Fan Favorites Don’t Necessarily Win Emmys

TV networks are still producing award-winning content – as evidenced by Breaking Bad’s big win at the 2014 Emmy Awards on Monday night. Fans speculated that Netflix’s in-house shows, Orange is the New Black, and House of Cards would take home at least a few significant awards each but – to the surprise of many – both shows were snubbed at the awards. A fact that is perhaps even more shocking is that HBO’s crown jewel, Game of Thrones (no pun intended), has barely received a head nod at the awards since 2011, when Peter Dinklage won an Emmy for Best Supporting Actor in a Drama.

So much online hype has been about how TV viewers are buying into the convenience of online video streaming, but it’s not surprising when the shows that get the most hype on social media are the ones that can be easily accessed online, or whose seasons can be easily found On Demand. However, many people are returning to their living rooms to enjoy TV watching in the traditional way and those shows, produced by TV networks, attract the attention of Emmy voters.  Have the networks redeemed themselves? Could streaming companies and TV networks finally be complementing each other? Who said anything about a broken syndication market?

emmy-awardsWhile we don’t deny the Bryan Cranston’s Breaking Bad performance was completely award-worthy, we are a little curious about how Breaking Bad managed to steal the entire show on Monday night, when some of the other shows that were nominated have received far more attention on social media.

The process of deciding which show wins the awards is complicated. Unlike other awards ceremonies, the Emmy Awards place no emphasis on fan feedback. As Bustle reported, about 50-75 members of the prestigious Academy of Television Arts and Sciences decide which of the shows and cast members are honored with an Emmy. The decision is left in the hands of the experts, which is why so many most-watched shows with huge fan bases are ignored, while critical favorites are praised.

This begs the question, should a show’s social media presence be a factor when determining the award-worthiness of a show?

Business 2 Community reported on a Viralheat study. The study revealed that the shows that won awards were not always the ones that received the most attention on social media. According to the data, if the Emmy for Best Drama Series were awarded to the show that was the most-talked about online, it would have been awarded to Game of Thrones instead of Breaking Bad. And the award for Lead Actress in a Comedy? Taylor Schilling.

Social media hype might indicate that a specific show has a large and dedicated fan base, (or that its content marketers have just perfected marketing to the “second screen audience”), but it’s definitely not true that a large fan base always equals fantastic content (Pretty Little Liars, anyone?). Then again, perhaps the Emmy Awards should be paying more attention to social media feedback when determining which shows and cast members win the prestigious award.

At the end of the day, TV networks are struggling now more than ever with trying to determine which of their shows are going to stay alive long enough to make it into syndication. A TV critic might believe a show is worth a vote, but if viewers disagree, an Emmy can’t keep a show alive on a TV network.

Visit MediaShowroom, to access all of the data necessary to predict whether a show will be a fan-favorite on air.

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