Emmy Talk with JWalk: Did HBO and Hulu Delay Launching “The Handmaid’s Tale” and “Big Little Lies” to Avoid “Game of Thrones”? (Part 1)

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Game of Thrones is entering its final six episodes on HBO and final year of eligibility at the Emmys this year. HBO is sure to launch a “For Your Consideration” campaign unlike any network has in Emmy history for the juggernauts final season.

GoT is already entering awards season on top being the incumbent in two major races as it won Outstanding Drama Series and Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series (Peter Dinklage) last year. In addition to those two awards, the show was nominated for an epic 22 nominations last year, the most for any other series, ultimately winning 4. Game of Thrones is already the most winningest primetime scripted show in Emmy history with 47 wins under its belt, and will surely add a few more this year.

I’m convinced Game of Thrones is so powerful that is has delayed the launch of two of television’s hottest series, Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale and HBO’s own second season of Big Little Lies. Hulu announced the third season of Handmaid’s for June 5th, and BLL will returning for its second season on HBO June 9th.

It could easily be a coincidence that both series will premiere just outside the Emmys 2019 eligibility window, which is May 31st, but I suspect that HBO and Hulu wanted to sit out their two awards magnets to escape the wrath that Game of Thrones is set to bring for its final outing.

In my opinion, I think it’s a smart move for HBO and Hulu. Both The Handmaid’s Tale and Big Little Lies swept through their first Emmy cycles. Handmaid’s gave Hulu their first major series win in 2017 (beating Netflix to the punch). Also in 2017, HBO just about swept the limited series category with Big Little Lies. Both shows won 5 Emmys each. In 2020, Handmaid’s and BLL is set to face off head-to-head for the first time since BLL will now be competing in the drama category – but more on that later…

The Handmaid’s Tale got a huge bump in nominations year-over-year (13 in 2017 vs. 20 in 2018), landing it right behind GoT and Westworld in total drama series nominations. Add Big Little Lies to that mix if both were set to premiere just a week before and we would have a three-way battle royale for Emmy supremacy.

Most network executives know HBO is going to do a full on media blitz for GoT‘s final run, which happens to fall right at the end of the Emmy eligibility window, so episodes will be fresh in voters minds (smart for HBO!), so I think it was a wise choice for HBO and Hulu to push their shows out so they wouldn’t have to complete against Game of Thrones. That being said, the Best Drama Emmy race in 2020 is already looking to be a showdown, and we haven’t even gotten into adding Westworld, Stranger Things, The Crown, which is also sitting out of the 2019 Emmy cycle, and whatever hot new shiny series enters the race over the next year. It will surely be interesting to see how this all plays out.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of my Game of Thrones analysis as I dissect the acting categories IF The Handmaid’s Tale and Big Little Lies were in the 2019 Emmy race.

2019 Emmy nominations will be announced Tuesday, July 16th, get ready for a lot of coverage leading to the final day as potential nominees heat up or cool off.

Don’t forget, Follow TV Talk with JWalk on Twitter and Instagram to stay up to date on the latest TV and Emmy coverage!

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