19 July 2012

'American Horror Story' scores 17 Emmy nods, but can it win?

Last year, everyone’s favorite British drama, Downton Abbey was submitted in the miniseries category for the 2011 Emmy’s. It was a shrewd move, and the show scored 4 wins out of five nominations. This year, the show must compete in the Drama category, but still racked up an impressive 16 nominations.

This year, Ryan Murphy and Brad Falcuk will try the same strategy with their FX show American Horror Story. The creator’s cited that since the show is basically an anthology series versus a standard drama, it could fall under Best Miniseries category instead of Best Drama.

That thought process paid off, as the show tied with AMC’s Mad Men as the most nominated show for the 2012 Primetime Emmy Awards at 17. The interesting fact is that horror is an overlooked genre when it comes to the Emmy’s, but it’s huge haul is interesting, if only because AMC equally praised horror entry The Walking Dead was shut out.

Still, does the show have any real chance? I don’t think so.

I predict that while impressive, and a nice footnote in Emmy lore for an overlooked genre, American Horror Story faces stiff competition from the History Channel’s huge juggernaut, The Hatfields and The Mccoys. Part one of that three part miniseries drew the largest-ever ratings for a History Channel program and one of the biggest in cable TV history. 13.9 million viewers tuned into the first of three parts, making it the most-watched single broadcast on cable ever, excluding sports. That alone, however, does not guarantee a win, but the Emmy’s (like the Oscars) tend to skew older and more predicable winners. The one thing the Emmy’s do have over the Golden Globes and the Oscars (even though they just do movies), is while the do have a tendency to choose the same people again and again, they’re more open to first timers and newer shows.

So that may play against AHS in the end. The Hatfields and The Mccoys has a few things going for it: First, it had the appeal of older viewers. Secondly,  it resembled the old broadcast networks “event” style miniseries that were huge in 1970s and 80s. Nostalgia sometimes wins over the new and the shiny, especially if the cast of your miniseries is populated with the likes of Kevin Costner, Bill Paxton and Tom Berenger -80′s stars that viewers feel more comfortable with. Thirdly, the cable broadcasters have the advantage of building visibility on only a handful of original shows. Broadcast networks have a huge issues when they have to focus their marketing strategy on all their shows.

Still, Connie Britton got a nomination for Best Actress in a Miniseries, while Frances Conroy, Denis O’Hare and Jessica Lange all scored in supporting roles.But I predict that Hatfields and the Mccoys will score the wins.

So like many other shows and actors in genre of science fiction, fantasy and horror, these nominations from a mainstream award show is just, in the end, all for show. 

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