Lessons from the 2013 Emmy’s on how to stay relevant.

By Amber Hudson and Luke Sklar

“TAKE YOUR PANTS OFF… AND TWERK IT!!!” 

That line from Tina Fey and Any Poehler was the best 5 seconds of last Sunday’s Emmy Awards show.  The other 2 hours, 59 minutes and 55 seconds I’d like to have back please.  What was that, eh?   I’ll tell you what that was.  Three hours of uncomfortable skits, tributes to talented-yet-no-longer-relevant dead stars, weepy songs from Carrie Underwood and Elton John, the JFK Assassination, jokes that flew over the heads of those of us not in the biz (how many of you knew the security guard that ushered in Neil Patrick Harris was industry heavy hitter Les Moonves, the CEO of CBS Corp?) and a missed opportunity for Neil Patrick Harris to show off his awesome dancing and singing chops.

Come on guys!  TV today is better than it ever has been:  thought-provoking story lines, incredible writing, inspiring acting, technology that allows us to binge view our favourite shows.  Why then was the show that gives awards to these programs to painfully dull?

Here are the lessons:

  • Know your audience of course.  People who watch Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, Modern Family…do they care about Jonathan Winters and Jean Stapleton?
  • On top of that, size your audience.  House of Cards gets rave reviews.  But how many have actually watched it?  If it’s less than 10% then don’t rest a joke on it.
  • Be optimistic!  Sad songs, sad tributes, presidential assassinations…do one if you must, but not all three.
  • Refresh your approach, but don’t be different just to be different.  What the hell is wrong with having Neil Patrick Harris do an opening number!?  The audience loves that stuff!  Doing that would have avoided the mess that was the first 15 minutes of the show.

Time to wake up Emmys.  TV is only going to get better, hopefully one day you will too.