Just hours after the TV Academy announced the Primetime Emmy nominations on Wednesday, again giving HBO’s extended brand the most citations of any platform, HBO and Max Chairman and CEO Casey Bloys communicated by phone with the hollywood reporter to discuss the huge tally (127 nominations) and the coup its flagship network has pulled off in the drama career.
HBO has four of the eight series nominated for best drama: House of the Dragon, The Last of Us, Succession and the white lotus. Such a feat has only been accomplished twice, and not since 1992. During his victory lap, Bloys declined to comment on the future of the divisive summer inning. The idol (“Nothing today!”) but got into the sticky situation of celebrating all these nominations over a summer with the writers on strike and on what could be the last day union players are working for the foreseeable future.
There’s a lot of good news for you today, but we should probably start with HBO’s four series in the running for best drama.
For Francesca Orsi and her drama team at HBO to pair up CBS since 1973 and NBC since 1992, to be in league with those groups and those dramas of those respective generations, that’s a big deal. And I couldn’t be more proud of that whole group.
Not to undermine the achievements of those programs from the last century, but they were competing against a much smaller group.
Yeah (laughs). In the case of CBS, I think it was only three networks. In 1992, I guess you had more. But HBO wasn’t even doing original drama in 1992, so, yeah, a much smaller group. Good point.
How do you see cross-platform horse racing changing when we’ve seen the Disney umbrella widen and obviously HBO and Max are lumped together under the same thing?
Look, we consider HBO and Max a platform. We have always said that. He is a leader. One business affairs. One all. And everything on HBO is broadcast on Max for streaming. But, if you just look at HBO, it dominates on its own. You can look at it any way you want
But, looking at just HBO on its own, it easily beat the rest.
Yes, let’s look at it that way today. (laughter)).
Every time streaming happens, the TV Academy lists all of its shows as HBO Max, a platform that it has cancelled. Any frustration there?
No, we just change brands. Obviously it’s going to take some time for people to get it. The most important thing is that the shows are recognized. The semantics, the grammar, that we can treat.
Any key learning from the first month or so of launching the new service?
In general, it’s going very well. But I prefer to talk about that later when we have a lot more to share.
Are you concerned about cannibalization in some of these categories? Succession have three men in the running for best lead actor in a drama?
It’s obviously the definition of a high-class problem. On the one hand, I am delighted that everyone’s work is recognized and, of course, they have to compete against each other. The voters will decide who wins. Somehow you live and die by it.
What’s your take on John Oliver’s move from Talk to Variety and competing against Saturday night live?
John puts on a fantastic show. I feel very good about the possibilities of him. It’s a new category, so you can’t really predict it. But I have a lot of confidence in John.
HBO usually has a really strong player in the limited or anthology space, but not this year. Any plans to specifically schedule that gap in the future?
I guess in a year where we have four drama series, we’re doing just fine without a limited series. (laughs).
Do you have anything to share about the future of The idol?
Nothing today. Only Emmy speaks for you.
Is it a bit bittersweet to celebrate this during the strike? Are there showrunners that you would normally congratulate that you are not communicating with right now due to the current circumstances?
Well, I’ll send emails. If people feel comfortable responding, I don’t think it qualifies as prohibited contact, since we’re not talking about the future or any kind of job. To that extent, however, the recognition of these Emmy nominations is a reminder to everyone in the industry that we are nothing without the talents of writers and actors. This field of nominations confirms it. So, I hope we can find something that makes them feel… that makes everyone feel valued and want to go back to work. Because we don’t get these nominations from executives. That’s not how it works. (laughs)
Obviously, you’re not involved in these decisions, but can you even imagine an Emmy Awards where writers and potential actors can’t participate?
I suspect you’ll want to wait until this is resolved. I don’t know if it would make sense to have some kind of broadcast when you have writers and actors on strike. They are the ones to celebrate. Strikes would have to be resolved before any kind of ceremony or telecast.
Anything you’re not seeing in the headlines that you’re particularly proud of?
Obviously, Succession he did well but The last of us it did too, and as a first-season show. To me, that helps answer the inevitable questions from journalists about what HBO will do now that Succession It’s done. now i can point The last of us and say, “We’ll do that.” and we will do more white lotus.
Do you have any contingency plans for the shows you have in production if the actors go on strike tonight?
Most of our programs are Downside or Equity, so it’s not SAG. We’ll see what happens. Once again, we are nowhere without the talent.
Interview edited for length and clarity.