At least one producer is extremely unhappy with the Emmy awards. He’s Thom Beers, executive producer of brawny, blue-collar ‘docudrama’ programs such as ‘Deadliest Catch,’ ‘Black Gold,’ ‘Ice Road Truckers,’ ‘Ax Men’ and about a dozen others.
He’s miffed that his signature show, Discovery Channel’s hugely popular ‘Deadliest Catch‘ – which had its most heart-wrenching season yet after the death of one of its fishing-boat skippers, the beloved Phil Harris – was grouped in a category with documentaries that, in his opinion, bear no similarity to the shows he produces.
“To be honest, I was totally crushed,” Beers told Fancast in a phone interview Monday conducted to promote ‘Black Gold,’ his series about oil-well workers, returning for a third season Sept. 8 on TruTV.
But when Fancast asked Beers about Sunday night’s Emmys, he blasted the way the Emmys have grouped his shows with one-off docs and limited series, such as the PBS Ken Burns series ‘The National Parks: America’s Best Idea,’ which won an Emmy a week earlier (in the non-televised Creative Arts Emmys) for Best Non-fiction Series. ‘Deadliest Catch‘ was also nominated in that category, along with ‘The American Experience‘ (PBS), ‘American Masters‘ (PBS), ‘Life‘ (Discovery) and ‘Monty Python: Almost the Truth (the Lawyer’s Cut)‘ on IFC.
“Once again, I lost to a PBS series!” Beers said. “I don’t know what the hell my show is even doing in a category that basically every year is a PBS category. [The academy doesn’t] recognize [‘Deadliest Catch’] as a documentary but they put it in that category. To lose to Ken Burns’ ‘Parks’ was an abomination. That was the most boring show Ken Burns ever made and when I think that my show should lose to the most boring, the dullest show Ken Burns has ever made, it’s an abomination.”
Beers thinks shows like his – plus all the other ‘docudrama’ series seen all over cable TV these days – should have their own docudrama category.
“How easy is this!” he declared. “Docudramas – [they’re on] every network, [they’re] the staple of the world now. I’m not saying they’re the greatest thing in the world, but look, ‘Cops‘ is a docudrama, ‘Intervention‘ – the high-brow stuff – but ‘Jersey Shore,’ ‘Ice Road Truckers,’ ‘Ax Men,’ ‘Pawn Stars‘ – look at the shows that are in the top 20 in television right now. They’re docudramas and nobody’s touching that category. And to put something like ‘Deadliest Catch‘ in with ‘Parks,’ a [six-part, 12-hour] limited series, and against ‘Monty Python’? What, are you kidding me? They don’t have anything in common.”
He says he’s tried to make his case to the Emmy organizers at the TV Academy, but they haven’t said whether or not they’ll reorganize the categories for docudrama series. Beers believes the docs and limited series should just have their own category, and docudramas should have another.
When you think about all the docudrama shows he cited, compared with documentaries and straight-up reality shows, he might have a point.
What do you think? Should docudramas like ‘Deadliest Catch’ and ‘Ice Road Truckers’ get their own Emmy category?