The Primetime Emmys are sticking with continuity for its production team: Done+Dusted and Hudlin Entertainment will return to produce this year’s Primetime Emmys together, Variety has learned exclusively.
The news is set to be announced Friday by NBC and the Television Academy, which jointly confirmed that D+D and Hudlin would reconnect for another go-round. The 74th Emmy Awards take place Sept. 12 on NBC.
This marks the third consecutive year for the Done+Dusted and Reggie Hudlin collab. And it marks the fifth consecutive year for D+D, which had already been producing the Emmys telecast for two years when it was paired with Hudlin in 2020 to handle the unconventional, no-audience COVID-impacted Emmys. At the time, Hudlin made history as the first Black executive producer of the Primetime Emmys.
In their first two years at the helm, D+D and Hudlin have managed hold ratings steady in a time when most awards shows numbers are collapsing — and have also earned high marks for two unique shows that have reinvented the show’s look and feel (partly out of necessity due to the pandemic).
What’s more unique is the stability of the production team despite the fact that the Primetime Emmys are telecast on a broadcast wheel. The 2020 show, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel and produced in a mostly empty Staples Center, aired on ABC, while the 2021 show, hosted by Cedric the Entertainer from a tent on the L.A. Live Events Deck, ran on CBS.
“For the last few years we’ve been hoping to welcome everyone who makes TV magic back live in the room at the Emmys,” said Done+Dusted president Ian Stewart in a statement. “Thankfully, this year it looks like we can. Let’s celebrate the best of television together. It’s party time again!”
Added Hudlin, “I’m very excited to be returning to the Emmys with Done+Dusted. Television is now in its new Golden Age and celebrating its brilliance in all genres is so much fun to do.”
Ian Stewart, Reginald Hudlin, Byron Phillips and Jane Mun will executive produce the live three-hour telecast that will air globqlly, beginning at 8 p.m. ET and 5 p.m. PT. There’s no word of a host yet, which will be announced at a later time. D+D’s Hamish Hamilton is also back to direct the Emmys for the fifth year in a row.
And although some previous press announcements from the TV Academy suggested that the Emmys would return to the Microsoft Theatre in downtown Los Angeles’ L.A. Live, nothing has been determined yet, and a venue will also be announced later.
Jen Neal, exec VP of live events for NBCUniversal Television and Streaming, said, “With quality TV in abundance more than ever before, the Emmys have become the de facto awards where everyone feels they own a stake and love rooting for their favorite shows. NBC is extremely proud to host the return of the 74th Emmy Awards and present a three-hour telecast that will bring audiences a taste of why this truly is an unprecedented time – from what we watch, where we watch and how we watch – in television history.”
Last year’s Emmy ratings averaged 7.4 million viewers — up 16% from 2020.
“I’m grateful for awards shows, period, that we got that ratings bump,” Hudlin said at the time. “For the benefit of all awards shows. We love them, and we want to see them evolve and prosper. A lot of our work has been, how do we continue to reinvent this genre and make it relevant to today’s audience? We’re just happy to see that as we try things, it seems to be working.”
A week prior to the telecast, the 2022 Creative Arts Emmy Awards will take place over two consecutive nights on Saturday, Sept. 3 and Sunday, Sept. 4. An edited presentation will be aired Saturday, Sept. 10 at 8 p.m. ET on FXX.
Meanwhile, here’s a first look at this year’s Emmy key art:
The mission statement of DC Comics imprint Milestone Comics has always been centered around bringing diversity to the world of comics and representation for people who have been traditionally marginalized in the genre. Although the company was first founded in the ’90s, Milestone is staying true to its mission with the one-shot anthology Milestones In History, which tells the stories of several affluent people of color throughout history. Included in the eighty-page special are stories of social activist Katherine Dunham (written by The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air co-star Karyn Parsons), the legendary musical genius Prince, and the French author Alexandre Dumas, who was responsible for literary classics such as The Three Musketeers and The Count of Monte Cristo.
Award-winning author and teacher Tananarive Due tells the story of Dumas and his family in the volume, enlisting the artistic talents of Jamal Igle (Green Lantern, Superman, Teen Titans) to illustrate the tale. Due took time to answer a few questions from CBR about how she was personally inspired by the life of Dumas and why it is important to tell his incredible story.
CBR: Why was it important for you personally to tell the story of Alexandre Dumas in Milestones In History?
Tananarive Due: When Reginald Hudlin reached out to me to invite me to work on this project, I said I would love to do it, but to be honest, I originally assumed that I would write a story about a Black woman. Then he mentioned Alexandre Dumas, and it was like being struck by lightning.
