Amazon’s Vernon Sanders has a lot to celebrate after Amazon Studios, Prime Video, Freevee and MGM garnered a total of 68 Primetime Emmy Award nominations on Wednesday.
“I’m over the moon. There’s just a breath of recognition that doesn’t always happen,” the TV executive told TheWrap. “I think these nominations really represent the fact that Amazon Studios, Freevee, MGM and Prime Video are destinations where the Talent can boldly and innovatively tell stories and make big changes and try to appeal to a global audience. That vision for the service and for Amazon Studios, that’s why I’m particularly proud.”
Prime Video’s critically acclaimed and fan-favorite series “The Marvelous Maisel” became the most Emmy-nominated streaming comedy ever with 80 total nominations, adding 14 nominations to its tally of 66 nominations. with its fifth and final season.
“We simply could not be more proud of the Palladinos and the cast of that show,” he said.
Also, the comedy series “Jury Duty” directed by Freevee’s James Marsden, which garnered four nominations, including Outstanding Comedy Series, became the first AVOD series to be nominated in a major category.
“[Jury Duty] it’s really just a word-of-mouth phenomenon,” Sanders said. “We felt like the show really fell into the comedy category because when you look at the people who brought Lee, Jean and Dave Bernard together, they all really came from a comedy background. So his intention was to surprise people and make them really laugh, and I think the show does that. He has a tremendous beautiful heart and he really stands out.”
He noted that “Jury Duty” was a “bold idea that made a lot of people nervous.”
“Probably our entire legal team is gray now because there was a lot of risk involved, but I think it was worth it,” he added. “So as we look at ourselves and think about content that can break through, I think we now challenge ourselves not to assume we know why something can’t work, but to be more open to things that feel as bold. …really the lesson is to take bold risks. I am so thankful to see so many people being recognized.”
Prime Video earned 41 nominations, including six for “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.” Sanders called the achievement “incredible for a first-season show” and praised “the level of devotion” of its craftsmen.
“To see that recognized is incredibly gratifying, everyone on that show has worked so hard to try to deliver something that felt true to Tolkien,” he added.
The show was notably unable to break into the Outstanding Drama Series or major acting categories.
“It’s a very, very challenging thing for a first-year show to break into the drama category. There are so many great shows there,” she said. “In terms of the acting categories, what I would say is that we had a great cast of people. I think all of our actors are incredibly, incredibly dynamic. But once you have a cast that size, there’s always going to be risk. It’s harder for any one person, one performance, to be recognized. With that being said, I think the show is incredibly special and truly worthy. So over the course of this awards season, it’s been really wonderful to see the show get recognized by so many different award bodies and we’ll be back next year.”
In addition, “Daisy Jones & The Six” received nine nominations, “Wednesday” received 12 and “The Voice” (both MGM Television productions) received four.
“’Daisy Jones’ has been a multi-year labor of love shooting on COVID, finding actors who could sing, having such a beloved book translated that way has been just fantastic. The fans have had so much love for that show,” she said. “And then ‘Rings of Power,’ ‘The Boys’ and Dominique Fishback and ‘Swarm’ and ‘Wednesday,’ some of our reality shows that get recognition. It feels like we’re going full steam ahead in terms of quality content. So it’s great to see the industry recognize that.”
The 75th Annual Emmy Awards will air live on Fox on September 18 at 8 pm ET/ 5 pm PT. See the full list of nominees here.