How much is an Emmy worth?

Mon Aug 2, 2010 1:33pm EDT
 
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By Randee Dawn

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Robert Carlock noticed an immediate impact when "30 Rock" won its first comedy series Emmy in 2007.

"That first year was moment-to-moment and day-to-day," recalls Carlock, an executive producer of the show. "(NBC) delayed our pickup, we had a bunch of different time slots on a bunch of different nights. But maybe the awards gave them the confidence that they could sell this thing. It did help calm things down a lot when we got back to New York with the win."

The immediate, visceral effect of an Emmy Award is easy to parse. But what does taking home a statuette actually mean for the actors, producers, writers or networks who win the big prize on August 29?

"It places a glow around a program that, 'This is a quality show or actor,'" says Tim Brooks, a former network executive and TV author. "And people like quality -- they think it's more durable, it lasts longer and to a degree quality sells."

But how much an Emmy sells is up for debate. Unlike an Oscar, which typically boosts box office and DVD sales in a quantifiable way, the value of an Emmy is more elusive. It means the most to the most vulnerable in TV -- struggling shows, nascent actors, networks looking for a branding hook.

The effect on a network can be significant. When FX's "The Shield" picked up an Emmy for lead actor in a drama (Michael Chiklis) in 2002, it was the first basic cable network to do so, and put the industry on notice that FX was not just about lowbrow material any more.

HBO has built its branding around its Emmy attention. Likewise, AMC has benefited from Emmys won for a string of original programing -- including "Mad Men" and "Breaking Bad" wins that have shifted the expectations of the network.

"It's a validation of our programing," says AMC senior vp marketing Linda Schupack. "Taken as a whole, we're the most-nominated basic cable network. That's a very strong AMC story as well as a strong story for the other shows. It's a story we can tell to advertisers -- we're not smoke and mirrors, we're the real deal."   Continued...

 
<p>Illusionist David Copperfield (R) greets show host Regis Philbin during the start of the 37th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards show at the Las Vegas Hilton in Las Vegas, Nevada June 27, 2010. REUTERS/Steve Marcus</p>