My fascination with Alexandre Dumas goes back to childhood for me. My late mother, a civil rights activist named Patricia Stephens Due, got us Golden Legacy history comics when my sisters and I were children, and one of them was about the Dumas Family. Oddly enough, I didn’t remember reading anything about his courageous father or his son until I started working on this project. I only remembered my shock at learning that the author of The Three Musketeers was Black! (His grandmother was enslaved.)
It felt like this was a huge secret since no one had ever mentioned it to me before. When you’re attending public schools that only seem to mention Black people when they’re talking about slavery and everything else is about the accomplishments of people who do not look like you — trust me, that experience stayed with me. It reminded me of learning that a Black person, Crispus Attucks, was the first person who died in the American Revolution.
Knowing more about Alexandre Dumas helped me navigate other kinds of constant erasure to insert myself in places I otherwise might have assumed I did not belong. It made me wonder where else Blackness had been overlooked or ignored, which broadened my view of my own future possibilities. So I was already intrigued… but then Hudlin told me how Dumas’ father had been a general under Napoleon, and I was hooked. That was it for me.
Years ago, I wrote a book series about African immortals that started with a novel called My Soul to Keep, and General Dumas reminded me of one of the characters in my book. Although this writing opportunity came close to the holidays, and I was crushed with other work, I fell into the research on General Dumas and his son (and grandson, who was a playwright), reading two thick biographies and hanging on to every word. I learned so much!
Again, knowing this history inserts Blackness where it has been erased, often intentionally, which happened even during General Dumas’s lifetime… This kind of erasure is exactly what helped inspire me to write my African Immortals series in the first place, the ability to create eyewitnesses in history who can say, “Yes, I was there!” That’s so important for everyone to know, but especially people who are marginalized. No one should feel invisible in history or in the present.
How has the life of Alexandre Dumas inspired your career as a writer?
Knowing that there had been forebears like Alexandre Dumas from a young age helped me build the confidence to pursue my dreams to write even though I didn’t know any Black writers when I was growing up. Luckily, though, I did have parents who exposed me to Black history, including through comics! I still had to walk around a long path to find my true voice as a writer. By college, I unconsciously had begun to write white characters and was shying away from genre because of my exposure to “canon.” I had fantastic instructors, but I could hear whispers from society around me: “This isn’t for you. There is no place for you.”
Alexandre Dumas’ place as one of the great writers in history was always in the back of my mind, planted when I was young. That seed grew, giving me unconscious strength and perseverance. I still get a kick out of imagining that people who would not have considered Alexandre Dumas fully equal (or even fully human) in the 1930s were adapting films from his works. He literally might have been barred from his own set on sight in the 1930s if he had lived to see that day. Movie theaters screening his films might not have sold him a ticket on the basis of his appearance. It makes no sense! Of course, discrimination makes no sense. The life of the artist demands so much of us, especially during our formative years, that we need iconic figures like Dumas to help us steer our way.
As mentioned in the story you wrote for Milestones In History, Dumas used his father as the inspiration behind many of his most well-known works. Is there anyone in your life who influences your work in such a way?
My true-life heroes have always been my parents. My mother died in 2012, but my father, John Due, is 87 and still considers himself a “Freedom Lawyer” after being a civil rights lawyer in the 1960s and a lifetime of working for human rights. Not only did they make sure my sisters and I learned our self-worth and our history — including figures like Dumas — but they themselves were living monuments when we were kids. In college, I could find my parents’ names in my history books. They’re both in the Florida Civil Rights Hall of Fame.
Why do you feel that it is so important to tell the stories of people like Alexandre Dumas?
No one should be erased from history. Human contribution has such a wonderful breadth, and all of us deserve to have our stories told. That’s why I encourage people to talk to their grandparents or their parents and record their stories too.
What other historical figures would you like to write about?
Ethiopia had an empress named Taitu (Taytu) [whom] I wrote about in passing in my African Immortals series. She was married to Emperor Menelik II, and she was a remarkable figure as a strategist and warrior. She helped steer Ethiopia to a historic victory repelling an Italian invasion in the 1890s. Her story would be glorious in a comic or graphic novel. There are so many undervalued and under-taught Black and marginalized figures from world history and American history that it’s hard to narrow down a list.
“The Dumas Family” is written by Tananarive Due and illustrated by Jamal Igle. The story appears in the anthology one-shot Milestones In History, on sale June 14 from DC Comics.
Last year, the world of Milestone Media made its long-awaited return to comic shelves. Static, Icon, Rocket and Hardware live again in a shared universe of their own, living the kinds of stories they were created to tell. In 2022, Milestone is only getting bigger. Make way for Earth-M.
