Bragging Rights

What's the etiquette of promoting Emmy wins? What's the shelf-life of a self-congratulatory promo for a Primetime Emmy-winning show?

That's what networks are trying to figure out as they begin to rush out those spots reveling in their series' triumphant showing at the award ceremony. And with the Emmys having aired earlier this year than in the past, the wider promotional window is making it harder to calculate.

NBC, which aired the awards show Aug. 27 (because of its Sunday Night Football) instead of the customary night before the new season begins, led the broadcast pack this year with 14 awards.

Vince Manze, president/creative director of The NBC Agency, is busy working up celebratory spots for Best Comedy winner The Office and for My Name Is Earl, which received four Emmys, including Best Comedy Writing and Direction.

The irregular scheduling of the awards has proved fortunate for the two shows, which return Sept. 21.

“With more time to promote, it really helps us out,” Manze says. “There is more of an opportunity to tell people that they won.”

But the promos “won't continue after week one” of the new season, he says. “There comes a point when you say, 'Okay, I got it. You won some Emmys.' It becomes obnoxious. It's, like, 'I got a new watch!' Enough already!”

Timing has proved less favorable for Fox's real-time drama 24, which won best-drama and lead-actor Emmys. It won't return for five months, when its sixth season premieres in January.

Fox did rush a spot onto the air last Monday. “We could not be prouder of the Emmy wins,” says a spokesman, “but 24 is scheduled to maximize fan enjoyment [running consecutively without reruns]. In order to facilitate that, we need to schedule the show in January.”

Of course, Emmys don't necessarily add up to ratings success. Says NBC's Manze: “While we are proud to have won, we don't necessarily want them to share the fate of Arrested Development,” a critical hit and Emmy winner that failed to attract a significant audience before it was cancelled.”

Adds, Manze, “We want the fate of Seinfeld.”