Emmys Could Be Factor in CBS Renewals

Sep 29, 2003  •  Post A Comment

CBS series “Everybody Loves Raymond” and “Amazing Race” went into the Emmys with their futures in doubt, and although they both left the Emmys toting their genres’ top trophies, it was still unclear last week whether either would be on the network’s schedule next season.
“Raymond’s” future is foggy because creators Ray Romano and Phil Rosenthal have said they won’t decide until January whether to go ahead with another season. CBS has yet to give “Race” an official order for a fifth edition.
The Emmy victories could influence those decisions, TV industry insiders said.
“There’s no question that an Emmy makes a difference,” said talent agent Scott Schwartz, who packaged “Will & Grace.” “When they say, `And the winner is …,’ there’s this euphoric high that is inexplicable. It’s like the greatest drug ever invented. If it happens to you once-assuming that you believe in yourself-you want it again. I do believe it is an enormously strong impetus to come back.”
Mr. Rosenthal and Mr. Romano have both said in the past that this year’s eighth season will be the show’s last. Backstage at the Shrine auditorium after winning their first Emmy for Outstanding TV Comedy after five tries, they reaffirmed what they’ve said recently: A final decision will be made in January.
Whether “Raymond’s” Emmy victory for Outstanding Comedy Series sways them to continue the show or quit while they are on top is another question.
“There’s two schools of thought,” Mr. Rosenthal said. “One is this is very encouraging. The other is we should take this and go.”
Mr. Rosenthal said they will take into account whether they have more stories to tell after the end of this season, considering they have already made about 175 episodes. “It takes a lot of stamina to do it,” he said. “It takes a lot of stamina to do 175 of anything.”
Not everyone was willing to concede that this could be the show’s final season. Doris Roberts, who won Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy for her role as Marie Barone, said the writing, acting and directing on the show is still top-notch.
“I don’t know how they can quit,” she said. “I don’t know how you can take that off the air. And I hope they won’t.”
Ms. Roberts also said she “absolutely” could see the show continuing even if Mr. Romano and Mr. Rosenthal bow out.
CBS’s “Amazing Race” won the first-ever Emmy for Outstanding Reality/Competition Program, and the show’s producers are hoping the victory will put them over the edge in their bid for renewal. CBS has given the go-ahead to start casting a fifth edition, but producers have not received an official order yet.
“Every day has been a little bit of torture,” executive producer Bertram van Munster said.
Executive producer Jerry Bruckheimer gave a shout-out to CBS during his post-victory remarks backstage. “You know what feels great about it?” he said. “We still haven’t been renewed, so this is wonderful. CBS, are you watching?”
The Emmy victory puts one more checkmark in the plus column for the show.
“It gives them something to promote,” Mr. Schwartz said. “It looks good to the advertisers because all of a sudden it has a gilded edge. You have this patina of quality, and most of the time quality transmutes into commerciality.”
“The West Wing’s” victory as Outstanding Drama Series for the fourth year in a row gives NBC something to crow about in the wake of a season that many critics considered subpar and that saw a 21 percent ratings drop. The win over HBO favorites “The Sopranos” and “Six Feet Under” brought creator Aaron Sorkin to the stage to accept the award. Mr. Sorkin departed the series earlier this year in the face of criticism about the direction the show was taking and budget overruns from scripts coming in late.
In the final tally for the night, HBO won eight awards, including top drama acting honors for Edie Falco and James Gandolfini, who each won their third Emmys for their roles as Carmela and Tony Soprano, respectively, and a supporting actor nod for Joe Pantoliano, also for “The Sopranos.” CBS won seven awards.
TNT, which won a slew of awards for made-for-TV movie “Door to Door,” starring William H. Macy, tied NBC with four awards. Comedy Central won two awards for “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart.” USA, ABC and Sci Fi each won one award. Broadcast host network Fox was shut out.