The “Earth-M” line is a collection of new concepts and characters created by original Milestone cofounder Denys Cowan and current Milestone relaunch shepherd Reginald Hudlin, both inspired by and nestled within the Milestone universe. In time, these new heroes may meet their Milestone forebears, but now is the time for Milestone to do what it was always meant to through Earth-M: broaden perspectives on the superhero genre as a whole with ideas you’ve never seen before.
One of the first titles in the Earth-M line will be the six-issue limited series Duo, the story of two lovers, both alike in scientific accomplishment, merged into one body through a nanotechnology experiment. While this has granted them extraordinary powers, it has also erased the boundaries between them. Can a love survive when all things must be shared and independence lost? We spoke with author Greg Pak (Action Comics, Batman/Superman), penciler Khoi Pham (Teen Titans) and inker Scott Hanna (too many credits to list) to learn everything we can about this exciting new title.
Duo is the story of doctors Kelly Vu and David Kim, who are fused into one being by nanotechnology overnight. What was Kelly and David’s relationship like before their fusion? Who were they as individuals before they became one person?
Greg Pak: I think the fun part of this story is that it’s asking the question of “What if you were privy to every single thought, feeling and impulse of the person you most love in the world?”
We talk about people finishing each other’s sentences when they really know each other, and that’s exactly what Dr. Kelly Vu and Dr. David Kim do in some of the opening pages of this. They work together, they live together, they love together. They are in that fairly early stage of a relationship where everything makes sense with the other person perfectly. But what happens when you literally can’t escape the other person? When the other person is literally in your mind? That’s what hooked me into the project when Reggie first talked to me about it and pitched it to me.
So, who are they? They are brilliant scientists, they are engaged, and they have slightly different impulses. As you go along in the book, you realize Kelly is a bigger risk-taker and David’s a little more cautious, in life and in everything else. But they complement each other, and they have these huge ambitions together. The challenge is to see what happens when people who seem so similar are suddenly, entirely connected, and whether they actually are so similar after all. And whether being similar is even the objective!
Scott Hanna: I’ve been happily married for a long time, but my wife and I are basically polar opposites in a lot of ways. But that helps. We work well together because we’re not the same. And like any relationship, you’re going to have arguments, you’re going to have fights. So, this way of dealing with relationships is really cool. How that really functions, and dysfunctions as well.
Khoi Pham: Yeah, and on the visual side of things, Greg and I were talking about this way, way at the beginning, which was like a hundred years ago at this point.
GP: Yeah, literally five years ago!
KP: So, casting these characters, right? It was a Vietnamese-American and a Korean-American, but it was a really great opportunity for reinventing in the image what we would like. One of the things I really wanted to do, and Greg was completely on board with it, was depicting a dark-skinned Asian. That’s not very frequent (in comics). Unfortunately, it’s kind of an issue in Asian culture. So, we made Kelly darker.
These were the intentions we brought to it, and I’m glad we were able to not just have Asian-Americans, but darker-skinned Asian-Americans. It’s really fun just taking Greg’s ideas and how he fleshes these characters out and visually represent them. Subtle stuff. Dave’s wearing a baseball tee in Giants colors, so he’s like the Stats Guy, right? And Kelly’s got a Wonder Woman t-shirt. So, little hints and visual cues that way. She really takes the superhero approach, like, “Let’s go knock some heads around!” And Dave’s more, “Let’s plan it out!
Speaking of that representation, a big part of the reason Milestone Media was founded, and a mission the Earth-M comics will continue, was to present heroes representing more marginalized communities, as created and told by writers and artists from those backgrounds themselves. How does Duo attempt to represent the Asian-American experience?
GP: No single project can represent the experiences of a whole community, so I’m not going to make any sweeping statements like that. But I’m thrilled about the project because so many Asian-Americans live in Pan-Asian families, where you have people of multiple backgrounds in the same family. And here, we’ve got a Korean-American man and a Vietnamese-American woman. Those kinds of relationships are everywhere, but they’re seldom represented, you know? And so, there’s something nice about normalizing that kind of experience.
There’s also a thing where sometimes by having one Asian character in a story, that one Asian bears all this weight of representing Asian-America. It’s impossible! So, having this be just one more story among many, many Asian and Asian-American stories that are out there, with more coming out every day, it’s a thrill to have another angle. To be another project with another window to another experience. I like that it shows some older characters and a couple. It’s a mature love story. And I think that kind of thing is still sort of rare.
Especially in superhero comics.
