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A guide to the upcoming Emmys, which were delayed due to strikes

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

After months of delays and in a crowded awards season, the Emmys, which recognize excellence in TV, will be handed out on Monday night. Now, usually the ceremony is held in September, but everything got held up because of last year's dual writer and actor strikes. So we're talking about it now. And there's another twist. Some of the shows that will win Emmys this year may win them not for their most recent seasons, but for seasons that aired all the way back in 2022. If you are confused, fear not. We have got you covered. I am joined by Eric Deggans, NPR's TV critic. Hey there.

ERIC DEGGANS, BYLINE: Hey.

KELLY: Hey. And Glen Weldon, host of NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast. Hey, Glen.

GLEN WELDON, BYLINE: Great to be here.

KELLY: All right. Y'all are going to help us sort through the frontrunners and possible snubs and everything we should be looking for Monday night. Glen, you first. I want you to tell me more about how this strike delay has affected the Emmys. I know you've written a guide to all this at npr.org.

WELDON: Yeah. Well, basically, they moved the ceremony, but they're pretending they didn't. They didn't change the rules that dictate which shows are in the running. So we've got the same eligibility window that we would have had without the delay. So a show needs to have aired between June 1, 2022 and May 31, 2023, which is a long time ago.

KELLY: OK. So let's talk about the shows that did meet the eligibility requirements. What are we seeing that's nominated for the Emmys that maybe we won't see at other awards?

DEGGANS: Well, this feels a little bit like a TV time machine, right? I mean, in drama, we're seeing nominated shows like the "Star Wars" spinoff "Andor" and AMC's excellent drama "Better Call Saul" that aired episodes back in 2022. Now, some viewers might not even remember if they liked those shows. And with a show like "The Crown," its last season, which dropped in November, won't be eligible until the next Emmy ceremony. So instead, what's being judged is a season that was focused on the crumbling marriage between Prince Charles, who's played by Dominic West, and Princess Diana, who's played by now-Golden-Globe-winner Elizabeth Debicki.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "THE CROWN")

ELIZABETH DEBICKI: (As Princess Diana) And I even agreed to do the photocall today, requested by your people so the lie could be paraded to the world's media about what an adoring husband you are - on one condition.

DOMINIC WEST: (As Prince Charles) What's that?

DEBICKI: (As Princess Diana) That you actually are one.

WELDON: And in comedy, you've got familiar repeat nominees like "Abbott Elementary" and "Barry" and "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel," "Only Murders In The Building" and "Ted Lasso." There's some interesting newcomers too, "The Bear," "Jury Duty" and "Wednesday." But as we mentioned, both "The Bear" and "Only Murders In The Building" are nominated for the season that aired before the most recent ones. So we're talking about the second season of "Only Murders" and "The Bear's" first season, which introduced us all to what it's like to work in the kitchen of a Chicago sandwich shop.

KELLY: Which is excellent knowledge to have. OK. So what are your picks here? What are you - where do you - leaning on drama. Eric, go first.

DEGGANS: Well, there's lots of great nominees, including the amazing zombie apocalypse drama "The Last Of Us" and the widely loved resort drama "The White Lotus." But my money's on "Succession," both because they nailed this incredible finale season, and also because they have more nominations than any other show, which tells you that Emmy voters really like them.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "SUCCESSION")

KIERAN CULKIN: (As Roman Roy) No, they don't.

SARAH SNOOK: (As Shiv Roy) He's...

CULKIN: (As Roman Roy) No.

JEREMY STRONG: (As Kendall Roy) It's OK.

SNOOK: (As Shiv Roy) He's literally dead.

CULKIN: (As Roman Roy) What? OK. Well, there's no need to say that, right? What's the point of keep on saying it? All I'm saying - I'm not being crazy. I'm saying a fact. I'm saying we don't know, and until we do know, it's not a very nice thing to say, is it?

WELDON: Yeah, I agree. Eric's right. That's going to take it. But "Andor" is a personal favorite of mine. Yes, it's a "Star Wars" show, but it's one without Jedis and lightsabers and baby Yodas. It's just the petty office politics that drive any organization, including, it turns out, the evil Galactic Empire. Also, it's a show about rebellion, which is, you know what it means to stand up against fascism. It's a strangely timely show.

KELLY: You're making me laugh, Glen, which makes me want to ask about comedy. What are y'all picking there?

DEGGANS: Well, I'm going to note that I created a TV award ceremony of my own called The Deggies (laughter). And I gave this honor to "The Bear," even though I'm not really sure why FX calls this show that's dramatically emotional a comedy.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "THE BEAR")

JEREMY ALLEN WHITE: (As Carmen "Carmy" Berzatto) No. No. Stop everything. Fire everything right f****** now.

AYO EDEBIRI: (As Sydney Adamu) OK. I'll fire everything now. I just was finishing talking to Marcus...

WHITE: (As Carmen "Carmy" Berzatto) Step out. Step out.

EDEBIRI: (As Sydney Adamu) OK. I'm going to talk to Marcus about...

WHITE: (As Carmen "Carmy" Berzatto) Now get the f*** off my (inaudible), chef, now. Get the f*** off. Thank you. We're firing - 76 beefs.

DEGGANS: Now, you can read about The Deggies on npr.org right next to Glen's story. But I actually think Apple TV+'s soccer comedy "Ted Lasso" is going to win best comedy, again, because they have the most nominations of any TV comedy.

WELDON: Yeah. I disagree with Eric. I think this is the first chance that Emmy voters are going to have to recognize "The Bear," and I think they're going to take advantage of that. I do get Eric's point, though. This is also the last chance they're going to have to recognize shows that are ending, like "Ted Lasso" and "Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" and "Barry." But all those shows have gotten plenty of Emmy love in the past.

KELLY: And let me bring us to a close by asking you about timing here 'cause it does feel a little - between the confusion over the eligibility period and the whole thing that this postponed ceremony is happening so many months later - does it feel like the Emmys are a little bit of an afterthought this year, and does that matter, Glen?

WELDON: Well, I mean, usually, you're right. Usually, the Emmys have a spotlight all to themselves in September, and here they are now in the thick of award season. They still do mean something, though. A good showing at the Emmys makes headlines, which can mean more people check out your show, which can mean life or death for a show that critics like us love but the viewers haven't discovered yet.

DEGGANS: Yeah. And I would say the fact remains this is still considered the top award in TV for a lot of people in the business, and that's going to keep it relevant for a while to come.

KELLY: NPR's Eric Deggans and Glen Weldon. Thanks to you both, gentlemen.

WELDON: Thank you.

DEGGANS: Always a pleasure. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Glen Weldon
Glen Weldon is a host of NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast. He reviews books, movies, comics and more for the NPR Arts Desk.
Eric Deggans
Eric Deggans is NPR's first full-time TV critic.