(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times) (Boston Globe / Getty Images)
Dan Fogelman, creator of this season’s breakout drama "This Is Us," responded with a mix of joy, exhilaration, surprise and gratitude Thursday to the NBC series’ 11 Emmy nominations, including best drama.
You had to have seen this plot twist coming?
I didn’t know it was going to happen! I’ve never done this before. I don’t understand how any of this works. Everyone who works on this show is so normal and kind of regular, from the actors to the writers. This is all a little beyond us. Last night, we were like, this is tomorrow morning, right? What happens? A couple of the writers and some friends that run a production company were following it more online and were telling me what to expect a little bit, or what people were prognosticating. But I really had no idea.
Were you already up? Are you guys shooting today?
Yeah, we’re shooting today. I’ve been up since 5 writing the next episode of the show for Season 2. I actually almost missed it because I was writing and I kind of blanked on the time. My wife was getting ready for work in the bathroom and putting on makeup. I was like, I think they’re about to do it. But we couldn’t figure out how to get the technology to work.
Neither could we, don’t worry.
It was all really confusing. It was basically the least glamorous way of getting Emmy nominations that you could ever imagine.
Is the cast text chain at full throttle right now?
That’s been going off this morning. I texted and emailed all the people who got nominations and those that didn’t. It’s a big family here. Everyone is just so happy for everybody. And the show getting nominated is so amazing.
Will there be a celebration of some sort on set?
There probably should be. I haven’t even thought about it. We’re on location today. I have to figure out what I’m supposed to do. I know this sounds cheesy and lame, but I’m not more proud of anyone this morning than I was 24 hours ago. If we were allowed to, we would do this show for free if nobody was watching it. We just love working on it. This is just silly and fun and exciting.
And what does it say about this show and how people are responding to it, particularly in this climate that we’re in?
I think it speaks a lot to our actors who are taking what’s essentially a dramedy and getting it put into conversation [with] serious other shows. They add a weight and gravitas to every one of their performances, even when they’re being funny or sweet or sentimental. I think that’s why it’s in the conversation. For me, this is the kind of stuff – this show is what I like to do. It’s kind of a populist dramedy, for lack of a better way of phrasing it. Those types of shows aren’t usually in the conversation with the heavier, more serious fare. So just to be seeing the name of our show amidst all these other shows that are darker and weighter and fancier, it’s really exciting for us. We set out to do something that was about people and that everybody can access, but also try to do something that was high quality. To be in the conversation is very rewarding for us.
Who is the most likely to be drunk first on the big night?
Definitely me. This is all coming new to them, except for Sterling. None of us have been here before — that’s for our crew and cast. I find that our cast, when we started to go to these things, are remarkably centered and elegant and I’m like the drunk train wreck in the corner, just anxious about: What if we happen to win something and I have to go up there and say something? It’s literally the most terrifying thing I can think of. At the Golden Globes, which was really my first time putting on a tuxedo and going to these things, by the time they announced our category, I was so drunk. It would have been a disaster if we had won. I was so nervous and anxious, I don’t know what would have happened.
All the new entrants this year …
It’s nice because we’re a new show. I’m sure when we’re an older show, I may feel differently. There’s so much content out there right now; the ones where you feel like you have to get to right away are often the new ones. There’s no doubt that, like, "The Americans" is crushing it. But it’s hard. There’s a lot to watch, too much. And I can understand that frustration for shows that are deep into their runs and don’t get the same recognition.
Actor Anthony Anderson ("black-ish") poses for photos at the Los Angeles Times studio on June 1.
Nominated Thursday morning for lead actor in a comedy series by the Television Academy, Anthony Anderson of ABC’s "black-ish" spoke to The Times from the set of his game show "To Tell the Truth."
How does it feel to be nominated for a third time?
They say the third time’s the charm! It’s exciting. I found out with my mother today as we were working on our game show, so it was a pretty fantastic moment. We were heading to rehearsal when the announcements came down so I got to share that moment with theNo. 1 lady in my life, my mother.
Be honest, were you surprised?
I was. You can never take any of this for granted, none of this is ever guaranteed, so I was surprised. You can’t say like, "I deserve to be nominated." No, I’d be foolish to say that. It’s all subjective. It’s really an honor and a privilege to be nominated.
"Black-ish" is up for three other nominations including lead actress for Tracee Ellis Ross, guest actress for Wanda Sykes and outstanding comedy series. Why do you think the show resonates with audiences the way it does?
I think the show resonates with an audience because of the authenticity with which we tell these stories. The truthfulness in which we share what we share with the world. Everything that we deal with are subjects that everyone notices. White, black, red, brown, yellow, whatever. We just happen to tell it from the perspective of an African American family, but it’s everything that we all go through. Sex, religion, politics, love, all of that, it’s everything that we share and that’s the commonality between all of us. And I think that’s why our show resonates with an audience the way that it does. The biggest compliment that I’ve ever received from our show was, "When I see your family on-screen, I see my family." And that’s how we knew we were on to something special.
Which of the other nominees do you hope to see bring home a trophy?
Everyone and everything associated with "black-ish," that’s what I would like to see. It’s an honor and a privilege to be nominated amongst the group of people that we’re nominated with, just across the board. I get to live my dream every day and for that work that I put into living this dream that I had as a 9-year-old kid growing up in Compton and having that recognized and realized. It’s very special and I’m pretty sure it’s special for all those that were nominated. So that’s how I view it, that’s how I see it. But I would love for Wanda to come home with it, I would love for Tracee to come home with it, I would love for the show to come home with it, and I would love for me to come home with it.
How do you plan on celebrating?
I don’t know yet. The news just came down, I’m here at work all day and all evening, there’s going to be a lot of champagne popping in between takes.
Snoop Dogg, one of the godfathers of West Coast hip-hop, received an Emmy nomination this morning for his role as host on VH1’s “Martha & Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party,” while Chance the Rapper, one of hip-hop’s brightest young stars, earned a nod in the original music and lyrics category for co-writing “Last Christmas,” a Run D.M.C.-inspired ditty featured in a 2016 episode of “Saturday Night Live.”
The two rappers are hardly the only pop acts nominated for television’s highest honor.
Adam Schlesinger, of the 1990s power-pop group Fountains of Wayne, earned a nod for original music and lyrics with “We Tapped That …,” a tune from the CW series “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.”
Michael Stein and Kyle Dixon, members of the Texas electro group Survive, are up for original main title theme for their music from Netflix’s “Stranger Things.”
And rapper Common, who won an Oscar two years ago for his song “Glory” from the movie “Selma,” was recognized in original music and lyrics for “Letter to the Free,” a track he composed with jazz musicians Robert Glasper and Karriem Riggins for Ava DuVernay’s Netflix documentary “13th.”
Pop music also figured prominently in the nominations for music supervision, a new Emmy category this year recognizing outstanding work by the people who select songs for use in television shows.
Among the nominees are Susan Jacobs for her work on HBO’s “Big Little Lies” (which featured a memorable application of “Harvest Moon” by Neil Young), Zach Cowie and Kerri Drootin for Netflix’s “Master of None” (in which they used songs by John Fahey and Frankie Knuckles) and the trio responsible for the music on HBO’s “Girls,” who found room in that series’ next-to-last episode for both Bert Jansch’s “Running From Home” and “23” by Mike Will Made It and Miley Cyrus.