TV Academy Brings Back Official Emmy FYC Events With Nat Geo and Netflix Virtual Panels

Michael Schneider
·3 min read

It’s been a year since the Television Academy put a halt to officially sanctioned Emmy For Your Consideration events, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, they’re set to finally return next week — but virtually, of course.

Emmy FYC events make a comeback on March 24 with two events at 7 p.m. PT. Nat Geo will kick things off with a dual panel for its unscripted adventure series “Running Wild” (hosted by Bear Grylls) and the new competition “Race to the Center of the Earth,” from the executive producers behind “The Amazing Race.”

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At the same time, the Netflix documentary series “Immigration Nation” will also hold its own virtual panel.

Netflix is also behind most of the other already confirmed panels: “Lenox Hill” (March 25, 7 p.m.), “Indian Matchmaking” (March 27, 7 p.m.), “Deaf U” (March 28, 7 p.m.), “Somebody Feed Phil” (March 29, 5 p.m.) and “The Social Dilemma” (April 2, 7 p.m.). Also, already confirmed for an FYC event is Fox’s “Call Me Kat” on April 9 at 7 p.m.

As Variety first wrote last month, the 2021 Emmy FYC season will include as many as four programs per day: Two at 5 p.m. and two at 7 p.m. on weekdays, and two at 2 p.m. and two at 7 p.m. on weekends. Networks and studios will have the option of doing drive-in (with strict COVID protocols, such as guests not being allowed to leave their cars) or virtual events — which can be either live-streamed or pre-taped. But only one event at a time can go live (the other will have to be pre-taped) — and there will be no livestreams at all on Fridays or Saturdays.

Last year, Emmy FYC events got underway on Feb. 29 with a Warner Bros. TV panel in New York featuring Fox’s “Prodigal Son” star Michael Sheen and Hulu’s “Castle Rock” star Lizzy Caplan (a reunion of sorts for the former “Masters of Sex” duo). But after the first few Emmy FYC events took place, networks and studios started canceling their events, and the Television Academy began exploring other options, including panels without audiences.

But it soon became apparent that the whole events lottery system just wasn’t going to work this year, and the entire idea of an Emmy “campaign” would have to change. Officially sanctioned TV Academy FYC events were halted, and instead networks and studios mounted their own events (frequently with the help of a media outlet like Variety, which launched its Streaming Room space around the same time).

The Nat Geo panel kicking things off this year features “Running Wild” host and exec producer Grylls, as well as fellow EPs Rob Buchta and Liz Schulze. From “Race to the Center of the Earth,” participants are co-creator/executive producer Elise Doganieri, and co-executive producers Darren Bunkley and Kirk Durham.

For this year’s official FYC events, the Academy will limit gifts to $30 per person, which can be used to send digital food delivery or other credits. For the Nat Geo panel, the first 200 RSVPs will receive a gift certificate for a free at-home workout with Barry’s Bootcamp.

Emmy FYC events are beginning, of course, in the middle of Oscar season — which means the next month, at least, will see a bit of a collision course of campaigning across multiple awards. You can find the full TV Academy calendar of Emmy FYC events here.

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