Generates Another Sparkling Awards Season Scoop

Here’s a vivid reminder of just how well Tom O’Neil and his group of editors know the Emmy Awards beat.

Thanks to a recent Skype discussion between O’Neil, Chris Beachum, Matt Noble and Daniel Montgomery about the Best Supporting Comedy Actor chances of New Girl’s Max Greenfield (pictured), the performer’s Hollywood agents realized the wrong episode had been submitted on the co-star’s behalf. Instead of “Control,” which Greenfield’s reps had selected, the DVD reproduction house somehow pressed copies of the episode “Bad in Bed.” Tipped by Gold Derby, the TV  Academy worked with the actor’s team to remedy the mistake and get new discs out to voters with special instructions in time for the September 17 deadline.

“It’s definitely one of Gold Derby’s top ten scoops,” O’Neil tells FishbowlLA via telephone. “But nothing will likely surpass our story about Katherine Heigl lashing out at her writers after having withdrawn from Emmy consideration for Grey’s Anatomy. She was ticked off at her writers, and then there was that whole backlash against her after the story broke.”

Gold Derby is no stranger to this sort of thing. In the past, they have helped steer everyone from Ty Burrell to Neil Patrick Harris to Cynthia Nixon to Emmy success. “Over the years, our message boards were extremely popular and I was able to monitor who the smartest posters were,” O’Neil explains. “I started deputizing them as editors and now, we have these guys – Chris and Marcus Dixon – who are basically telling Hollywood what to do at Emmy time.”

Come November, Gold Derby will celebrate its one-year anniversary of reclaimed website independence. From 2005 through the fall of 2010, it was an LA Times licensed component of The Envelope. For another year after that, it was rebooted within a looser LAT framework before O’Neil decided to reclaim the site fully last fall.

Former LA Times ad sales exec Amy Berkholtz came along with O’Neil at that time and handles marketing, sponsorship and advertising for Gold Derby. “She’s done remarkable things,” raves O’Neil, “and we’re making shall we say some good change.”

When asked how many other websites are doing the Emmy watching properly, O’Neil does not hesitate with his answer – zero. “We live in a world of shameless Oscar snobbery,” O’Neil observes. “There are some very good awards bloggers, but they are really just chasing the Academy Awards. We let users track awards odds, let them compete against those odds and gain points like a fantasy sports league.”

“The heart and soul of what Gold Derby does is we are the “Rotten Tomatoes” of awards prognostication. We do with awards critics what they do with film critics, across the board – for Emmys, Oscars, Tonys, Grammys, you name it.”

As far as this year’s September 23 show is concerned, O’Neil and his experts
are of the mind that host Jimmy Kimmel may finally wrest away the Best Variety Show Emmy from Jon Stewart, whose Daily Show has won the award nine straight years despite a very poor episode selection for 2011. If Jimmy Kimmel Live! win, JK will be part of a select group of performers (Jeff Probst, Tom Selleck) who won while hosting that year’s Emmys.

Seguing to next February’s Oscars telecast, O’Neil has a feeling producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron may wind up selecting Queen Latifah to host. “She’s an Oscar nominee, she’s got the cool factor and is a great performer.” Here at FishbowlLA, we’re still pulling for Nathan Lane.

[Photo of Greenfield at this weekend’s Stand Up for Cancer event at the Shrine Auditorium: Helga Esteb/]

Previously on FishbowlLA:
EXCLUSIVE: Tom O’Neil on Reclaiming

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