GP: Yeah! So that feels special. A chance to dig into that kind of stuff. It is ridiculous, but having an Asian-American romantic lead is still rare in American media. I’ve been doing this in one form or another for thirty years now. Making films, writing comics. Specifically doing Asian-American storytelling. And there’s never been a better time than now, in terms of the diversity and breadth of Asian-American storytelling that’s getting funded and distributed.
One of the nice things about having so many things coming out is that you can have some projects that are explicitly about Asian-American history, or family dynamics. And you can also have projects which aren’t, on the surface, directly about that at all. The characters aren’t necessarily struggling with immigrant experiences, or family trauma, or whatever typical Asian-American story you often see, like second-generation kids not doing what their first-generation parents want them to do. I love all those stories. I think those stories are great. But I think there’s also room for totally loopy sci-fi stuff with Asian-American characters in it.
KP: That’s what I love about this story and stories that are told this way in terms of representation through just being in it, but not talking about it in the story. It just happens to be Asian-Americans. I think it’s important to put representation out there and just see it, see it, see it. They’re just in a sci-fi superhero book. The costume was deliberately a classic superhero costume. Yeah, they’re Asian-Americans, but this is a science fiction superhero story, and this is just how they happen to look. But we’re not going to talk about it, it’s just what it is.
GP: There are subtleties to the whole story that may resonate with Asian-American readers in a specific way. I think there’s something to these second or third generation characters who are much more open about their feelings than their immigrant parents or grandparents might be. That’s where our characters start off. They’re very honest and open and intimate with each other. But then we kind of challenge that. Like, how open are you really? To me, that resonates, coming from Korean and German-English stock. My grandparents were very reticent. They hardly ever spoke about their emotional states, and I’ll ramble on about all my feelings at the drop of a hat, because it’s a different world. But at the same time, there’s a part of me that’s very private. So, is that an Asian-American story? It might be. It’s up to readers to get what they want out of it.
Nanotechnology is also a big part of this story. There’s a visual challenge with nanotech sci-fi stories where it ends up falling into this category of “gray goo.” How do you keep nanotech interesting visually in a comic book?
GP: Instead of gray goo, we went with gold mist. (laughter)
And that makes all the difference.
SH: It’s more sparkly, yeah.
GP: There’s a big swirling tank of gold mist and it’s kind of romantic and beautiful. Chris Sotomayor is the colorist.
KP: I was going to say, huge credit to him on that.
You’re talking about the romantic symbology of the gold mist, which makes me wonder how much is the nanotechnology meant to be a narrative device, and how much is this meant to be a hard sci-fi story?
GP: Well, everything is a narrative device, in every story. Literally every single choice you make in a story is a narrative device. The premise is that you’ve got this character—and I don’t know how much we should spill—but they become ridiculously powerful. So, you’re not only finding yourself with your lover’s mind as sort of a permanent part of your own mind, you’re not only experiencing everything your partner’s experiencing, but you’re in this body that is virtually impervious to damage. You’ve got this ridiculous amount of power, and the nanotechnology sets that up.
This technology doesn’t exist. It is science fiction, but there are internal rules to it all and they connect all the threads here. David and Kelly are scientists who want to use this nanotechnology to cure diseases and ease human suffering. So, this is a fictional narrative device that also makes sense given the fictional science we’re dealing with here, but it serves this emotional story of these people who want to do good. They’re do-gooders. But what happens when you have so much power is that you can throw things out of balance. That’s one of these classic superhero themes, and this whole nanotech concept lets us dig at that from interesting places. It’s also significant because it’s created by humans. It’s something they have gone out and gotten. So, it’s not like—
SH: Flash getting hit by a lightning bolt.
GP: Exactly. They went out and got this. So, there’s an increased sense of personal responsibility to this whole thing that I think is interesting.
KP: With the nanos, they created it. I always sort of imagined it as being like a baby. It has a personality, and looking back, there’s this one scene where David and Kelly are being affectionate and the nanos create, like, heart shapes. Its shape and texture changes based on how it feels about its creators. It’s very subtle.
GP: And they nurture it, too. You have these kind of flashback scenes where they treat it like their baby. They’re staying up all night with it.
SH: One of the cool things too, is that at the very beginning, it doesn’t do what they want it to do. The intent is not what the result is. That’s also like a child—you can’t control it. Once it’s there, it’s got a life of its own.
So, this is a story about parenthood, as well as partnership.
GP: (Laughs) That’s sort of more of a buried theme, but… yeah.
Duo #1 is written by Greg Pak and drawn by Khoi Pham and Scott Hanna. Cover art is by Dike Ruan, with a variant cover by Denys Cowan and a 1:25 variant cover by Nimit Malavia. Look for it at comic shops and digital retailers on May 17, 2022