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The Emmys Grapple With New Formats And A Move To Monday

Seth Meyers will host the Emmy Awards on Monday night.
Rodolfo Martinez
Seth Meyers will host the Emmy Awards on Monday night.

I sat down with Linda Wertheimer this morning on Weekend Edition to talk about the Emmys, which will be on Monday night this year, rather than the usual Sunday, so you've got an extra 24 hours to ponder the blurry lines between categories that become more noticeable by the year.

We talked a little about the very crowded field for Lead Actor In A Drama Series, where the guy who won last year (Jeff Daniels) is up against the two movie actors in the big HBO effort (Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson), the other movie actor in the big, flashy Netflix project (Kevin Spacey), the most decorated guy of the last decade (Bryan Cranston), and the guy who's on his seventh nomination and has never won (Jon Hamm).

But we put most of our time into the tricky decisions that have emerged when shows like Orange Is The New Black decide to submit as comedies. It's true that Orangehas comedic elements, but so do The Good Wife and Breaking Bad. If the idea of those categories is for like to battle like, where do you draw the line? And how does that affect people doing great work in traditionally defined comedies, like Amy Poehler, given the long history of bias against comedy when (as at the Oscars) comedy and drama are in direct competition?

Even stranger, though — certainly more arbitrary — is the distinction between drama series and miniseries, particularly in the age of the anthology show, where the show continues, but the cast and the story are new every season. Fargoand True Detectiveare essentially structured the same way, and even though Fargohas more episodes, it is competing (and heavily nominated) as a miniseries, while True Detectiveis competing (and heavily nominated) as a drama series.

We'll have plenty of Emmy coverage in this space as the week continues, but for now, enjoy the Linda And Linda Chat Show about "category creep" and my dream of a Jon Hamm surprise victory.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Linda Holmes is a pop culture correspondent for NPR and the host of Pop Culture Happy Hour. She began her professional life as an attorney. In time, however, her affection for writing, popular culture, and the online universe eclipsed her legal ambitions. She shoved her law degree in the back of the closet, gave its living room space to DVD sets of The Wire, and never looked back.