Louis C.K. Submitting 'Horace and Pete' in Emmy Drama Race (Exclusive)

Horace and Pete Still - H 2016

Horace and Pete Still - H 2016

Louis C.K. is poised to shake up yet another Emmy race.

Well-placed sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that C.K.’s beloved online series, Horace and Pete, which he wrote, directed, produced and distributed, is being submitted in the drama category. In doing so, the multicam entry is vying for space on the 2016 Emmy ballot with USA’s Mr. Robot, AMC’s Better Call Saul, HBO’s Game of Thrones and Netflix’s House of Cards and Orange Is the New Black.

C.K. and Steve Buscemi, who play brothers who run a 100-year-old bar in the series, will enter the drama lead category, which is likely to include Mr. Robot’s Rami Malek, House of Card’s Kevin Spacey and Better Call Saul’s Bob Odenkirk. The series' other stars — Alan Alda, Steve Wright, Kurt Metzger, Jessica Lange and Edie Falco — will each be submitted in the supporting categories, while Laurie Metcalf and Aidy Bryant could be competitive in the guest star race.

The acclaimed series, which THR critic Dan Fienberg described as having "some of the best acting I'd expect to see in any TV show this year," premiered Jan. 30 without an ounce of promotion. The premiere episode was available to download for $5; subsequent episodes have ranged in price from $2 to $3. "The dirty, unmovable fact is that this show is f---ing expensive," C.K. explained on his site, LouisCK.net. "Basically this is a handmade, one-guy-paid-for-it version of a thing that is usually made by a giant corporation."

It should be noted that changes to the Emmy rules were made in 2015 in an attempt to more clearly define a comedy as a half-hour series and a drama as an hourlong one. To appeal, studios and networks can submit series in question to a nine-member industry panel that will decide on where it will compete. Netflix famously lost such a battle to have Orange compete as a comedy. Of course, unlike a traditional linear series, Horace and Pete's run time has spanned from nearly 70 minutes to as few as 30.

In an interview with THR in late February, FX Networks CEO John Landgraf, who has a significant overall deal with C.K., acknowledged that he’d known about the project well before the public did. And though he was interested in being Horace and Pete’s chief distributor, C.K. was adamant that he release this series on his site and on his terms. C.K. has several other projects on air or in development at FX.  

"Part of the idea behind launching it on the site was to create a show in a new way and to provide it to you directly and immediately, without the usual promotion, banner ads, billboards and clips that tell you what the show feels and looks like before you get to see it for yourself," noted C.K. "And as a TV watcher, I’m always delighted when I can see a thing without knowing anything about it because of the promotion."