A fierce debate rages among Emmy campaigners over how many sample episodes ideally should be sent on DVD to TV academy members.
This year, Showtime sent two segments of "Dexter," "Weeds," "Californication," "United States of Tara" plus others. (More are available on its FYC site.) HBO mixed it up: "Curb Your Enthusiasm" (six), "True Blood" (two), "Big Love" (two), "Entourage" (three), "Treme" (two), etc.
AMC believes strongly that more is better so it sent six episodes of their top two contenders this year and last. The strategy paid off in the past with multiple victories as best drama series ("Mad Men") and lead actor (Bryan Cranston, "Breaking Bad").
Recently, NBC sent the following: "30 Rock" (two), "The Office" (double length, one-hour special) — and "Friday Night Lights" (one). It didn't send more of "Friday Night Lights" because it was aware of the bold, separate push planned by its production partner DirecTV, which just shipped 14,000 TV academy members all 13 episodes of the football drama's newest season. They initially aired on DirecTV between October 2009 and February 2010, and just commenced re-airing on NBC beginning May 7.
Only rarely has an entire season of a series' episodes been shipped to voters. Showtime was the first to do so in January 2005, sending out a full season (13 episodes) of "Huff," which reaped seven Emmy nominations (Blythe Danner won in the supporting slot). A few months later FX sent out 13 episodes of "The Shield," resulting in acting bids for Glenn Close and CCH Pounder, and "Rescue Me" (first season), nabbing two noms (directing, writing). The ambitious Emmy campaign ploy has not been attempted recently, so the fact that "Friday Night Lights" is doing so is the equivalent to throwing a "Hail, Mary" pass in the Emmy game.
Below is the mailer sent by DirecTV to academy members. To view larger versions of the photos, click on each image. Also, check out the video featuring scores of "FNL" fans making pleas to Emmy voters to not overlook the much-awarded series again.
Top photo: NBC / Bottom photos: Tom O'Neil