Showtime unveils early Emmy push for 'Huff'

LOS ANGELES: Showtime Networks has broken away from traditional Emmy campaign strategies by launching its efforts for drama series Huff months before other contenders break ground.

LOS ANGELES: Showtime Networks has broken away from traditional Emmy campaign strategies by launching its efforts for drama series Huff months before other contenders break ground.

Earlier this month, the pay network sent out "for your consideration" mailers to the 12,000 Emmy-voting members of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Already unusual for its early date, the mailing also contained all thirteen episodes of the program's season; typically mailers contain only a few of the show's best airings.

Showtime's EVP of corporate communications Richard Licata said that he decided on the changes as a way to help break through the increasing clutter of Emmy campaigns.

"This is the perfect time to do it because this will be one of the only packages out there," he said.

"What I have seen over the years is everyone sends out their product in May and June," explained Licata. Consequently, Academy members are forced to watch a glut of shows in a short time. With the early release of Huff, a new drama about a struggling psychiatrist, Licata hopes to avoid that.

"This is a show that needs to be seen and it really needs a shot at the Academy members watching it slowly and savoring it," he said.

The aggressive strategy behind Huff is nothing new to Licata, who is charged with helping Showtime better compete with perennial award-winner HBO by raising its image as a provider of edgy, top-quality fare.

Licata is already well known as and trendsetter among awards campaigners. Last December, he helped Huff earn Showtime's first-ever Golden Globe nomination for a series. He is also credited with helping Michael Chiklis of FX's The Shield win an Emmy, the first ever for a basic cable network.

"From an awards standpoint, you have to differentiate yourself," he said. "You have to make noise."

The Huff campaign will continue with advertisements and media outreach for both cast and Showtime executives. Licata will also handle award efforts for other Showtime shows, including Fat Actress and The L Word.

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