“Every Show Has Got to Work Harder”: HBO Boss on Emmy Nominations Haul

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Casey Bloys found himself in a familiar position Tuesday after the 2022 Emmy nominations were unveiled: alone at the top of the pack of the most nominated outlets as HBO — even without the benefit of HBO Max — easily topped Netflix.

HBO had five of the most-nominated programs this year, with Succession (25) leading the pack that also included The White Lotus (20), Hacks (17), Euphoria (16) and Barry (14). Warner Bros. Discovery, for the first time ever, led all conglomerates with 155 combined nominations.

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The executive, who oversees originals for the premium cable network and its streaming counterpart, saw a combined 24 HBO/HBO Max programs collect 140 total nominations while Netflix saw 35 programs earn 105 total nominations.

Bloys is used to having to compete with Netflix’s big spending on a myriad of content as the streaming giant attempts to be a catch-all for viewers. Instead, HBO and HBO Max’s programming teams curate slates that offset one another. (While HBO has a lot of male-skewing content, HBO Max programs for more female viewers, etc.)

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Bloys opens up about the futures of Succession and Westworld as well as what shows could be the talk of the Emmys 2023 including the highly anticipated take on The Last of Us.

HBO topped Netflix this year without the benefit of HBO Max. To what do you attribute that success?

It’s the same as every year: talented programming teams at HBO and HBO Max working with talented creators and everybody doing their best to put the best work out in the world. There’s no secret to it other than keeping your head down and trying to do our best across the board.

The TV Academy decided against breaking out nominations by outlet this year. How do you see that narrative evolving over time?

I think it’s a lot of hand wringing over nothing. We have the same programming management over both HBO and HBO Max. When HBO was linear only, we were still competitive. Now it’s a more level playing field where we have a streaming service as well. It makes perfect sense to combine them. Ultimately, what matters is the shows that are recognized.

HBO and HBO Max had fewer shows overall get more nominations than Netflix (which had 35 programs nominated) …

That’s always how it is. We don’t have the volume that they do, so every show has got to work harder.

You guys had some snubs in The Staircase, Julia, Winning Time, Gilded Age as well as And Just Like That. How are you feeling about these significant snubs?

On a day where we got 140 nominations … obviously, you want all your shows to be nominated, but I don’t think today is the day to worry or obsess about the snubs. We will be back at some of them and we’ll do our best, but today is about celebrating nominations as opposed to feeling cheated in any way. This is the game; not everybody can win.

Was there anything you were especially surprised about or happy to see among the nominations?

Because Station Eleven aired in December and we’ve had so many shows air between January and June, it was nice people remembered that one. The same with The White Lotus. To stay in people’s minds is a hard thing to do.

Is there a way to make Emmy categories more reflective of the nature of the industry? Do you think Julia was hurt by only kinda being a comedy, while White Lotus wasn’t hurt by only kinda being a limited series?

The thing with Julia is, that’s coming back next year. Part of it is you have to keep at it. Julia deserved some noms, and that cast and crew will put out an excellent second season. The thing about the Emmys is being consistent, and that entire cast deserved recognition as well as for the writing and directing.

What’s changed for you now that Discovery’s David Zaslav has taken control?

David has been nothing but supportive of what we’re doing creatively. He appreciates me and the team and makes it clear he values what we do. It’s been nothing but support. This happened when AT&T took over, a lot of business as usual decisions were recast in a, “Well, AT&T must be making them do this” fashion. Whether it was Demimonde or a show cancellation or renewal, we’re running a programming service that has daily needs and decisions that need to get made. There’s no scenario where David is looking over my shoulder and weighing in on if we should renew or cancel something. Everyday decisions have been getting recast as reflective of what the new regime is doing, and that’s not the case here.

When can viewers expect new seasons of Euphoria, White Lotus and Succession?

We haven’t announced dates yet but I’d imagine White Lotus, Succession, Barry and Hacks would all be within next year’s Emmy eligibility window.

What’s the future of Succession beyond season four?

For a decision like that we do defer to showrunners. It’s up to Jesse Armstrong to decide. They’ve started shooting the fourth season and broken stories, and he wants to go through that process to see if he does have more story or themes to explore. It’s up to him. If he wants to do more, great. If this is all he’s got, great.

In a world where hit shows quickly get spinoffs as franchises continue to be incredibly important to streaming platforms, have you had conversations with Jesse about a Succession spinoff — especially considering how big that world has become, as evidenced by the volume of acting nominations the show received this year?

A world like Game of Thrones where George R.R. Martin has an entire universe and thousand-year timeline and multiple families and wars and history, that’s not what Jesse has set up. There’s no scenario where a Succession multiverse is in the cards.

Give the people what they want: a teaser about Succession season four.

More family dysfunction! (Laughs.)

HBO is developing a Game of Thrones Jon Snow sequel. What changed that you want to revisit the finale of the flagship series? 

I have nothing to report on the Jon Snow development.

What’s the future of Westworld beyond season four? Lisa Joy and Jonah Nolan’s deal includes two more seasons. Is that still the case?

Like with any show, we’ll see how it does. We haven’t talked to them about ideas for a season five, but we’re only three episodes into season four and we’ll see how it goes. No decisions have been made.

When should we expect The Last of Us to arrive?

It’s closer to early 2023.

Looking ahead to next year, what’s on the docket that you’re excited about that we could talk about this time next year?

By that time, we’ll have gone through Sex Lives of College Girls season two, White Lotus 2, The Idol, Last of Us, Succession, Julia, Hacks, Barry and Righteous Gemstones. It’s a pretty packed lineup again. We could be talking about any number of those shows!

Interview edited for length and clarity. 

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