The Producers Guild of America continues to stick by its antiquated practice of honoring television roughly seven months behind the curve, announcing its stale TV nominations on Wednesday (December 7) morning.
What to know why this is posted in my blog, rather than as a news story? Because in a news story, I’d be hesitant to express confusion at the PGA for the seemingly absurd decision to exist in a time warp for the TV awards and only the TV awards. At least in a blog post, I can register confusion.
[This year’s Producers Guild nominees, plus the official PGA explanation for the eligibility window, after the break…]
While every other guild bases its end-of-the-year TV awards on January-to-January calendar (the same way The Producers Guild bases its movie awards), the PGA perplexingly opts to retain the same June to End-of-May TV window as the previous year’s Emmys. While Emmy nominations are revealed in July, having missed out on only a few weeks of new TV programming, the PGA nominations are announced in December (slightly better than early January last year) and pretend that nothing new has aired on TV since May 31.
That would be why “Mad Men,” which hasn’t aired a new episode since 2010, is up for the The Norman Felton Award for Outstanding Producer of Episodic Television, Drama. “Mad Men” is up against “Boardwalk Empire,” “Dexter,” “The Good Wife” and “Game of Thrones,” which snuck in just under the eligibility deadline with its April premiere. Although the Golden Globes and every single other available guild honored “Boardwalk Empire” for the first time last winter, the HBO drama wasn’t PGA eligible last year and is nominated for the first time. [The eligibility window issue explains why Showtime’s “Homeland,” among other summer and fall drama premieres, isn’t nominated and it also explains why “Breaking Bad” wasn’t nominated.]
Want more of a sense of the Producers Guild Awards calendar disconnect? Because “Curb Your Enthusiasm” premiered its latest season in July, it wasn’t eligible for a nomination this year, but the HBO comedy was nominated last year, for episodes that aired all the way back in 2009.
With “Curb” out of the running, “Parks & Recreation” earned its first PGA nomination for The Danny Thomas Award for Outstanding Producer of Episodic Television, Comedy, joining “30 Rock,” “The Big Bang Theory,” “Glee” and “Modern Family.” This was also the first nomination for “Big Bang,” as “The Office” went unsung. [New comedies that wouldn’t have been eligible for PGA Awards consideration include “New Girl,” “Wilfred,” “Enlightened” and more. The most recent season of “Weeds” wouldn’t have been eligible, but the 2010 season would have been. Etc.]
UPDATED: The official Producers Guild rationale for the eligibility window is that using the TV Academy window is an cleaner way to prevent confusion regarding producers on, for example, a network show that might air from January to May with one set of showrunners and then shift to a different set of showrunners from September to January. While the Writers Guild and Directors Guild generally focus on specific writing or directorial achievement on an isolated episode, the Producers Guild is recognizing an ongoing process of television production, which can’t be viewed in the same way.
[That was the official explanation. I’d also add that obviously Guilds are celebrating achievement of Guild members. They don’t necessarily view themselves of having a role in the circus that leads up to the Oscars or, many months later, the Emmys. So if I’m being derisive here, I’m being derisive of the PGA Awards and their ability to be “current” or “predictive” in some way. The reality is that if the PGA Awards are simply a way for members of an organization to honor other members of an organization, they don’t have any particular responsibility to be “current” or “predictive” in any way.]
While series nominees follow that Academy eligibility calendar, longform nominees — which would be more like a movie in their easily isolatable production credits — are January to January. The David L. Wolper Award for Outstanding Producer of Long-Form Television nominees have not yet been announced.
All 2012 Producers Guild Award winners will be announced on January 21, 2012 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. By the time the awards are announced, the PGA will be ignoring nearly eight months of television (compared to only three weeks of feature films).
Here’s the full list of PGA Awards TV nominations:
The Danny Thomas Award for Outstanding Producer of Episodic Television, Comedy:
“30 Rock” (NBC)
“The Big Bang Theory” (CBS)
“Modern Family” (ABC)
“Parks and Recreation” (NBC)
The Norman Felton Award for Outstanding Producer of Episodic Television, Drama:
“Boardwalk Empire” (HBO)
“Game of Thrones” (HBO)
“The Good Wife” (CBS)
“Mad Men” (AMC)
The Award for Outstanding Producer of Live Entertainment &Talk Television:
“The Colbert Report” (Comedy Central)
“The Ellen DeGeneres Show” (Syndicated)
“Real Time with Bill Maher” (HBO)
“Saturday Night Live” (NBC)
“The 64th Annual Tony Awards” (CBS)
The Award for Outstanding Producer of Competition Television:
“The Amazing Race” (CBS)
“American Idol” (FOX)
“Dancing with the Stars” (ABC)
“Project Runway” (Lifetime)
“Top Chef” (Bravo)
The Award for Outstanding Producer of Non-Fiction Television:
“American Masters” (PBS)
“Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations” (Travel Channel)
“Deadliest Catch” (Discovery Channel)
“30 for 30” (ESPN)
“Undercover Boss” (CBS)