s on BYUtv, other than the network logo.
(You can stream episodes of “Welcome Home” — for free — on BYUtv.org.)
Actually, if you’ve seen the show, you didn’t necessarily see it on BYUtv. The CW bought and aired it, too. (BYUtv shares the nomination with The CW; “Welcome Home” is co-produced with Litton Entertainment.)
The other nominees in the category are: “The Day I Picked My Parents” (A&E), about foster children; “Retro Tech” (YouTube), about the origin and nostalgia of iconic technology; “Returning the Favor” (Facebook Watch), about people who give back to their communities; and “SuperSoul Sunday” (OWN), an inspirational/self-help series. The OWN show alone will be stiff competition — it’s already won four Emmys and has been nominated for four more.
(UPDATE: Neither BYUtv nor Oprah won on Sunday night — the Emmy went to “Returning the Favor.”)
At this point, Dunn said, he’s happy just to be nominated.
“Win or lose, we’re still thrilled. ‘Emmy nominated’ — no one can ever take that from us now,” Dunn said.
The winners of the Daytime Emmy Awards for children’s, lifestyle and animation will be announced online Sunday. The presentation — hosted by “The Real” co-host Loni Love — will stream beginning at 6 p.m. MDT on watch.theemmys.tv.