Emmy FYC Events Experience Packed Houses as Stars and Writers Return, a Year After the Hollywood Strikes

A year after the Hollywood strikes turned Emmy campaigning into a bit of a muted endeavor, For Your Consideration events are back in a big way for 2024. The networks, studios and streamers have already launched a bevy of activations to celebrate their awards contenders, on top of the usual round of panels, with their stars back on stage front and center.

What a difference a year makes. In 2023, FYC events were forced to pivot when the Writers Guild strike got underway on May 2 — right as campaigning was kicking into high gear. In most cases, series stars didn’t feel comfortable continuing with events (and in many cases, even turned down interviews with the media, despite still being allowed). Then talent hit the picket lines for their own strike in mid-July, right after Emmy nominations were announced.

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At that point, it was up to directors and artisans to promote their shows. “We definitely did a lot of jazz hands last year to kind of make people feel good,” one awards exec says of throwing events while navigating limitations.

That’s not the case this time. There are still plenty of challenges out there as the industry tries to return to a sense of normalcy, in an environment where no one has quite figured out the new normal. But in spite of all that — or perhaps because of all that — crowds are eagerly returning to celebrate their favorite shows.

“I feel like everyone seems rejuvenated after last year,” says another awards exec. “The Academy and guild voters seem very enthusiastic about attending the FYC events. There is a strong desire to attend anything that includes a great talent lineup, and attendees are very happy if they get to greet the talent and take a quick snapshot.”

Says another awards exec: “The crowds, the voters are happy to be back. The talent is happy to be back. It just feels like, ‘Oh yeah, this is what we do.’ It’s not just a lot of window dressing. This is legit.”

It can be a struggle to wrangle talent that isn’t thrilled about having to be a tub-thumper for awards on projects that they filmed a year or more ago. But after having to sit on the sidelines during the strikes, even they seem energized on the campaign trail — and they are surprising publicists by agreeing to do things they might not have done before.

“It does feel like there’s a sense of enthusiasm that I didn’t feel in years past,” an exec says. “I really see our talent going out and mingling with the audiences, rather than just going straight to their car after the panel is over.”

Part of that could come from the fact that, in many cases, these shows or seasons premiered without much fanfare in the midst of the strikes last summer or early fall. Because there was no proper premiere
or media junket to promote the work, this all feels fresh.

“Rather than being tired and being asked the same thing they’ve answered a million times, it actually feels like they’re answering these questions for the first time,” an insider says. “And I think that enthusiasm is contagious when the audience feels it.”

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MAY 07: (L-R) Jessica Gunning, Richard Gadd and Nava Mau attend Netflix's "Baby Reindeer" ATAS official screening & Q&A at DGA Theater Complex on May 07, 2024 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for Netflix)
Jessica Gunning, Richard Gadd and Nava Mau at Netflix’s “Baby Reindeer” ATAS official screening (Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for Netflix)

There’s also quite a few buzzy shows on the campaign trail that audiences want to catch a glimpse of, such as Netflix’s “Baby Reindeer,” Prime Video’s “Fallout” and Peacock’s “The Traitors.” “The Traitors” panel, for example, was jam-packed with attendees partying into the night.

Another exec is amazed that even “the things that we thought were going to be small are packed,” adding, “We’ve had turnaways every night. I think people are happy to be out. Especially because I think they felt burned from last year.”

There could also be a darker reason why these events are so populated. Although much production has returned — and A-list stars are in tremendous demand, making the scheduling of these FYC events extremely tough — production is still not back to its old levels. With so many folks still out of work, that could be one reason there are more available FYC attendees than usual.

“You just chitchat with the voters and a lot of them are like, ‘I can’t get work,’” sighs one exec. “I feel for them.” The FYC events are a good outlet for free entertainment, as well as food and drink, which is perhaps also a welcome perk for TV Academy members still struggling economically.

For Emmy campaigners, striking the right tone while so many haven’t recovered yet from the strikes is one thing. But it’s also important to not be tone deaf in the midst of troubling current events.

“With the state of the industry, with all the protests happening, you just want to be sensitive to what’s going on in the world around you,” one exec says. That goes for inside these companies too, most of which have been impacted by layoffs and budget cuts. One exec notes, “‘Do more with less’ is definitely the mantra.”

But it’s still a much more manageable issue than last year, when the streamers and studios opened their FYC houses right when the strikes hit. They’re bringing those activations back with a vengeance this year, and the events calendar is stacked.

“It’s become the thing that everyone does now,” an exec says. “I find it efficient beause it’s a good way to campaign for a lot of things. You just get someone in the door for one event and you get to expose them to the rest of your slate.”

Netflix’s “FYSee” spot opened May 12 at Sunset Las Palmas in Los Angeles, kicking off with “Griselda,” followed by events for “The Crown,” “Love Is Blind,” “Selling Sunset,” “The Gentlemen,” “3 Body Problem,” “Ripley” and more. The space included immersive, in-world activations for even more titles.

HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - MAY 11: Carol Burnett and Kristen Wiig attend Apple TV+'s "Palm Royale" official Emmy FYC event at Hollywood Athletic Club on May 11, 2024 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images)
Carol Burnett and Kristen Wiig attend Apple TV+’s “Palm Royale” official Emmy FYC event (Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images)

Apple’s Emmy FYC house at the Hollywood Athletic Club featured panels and displays for shows such as “Masters of the Air,” “Silo,” “Palm Royale,” “Lessons in Chemistry” and “The Morning Show.” The streamer also planned pop-up spaces at Westfield Century City, the Shops at Sportsmen’s Lodge and Pacific Palisades Village.

Over at Amazon, the “Prime Experience” at Nya West included exhibits and panels for “Fallout,” “Expats,” and “Mr. and Mrs. Smith.” NBCU’s FYC Emmy showcase at The Aster lined up events for “Top Chef,” “The Voice,” “Ted,” “Apples Never Fall” and more. Variety partnered with Sony Pictures Television for an FYC night devoted to shows including “For All Mankind,” “Platonic,” “Twisted Metal” and “Justified: City Primeval.”

The Emmy-themed “Disney FYC Fest,” back at the DGA Theatre in Hollywood, officially opens on June 1 with “Fargo.” Like last year, costume and memorabilia displays, along with social media photo opps, will be installed in the DGA lobby.

So where does the return of star-studded panels leave the craftspeople, the artisans like costumers, music supervisors, production designers and more who were the heroes of the last Emmy season? One exec says they haven’t been forgotten — even if the talent is once again commanding the spotlight. “We’re not abandoning them,” she says. “We’re definitely campaigning them too and giving them a moment.”

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