The 2017 Emmy Award nominations are out, and HBO is at the front of the pack (yet again) but not thanks to usual heavy hitter "Game of Thrones." This year it's all about "Westworld" and "Big Little Lies." Meanwhile there are plenty of battling co-stars in different categories, which is pretty on brand for FX's "Feud." Both Susan Sarandon and Jessica Lange received a nomination for lead actress in a limited series or movie. And Sterling K. Brown and Milo Ventimiglia are competing against each other for lead actor in a drama series for "This Is Us."


'This Is Us' creator on 11 'amazing' nominations for the kind of show not usually in the Emmy conversation

 (Boston Globe / Getty Images)
(Boston Globe / Getty Images)

Dan Fogelman, creator of this season's breakout drama "This Is Us," responded with a mix of joy, exhilaration, surprise and gratitude Thursday to the NBC series' 11 Emmy nominations, including best drama.

You had to have seen this plot twist coming?

I didn’t know it was going to happen! I’ve never done this before. I don’t understand how any of this works. Everyone who works on this show is so normal and kind of regular, from the actors to the writers. This is all a little beyond us. Last night, we were like, this is tomorrow morning, right? What happens? A couple of the writers and some friends that run a production company were following it more online and were telling me what to expect a little bit, or what people were prognosticating. But I really had no idea.

Were you already up? Are you guys shooting today?

Yeah, we’re shooting today. I’ve been up since 5 writing the next episode of the show for Season 2. I actually almost missed it because I was writing and I kind of blanked on the time. My wife was getting ready for work in the bathroom and putting on makeup. I was like, I think they’re about to do it. But we couldn’t figure out how to get the technology to work.

Neither could we, don’t worry.

It was all really confusing. It was basically the least glamorous way of getting Emmy nominations that you could ever imagine.

Is the cast text chain at full throttle right now?

That’s been going off this morning. I texted and emailed all the people who got nominations and those that didn’t. It’s a big family here. Everyone is just so happy for everybody. And the show getting nominated is so amazing.

Will there be a celebration of some sort on set?

There probably should be. I haven't even thought about it. We’re on location today. I have to figure out what I’m supposed to do. I know this sounds cheesy and lame, but I’m not more proud of anyone this morning than I was 24 hours ago. If we were allowed to, we would do this show for free if nobody was watching it. We just love working on it. This is just silly and fun and exciting.

And what does it say about this show and how people are responding to it, particularly in this climate that we’re in?

I think it speaks a lot to our actors who are taking what’s essentially a dramedy and getting it put into conversation [with] serious other shows. They add a weight and gravitas to every one of their performances, even when they're being funny or sweet or sentimental. I think that’s why it's in the conversation. For me, this is the kind of stuff – this show is what I like to do. It’s kind of a populist dramedy, for lack of a better way of phrasing it. Those types of shows aren’t usually in the conversation with the heavier, more serious fare. So just to be seeing the name of our show amidst all these other shows that are darker and weighter and fancier, it’s really exciting for us. We set out to do something that was about people and that everybody can access, but also try to do something that was high quality. To be in the conversation is very rewarding for us.

Who is the most likely to be drunk first on the big night?

Definitely me. This is all coming new to them, except for Sterling. None of us have been here before -- that’s for our crew and cast. I find that our cast, when we started to go to these things, are remarkably centered and elegant and I’m like the drunk train wreck in the corner, just anxious about: What if we happen to win something and I have to go up there and say something? It’s literally the most terrifying thing I can think of. At the Golden Globes, which was really my first time putting on a tuxedo and going to these things, by the time they announced our category, I was so drunk. It would have been a disaster if we had won. I was so nervous and anxious, I don’t know what would have happened.

All the new entrants this year ... 

It’s nice because we’re a new show. I’m sure when we’re an older show, I may feel differently. There’s so much content out there right now; the ones where you feel like you have to get to right away are often the new ones. There’s no doubt that, like, "The Americans" is crushing it. But it’s hard. There’s a lot to watch, too much. And I can understand that frustration for shows that are deep into their runs and don’t get the same recognition. 

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