"I'm in a very good mood," says uber-producer Mark Burnett, who was awoken hours earlier to a flurry of calls and emails congratulating him on his combined five Emmy nominations, including reality and reality-competition nominations for ABC's Shark Tankand NBC's The Voice.
"If only you knew the amount of people who said to us, 'You're crazy making another music competition show. America's got enough of them and no one is going to watch another one with spinning chairs,' " he recalls of the general skepticism surrounding The Voice before its launch, adding: "But my instincts with NBC were that this would work, and I think that it did because this show plays on an idea of making ordinary people feel powerful."
As he sees it, The Voice's recognition marks a new era: "For the Academy to have made the only nominee for a music competition show be The Voice was a big statement that says, 'You guys are fresh, you guys are relevant, and it's good programming,'" explains Burnett, a former Emmys producer who is no stranger to accolades.
That longer-running rival American Idol, recently rocked by the departure of A-list judges Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler, was not among the reality competition nominees did not surprise him: "I think things move along," he says, noting that his own Survivor, which didn't receive a best series nomination, falls into the same category. "Idol has had lots of nominations, but I feel like there's been a shift. Today is a new era."
Though he's yet to see and celebrate with his A-list cast, which includes Cee-Lo Green, Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, Christina Aguilera and host Carson Daly, he's been in contact with all of them over email. "We're in such heavy productions that it's fun to take a minute and enjoy it," he adds of a series that will add a second installment this fall.
Whether those bold-faced coaches will return for both the fall and spring editions will come down to scheduling.
"These are current touring artists, so it's a matter of balancing schedules," he says, remaining strategically coy as he notes that he wouldn't be surprised to see coaches depart for a period of time and then return to the show over the next several years. "They're all in demand and we're just balancing it all."