YouTube creators the Fine Bros. aren’t sweating the 66th Primetime Emmys, despite that they’re on the nomination ballots, which are due back Friday. Too busy cranking out three videos a week to think about much else.
But if the makers of popular shows like Kids React sneak in, they’ll make history.
That’s because no native YouTube creator has ever garnered an Emmy nod — and by “native” creator I’m talking purely YouTube-first series, not associated with pre-existing brands or TV shows. Digital nominations have sprang from the TV ecosystem, but one’s come straight from the YouTube mob.
They’ve been eligible for a few years now. Been throwing their hats in the ring, too — it’s not a terribly high bar.
And just in case you think no punk with a GoPro is ever winning an Emmy, remember that cable TV wasn’t invited until 1988, and it took six years for that uncivilized rabble to bring one home. You’ll never guess which network broke the barrier. (Hint: its name includes the letters H, B and O.)
Streamed shows first became eligible for certain categories in 2008, and it took only five years for Netflix to finally crack TV’s 64-year hold with three wins for House of Cards last year (directing, casting and cinematography). A smattering of web series have gotten nominations going back to 2011, but all were riding some other brand’s coattails, and none have won.
Last year, for instance, Machinima’s web series Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn competed for Best Main Title Design; all of its rivals also had name recognition, including The Newsroom, Elementary, Vikings, American Horror Story: Asylum and Da Vinci’s Demons. Other past web-only series short-form nominees with pedigree have included Jay Leno’s Garage (2011); Bravo’s Top Chef: Last Chance Kitchen (2012); and The Office: The Farewells (2013).
Surely, the YouTube-native nominee is coming. It will happen, and when it does, it will touch off a cascade.
Could this be the year?
Mmmmaybe. The category to watch is Outstanding Short-Format Live-Action Entertainment Program, whose 28 contenders include four native YouTube creators: Arscheerio Paul, Epic Rap Battles of History, Glove and Boots and Guy Dubai: International Gay Spy.
The other is Outstanding Short-Format Nonfiction Program, which has just one: The Fine Bros.
Benny Fine — one half of the Fine Bros. — isn’t exactly planning to be up at 5:30 a.m. when the nominees are announced July 10. Not when he’s competing against established brands like NBC’s Beyond The Blacklist, Food Network’s Chopped After Hours and ABC’s Nashville: On the Record.
But he’s upbeat about submitting, as he should be.
“The advantage to a thing like this is showing what new media is becoming,” Fine told Mashable. “Things are just starting to shift. We used to be just two guys, but we’re a production company now (with some 15 employees) … and a nomination would bring us to the spotlight.”
Benny and brother Rafi pump their channel with original videos every Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. For their efforts they carry 8.7 million subscribers and a whopping 1.75 billion views to date, flirting with the top 50 YouTubers in the world, per Vidstatsx (6/19/14 screenshot above).
They’re also working with Fullscreen on a feature film, one of only a few YouTube stars to cross over to movies, a short list that includes Grace Helbig and Our 2nd Life. But worrying about an Emmy? Ain’t nobody got time for that!
Asked whether they’d done anything to get the word out for Friday’s voting deadline, Fine … wasn’t quite sure.
“I believe we’re involved with a newsletter that went to the Academy, right?” he asked his manager, who was also on the call with Mashable.
His manager confirmed: They were.
Back to cranking those videos, fellas.
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