Showtime Fires Up Emmy Campaign on Wheels With Heavy Push for 'Homeland,' 'The Affair'

Starting June 1, the cabler will unveil its FYC campaign on Los Angeles buses.
Showtime
Showtime Bus Campaign

Showtime's "For Your Consideration" Emmy campaign starts (quite literally) rolling today.

The premium network is once again relying on an extensive bus campaign, a tradition that began in 2011 as a means to cut through the clutter in a crowded landscape. To hear Showtime Networks president David Nevins tell it, bus ads are particularly effective as they blanket a city whose residents spend a fair amount of their time in their cars. "Billboards tend to be very concentrated in certain areas, but buses are more ubiquitous and they move, so no matter where you’re commuting in L.A.," he tells The Hollywood Reporter. "You’re going to hit them at some point or another."

Lining those buses will be ads for 10 of the network's shows: The Affair, Episodes, Happyish, Homeland, House of Lies, Masters of Sex, Nurse Jackie, Penny Dreadful, Ray Donovan and Shameless. The breadth of Showtime's lineup has been a point of pride for Nevins, who took the reins at the network in the summer of 2010. "It’s certainly easier to mount a campaign behind your one great comedy or your one great drama," he noted. "Some networks play that game; we don’t." Which is not to say some shows won't get more attention than others in the coming weeks. 

Nevins acknowledged, for instance, that the they are putting extra effort behind Sarah Treem's intimate freshman drama The Affair, given the goodwill it enjoyed at the Golden Globes earlier this year where it won in both the best drama and best actress categories. But where the provocative, dual-narrative series had the advantage of being fresh off its first season just before January's Globes ceremony, Nevins and his team will now have to find ways to reinvigorate that buzz and remind voters of a show that's been off the air for six months. (Ruth Wilson's recent Tony nomination for her performance in the play Constellations is an added benefit.)

Another hopeful, which also is getting an additional push from 20th Century Fox TV's Fox 21, is Homeland, another fall show that is similarly disadvantaged by being a distant memory for viewers. (Summer shows like Masters of Sex and Ray Donovan are better timed in that they benefit from viewer word of mouth during awards season.) For the Alex Gansa-run CIA drama, Nevins intends to capitalize on the former Emmy darling's critical comeback this past season. Ads will feature quotes from reviews such as, "It’s back and it’s better than ever," much as they did for its Globes campaign.

Nevins has been similarly invested in making sure his programs are best positioned in the race itself, which explains a (successful) petition to have his hourlong dramedy Shameless moved back into the less competitive comedy category despite a new Academy rule that assumes a half-hour is a comedy and an hourlong is a drama. "They had to make some presumptions so that it’s not completely willy-nilly, … [but] there are things in development here that are hours that I know will eventually be in the comedy category," says Nevins.

Is he worried that those other shows will be forced to stay in the heated drama category? "I’m not nervous," he added. "It’s like the Supreme Court’s definition of pornography — you kind of know it when you see it."

Check out the unified bus campaign here:

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