News, Notes & Commentary on the world of HRTS

HRTS Goes to the Emmys

John Shaffner at the HRTS State of the Industry 2010 luncheon

John Shaffner at the HRTS State of the Industry 2010 luncheon

The Hollywood Radio & Television Society (HRTS) and the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (ATAS) are the two premiere groups in the television industry. From executives to actors to writers and directors and producers, the two groups consist of thousands of members who are in the business, thousands of members who are the business.

The partnership between the HRTS and the ATAS goes back many years and includes numerous events created and produced together, such as the State of the Industry luncheon and other Newsmaker luncheons. In addition to the events, there are myriad personal connections from Board leaders to staff colleagues to dual-members. In recent years, the HRTS has done in-depth profiles on ATAS Chairmen Dick Askin, and Jon Shaffner.

The Primetime Emmys are the biggest event on the TV industry calendar and for the first time, the HRTS was there….and by ‘there’ I don’t mean on the red carpet. The few hundred feet of glamor and elegance stretched out in front of the Nokia Theatre was certainly a highlight, a place where questions such as “who are you wearing?” were expected and celebrated, but the HRTS represents the business side of the industry. When an actor or writer or director wins an Emmy, these are the rows of people who stand and applaud enthusiastically, the people who partnered with the actors and writers and directors to make the shows possible, the people who nurtured their talent to make the shows great. So, when the winners came back to the press room, I asked them about their creative partners, about their team.

Jon Cryer won Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series for his role on TWO AND A HALF MEN, produced by HRTS panelist Chuck Lorre and distributed by HRTS member CBS.
Q: What’s it like to work with Chuck Lorre?
A: it’s been lovely, from the very first time that I auditioned for him. Interestingly, the network did not want to hire me, because they wanted to have Charlie Sheen and a new face and my face is old, apparently. The second I got in the room with Chuck and started working with Charlie, Chuck just started laughing and he and I exactly knew who this guy was. It’s been a beautiful experience ever since, as an actor you just hope to get to work with the writers that get you, that get what you can do, and that clearly have so much talent to bring to the show.

Louis CK won Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series and also Outstanding Writing for a Variety Special for his eponymous TV series and stage-show, respectively, both shows produced in cooperation with HRTS member FX.
Q: What’s it like to work with John Landgraf and the team at FX?
A: they’re great, because from my point of view they just let me do my show and then they watch it and they usually have a couple of really great editing suggestions. I feel safe with them, they’re smart about how they’re running the place and they just let me do what I do. I don’t think I’ve ever really had a disagreement with them ever in three years and that’s pretty amazing.

Steve Levitan

Steve Levitan at the HRTS Hitmakers luncheon

Steve Levitan won Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series and he and his team at MODERN FAMILY won Outstanding Comedy Series, their show produced by HRTS member 20TH CENTURY FOX TV.
Q: What’s it like to work with Dana Walden and Gary Newman and the team at Twentieth?
A: they’re wonderful partners, they’ve been incredibly supportive of the show from the very beginning and they’ve been supportive of me for a long, long time. They’re good friends, they take very good care of us and we have a nice partnership and we look forward to many years to come.

Kevin Costner won Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie for his role in HATFIELDS & MCCOYS, produced and distributed by HRTS member HISTORY CHANNEL.
Q: What’s it like to work with Nancy Dubuc and the team at History?
A: I see this win in reverse, we see this as a big win and we congratulate and we say ‘we knew this would work’ but if you go back a year ago, the risk was really great. Careers can be on the line, Nancy’s could, and now Nancy tastes the fruits of victory since she had the creative courage to say ‘yes’.

Hillary Clinton famously said that “it takes a village to raise a child” and if that’s true of the development of a single person then think of how many more people it takes to raise a show, when hundreds of people are involved both in front of and behind the camera.

All in all, it was a great experience to be backstage at the Emmys, especially with other members of the press noting that I was not asking the normal questions but rather representing a fresh point of view. Thank you to the team at the TV Academy for including me and the HRTS in the festivities, already looking forward to next year.

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