Though the media landscape is more segmented than ever, TV remains a big player. TV's might is apparent at the Primetime Emmy Awards, the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences' annual tribute to monumental industry achievements, which experienced a 35% ratings leap last year.
The 58th edition will be held August 27 at LA's Shrine Auditorium. And the woman behind much of the event's publicity and coordination is Robin Mesger, SVP at The Lippin Group in LA.
Mesger works with the academy and host network on everything from preparing press releases to behind-the-scenes organization.
In early spring, Mesger says, the Emmy message-positioning starts. "We try to keep it as fresh as we can right up to the show," she explains.
Following the awards nominations, which were announced June 6, comes crunch time. Culminating in Emmy week - seven days of high-profile events leading up to the ceremony - everything Mesger does is designed to result in "the best show possible and achieve the highest ratings," she says.
Given last year's jump, Mesger will have quite a challenge.
First, the show is on a rotating network schedule. NBC has the honors this year. However, it's being broadcast a month earlier than usual to accommodate the network's recently acquired Sunday Night Football programming.
In addition, the academy altered its nominations process this year, a change that allowed once overlooked shows to garner attention, but also generated negative reactions as fan favorites like Lost were all but ignored. In a move some TV reporters have called an effort to "get back" at the academy, ABC announced it would broadcast Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl against the Emmys, giving it a serious ratings rival.
Despite these developments, Mesger - an NYU journalism graduate - says that the media's Emmy enthusiasm is still strong.
Mesger says she's received almost 1,000 credential requests, each of which she and her team must "go through, sift, and figure out who goes where on the red carpet."
Having it down to science, Mesger arranges and rearranges journalists' and film crews' positioning for days. Fortunately, she says, "there is no bad spot on the carpet." And outlets, such as Entertainment Tonight, Access Hollywood, Extra, and The Insider, as well as TV Guide, E!, and NBC - the latter three which broadcast live - each have carpet-side platforms, allowing for added space.
Mesger also supervises the Emmy press tents, a sprawling city of photo, online, and general media rooms for use by working journalists during and after the awards.
While all this is under way, Mesger and her team must also work to publicize and organize other Emmy week events, which kick off the Saturday before the awards with the Creative Arts Emmys.
Other events include a celebrity golf tournament, academy peer group receptions, and several media days, including the red-carpet roll out, Architectural Digest green-room sneak peek, and a Governors' Ball sneak preview.
Of course, it isn't all about Emmy. Throughout the year, work on the academy's behalf goes on, adds Lippin EVP Pam Golum. "The Emmys are TV's highest honor. We want to make sure that standard of excellence is seen year-round in all academy efforts." Those efforts, she says, include promoting the academy's professional development and educational programs, archival division, hall of fame, and foundation.
Despite the workload, Mesger cites her job as a dream come true. "I love the entertainment industry," she says. "I still can't go to bed without my TV on."
The Lippin Group, LA.
GCI, Los Angeles,
senior account director