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Emmy Network Analysis: BBC America Has A Lot Riding On ‘Killing Eve’

Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer in BBC America's "Killing Eve"

Welcome to the 2019 Emmy Circuit series, where we analyze and predict all your favorite TV series and their chances with the Television Academy (at least at this time of publishing).  The series examines the shows and performances about their awards potential, most notably the Emmy Awards. Emmy nomination voting opens June 10 and closes on June 24.  The official Emmy nominations will be announced on Tuesday, July 16 while the ceremony airs on FOX Sunday, Sept. 22. All Emmy pieces run with the following schedule: Mondays (Dramas), Tuesdays (Network Spotlight), Wednesdays (Comedies), Thursdays (Network Spotlight), Fridays (Limited Series, Variety Series, Below-the Lines).


BBC America launched twenty-one years ago and has yet to find its footing in the pantheon of “primetime” television networks. Owned by BBC Studios and AMC, BBC America has been known mainly for their tremendous work in documentary filmmaking. In recent years, British based television shows have been making their way onto this channel in hopes of finding an American audience. Although still a “minimal” contributor to America’s viewing habits, BBC America’s history at the Emmys shows that quality tops quantity. Emmy-winning series, like “Orphan Black” and “Sherlock” have substantially helped to elevate the network. This year BBC America looks to capitalize on the popularity of “Killing Eve” and “Doctor Who” to garner more nominations at the 2019 Primetime Emmy Awards.


At last year’s Emmys, “Killing Eve” received two nominations- Lead Actress (Sandra Oh) and Writing in a Drama Series (Phoebe Waller-Bridge). This year, “Killing Eve” is looking to score even more nominations after a stellar season two. Just this April, the series killed it at the British Academy Television Awards, taking home the night’s top prize. This good fortune will only help elevate the show as a whole.

“Killing Eve” follows a psychopathic killer (Jodie Comer) and her prey (Oh) in a codependent and dysfunctional dance. Oh won awards for the Best Actress in a Drama Series at the Golden Globe and the Screen Actors Guild Awards. Oh has continually been the favorite of the duo at American award shows, as she has more name recognition than Comer. This name recognition is in large part due to her work on NBC’s “Grey’s Anatomy.” Her role as Dr. Christina Yang scored her five Emmy nominations, with no wins. Although Oh is a sure favorite, “Killing Eve” has two women at its center. Look for Comer to make her move.


Jodie Whittaker in “Doctor Who”

Time travel is possible in BBC America’s “Doctor Who.” This series, which originally ran from 1963 to 1989, follows the extraterrestrial being Time Lord, known as the Doctor, as he (or now she) explores the universe. The series was reincarnated in 2005, and has since run eleven more seasons. Including the original run, there have been thirteen different doctors that have led the audience on adventures spanning vast time and space. Amazingly, this last season saw the first female incarnation. “Doctor Who” has never found a place at the Emmys (the series has not received a single nomination), but perhaps the gender shake up will catch the Academy’s eye. Ms. Jodie Whittaker (Thirteenth Doctor) is certainly hoping so!


Idris Elba in “Luther”

The Idris Elba led drama “Luther” has been triumphant at previous Emmys. At the series’ center is a London detective who obsessively chases down murderers. His investigative genius is almost always at tug-of-war with his fiery temperament, much to the detriment of his personal and professional life. Competing as a miniseries since 2011, “Luther” has been nominated for writing, directing and cinematography during the course of its run. The show has received three nominations for Outstanding Television Miniseries or Movie, and Elba has received a four nomination for Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Movie. The show has yet to walk away with a win, but these nominations can only help the series gain traction.

Season five of “Luther” may be getting fans excited about this year’s Emmy nominations. Elba and series veteran Ruth Wilson delivered two chilling performances. But fans will have to wait until next year, as this British series missed the American eligibility deadline.


Benedict Cumberbach and Martin Freeman in “Sherlock”

Under the BBC umbrella, two other hit shows have received Primetime Emmy nominations. While Robert Downey Jr. was bringing Sherlock Holmes to life on the big screen, Benedict Cumberbatch was putting his own spin on the character on the small screen. “Sherlock” ran for four seasons with thirteen episodes/movies. The series ultimately helped ennoble the career of ever so talented Cumberbatch, exposing him to an American audience. Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman (his Dr. Watson) won acting awards at the 2014 Emmys. The series took home the top honor (Outstanding Television Movie) in 2015.

Tatiana Maslany starred as (at least) five main cloned characters on “Orphan Black,” which was a trippy science fiction series rooted in identity theft. The series ran from 2013 to 2017, with Maslany managing to score nominations for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series in 2015, 2016 and 2018. Maslany deservedly won the award in 2016. “Orphan Black” was not able to gain traction in any other category, but managed to capitalize on Maslany’s popularity by increasing viewership.


With limited primetime serials, BBC America knows that if their network is looking to score any nominations at this year’s Primetime Emmy Awards, they will come from “Killing Eve.” The series is pulsating with female empowerment and in top form, with no signs of the sophomore slump. Phoebe Waller-Bridge, an English comedian, created the series and was show runner during “Killing Eve’s” first season.

Looking to keep women creatively and thematically at the forefront of this thriller, Waller-Brdge passed the torch to Emerald Fennell, who took over as show runner in the second season. It was recently announced that Suzanne Heathcote will assume the role for season three. This is a novel and clever idea to keep a show fresh with an ever changing and distinctly female voice. Other networks may have multiple series in the running for Emmy nominations, but BBC America should feel confident in their one shining star.

What do you think of BBC American’s chances at the Emmys? Share with us in the comments below.



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Written by Jessica White

Jessica White studied film and theater at California State University, Sacramento graduating in 2009 with a B.A.. Upon graduation, she shifted her focus towards healthcare and became a dentist, graduating from the Oregon Health and Science University in 2017. She is actively serving in the United States Navy overseas, but continues to feed her passion for the visual arts, her first love.


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