Look at Jonathan Rhys Meyers puckering his lips on the cover of Tuesday's Variety! He can almost taste a top Emmy nom for his hit Showtime series.
Most Emmywatchers agree: "The Tudors" is thisclose to becoming the first non-HBO cable series to be nominated in the top series (drama or comedy) categories. Showtime doesn't want to take any chances. Yesterday — the third-to-last day of the Emmy eligibility period — the network not only bought the cover of Hollywood's top tradepaper, but it inserted something inside 30,000 copies that's never been tried: a DVD containing the last four episodes of the season.
That's curious, and quite bold, considering that the final two episodes aren't even Emmy eligible because they'll be telecast after the May 31 cut-off date. But that doesn't matter. Showtime wants to keep that "Tudors" buzz a-buzzing. Back in April the network shipped the first six episodes to Emmy voters, so now it wants to give them a jump on what's ahead while the show has obvious, breakout momentum.
Shrewdly, Showtime is using fresh new episodes of a series to tantalize voters just like HBO does. Don't you think it's rather, ahem, peculiar that both "The Sopranos" and "The Tudors" (two rich, white-trash families on either side of a throne — and the Atlantic Ocean — by the way — have you ever thought of that?) air new material after the Emmy period? What if their best stuff comes at the season finale? It won't be eligible for Emmy notice till next year by which time memory fades.
Well, frankly, that consideration is secondary to the chief goal of keeping TV voters interested in those series throughout the period when ballots will be cast to determine nominees: June 4 to 22.