Awards HQ June 6: Elle Fanning Double Push; Banff Returns; Trent Crimm
AWARDS CIRCUIT COLUMN: What’s It Like For Your Star to Rise During a Pandemic? Sam Jay Was Too Busy Working on Six Projects to Find Out
As we do return to events, a common refrain seems to be the question of what we’ve all been up to the past two years. Some, more productive than others. I’m particularly fascinated by the folks who saw their star rise during the pandemic and how they handled that success during such unusual times.
For this week’s column, I talked to “Pause” and “Bust Down” star Sam Jay:
How did you spend your pandemic? Here’s how Sam Jay got through these past two years: Her Netflix special “Sam Jay: 3 in the Morning” debuted in July 2020. While continuing to work as a writer on “Saturday Night Live,” she also wrote on HBO Max’s “That Damn Michael Che,” served as a consulting producer on NBC’s “Kenan,” and then launched her own talk show, HBO’s “Pause With Sam Jay.”
Still not enough? In March, Peacock debuted the comedy series “Bust Down,” which Jay co-created and stars in alongside Chris Redd, Langston Kerman and Jak Knight. With so many gigs all at once, at this year’s WGA Awards, Jay pulled off a triple nomination in the comedy/variety sketch series category for her work on “SNL,” “Michael Che” and “Pause.”
But here’s the thing: This all happened mostly during an age of lockdowns, social distancing, quarantines and masks. So it’s only now that Jay is finally starting to experience the effects of this success.
“Weirdly, when the [Netflix] special came out, we were in the pandemic,” she says. “So it wasn’t like one of those things where I got to go outside, and people were like, ‘Oh, I saw your special!’ I made it in this bubble where I didn’t really know who saw it, or what it was actually doing in the world. I couldn’t tour immediately after to get a sense of whether more people were coming out to shows. Because there were no shows. So it took maybe a whole year before I would go out to the Cellar and be on stage, and notice that people would clap louder than they did before.”
Exclusive: Banff Boss Jenn Kuzmyk Previews This Year’s Return to the Rockies
Banff World Media Festival is back, and I can’t wait. It’s one of my favorite events of the entire year, perched in the Canadian Rockies at the glorious Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel, and something I missed the past two years as the world went remote.
Taking place June 12 to June 15, highlights for the 43rd annual event include the Rockie Awards Gala Ceremony (which we wrote about in the last AWARDS HQ) and keynote speakers Pearlena Igbokwe (Chairman at Universal Studio Group), Bela Bajaria (Head of Global TV for Netflix) and David Linde (CEO of Participant).
The fest will also include master ckaases on “The Umbrella Academy,” “Starstruck,” “Rutherford Falls,” “The Lake,” and “Among the Stars.”
“I have been trying to manifest this this moment for years now,” says Banff World Media Festival executive director Jenn Kuzmyk. “I couldn’t be more excited to be going back to an in-person event and to get to to have my first big international event. We’ve we’ve put a lot of work into this. This is what we do.”
Banff went virtual the last two years, which allowed it to reach more participants who couldn’t make it to Alberta. “We grew the festival, we had further reach and we certainly facilitated lots of business happening but it’s not the same thing,” Kuzmyk says. “In terms of the way that the festival runs, you’re going to see more branding, more presence of international media companies there in that way.”
And to make attendees feel safer, there will be more outdoor meetings and an outdoor delegate lounge. “I don’t know why we didn’t do that before,” she says, “with that insane view. There is no better delegate lounge in the whole world.”
The timing of Banff means that it takes place right before Emmy voting begins, and the festival has been positioning itself as a stop on the Emmy campaign trail for a while now. This year, as mentioned above, those top contenders include “Yellowjackets.”
“I think our plan has worked,” Kuzmyk says.
And then there’s the growing international footprint of media companies, and globalization of content. Non-English fare makes up a chunk of Rockie Awards nominees, “We are about content and so when we bring great directors, and great showrunners producers to the table, the rest of the industry pays attention,” Kuzmyk says.
This Week’s Poll: What Should the Emmys Do With Variety Talk?
Variety talk remains a tricky category, as many of the shows are so different from each other. Is it fair to pit “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” up against “The Late Late Show with James Corden”? So what say you? Take this week’s poll! Click on the box below.
Meanwhile, here are the results from last week’s poll. My dream of us finally moving to ten nominees in the key categories has traction. And if the volume of programming continues, maybe we’ll get there!
‘Dopesick,’ ‘Reservation Dogs’ Among First Round of Peabody Awards Winners
Hulu’s “Dopesick” was the first program honored as the Peabody Awards started announcing the winners of its 2022 awards on Monday morning. Other honorees on day one included FX’s “Reservation Dogs.”
The virtual announcements kicked off with Jon Stewart presenting the award for “Dopesick,” which was accepted by star Michael Keaton. “Tackling such an important issue as the opioid crisis in America was not only daunting but well worth it. We are so honored to receive this award from an institution like the Peabody Awards,” Keaton said. “To address the devastation that has been brought on by the Sackler family and big Pharma, and still honor the people in Appalachia, which isn this case is what we chose as the location, and still show enormous respect for these people, all this is really gratifying for me.”
As for “Reservation Dogs,” from FX Productions, the series was recognized this way: “‘Reservation Dogs’ follows the scrappy adventures of four indigenous youth—Elora, Bear, Cheese and Willie—as they drift through life in Oklahoma. Co-creators Taika Waititi and Sterlin Harjo, citizen of the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma, offer a long-overdue show that takes seriously the hopes, dreams, and electricity of its youthful native protagonists while tackling fatherless households, addiction, discrimination, and grief with aplomb. The series brims with surrealist imagination and deadpan humor that vividly captures a sense of defiant joy in the face of withering dislocation.”
The announcement of this year’s 30 winners will continue every morning through Thursday.
ON THE CIRCUIT: Dual ‘WeCrashed’ Events and More
Two of my colleagues spent some time recently with Jared Leto as he made the rounds promoting Apple TV+’s “WeCrashed.” Above, Jenelle Riley moderated a DGA panel with Leto and featuring “an amazing vegan spread (in honor of the Neumanns),” she notes.
Meanwhile, Jazz Tangcay writes:
Jared Leto engaged with an intimate audience on Friday June 3 at Ross House, high above the Hollywood Hills. Apple+ TV screened the finale of “WeCrashed” to a crowd of 75. During the Q&A, Leto talked about his transformation process and becoming WeWorked founder Adam Neumann. Leto asked the audience to guess how many pieces were needed. He revealed that prosthetics artist Kazu Hiro hadn’t just worked with him on the series, but had also mailed a fake nose piece to the set of last year’s “House of Gucci.” Leto joked, “He sent me a nose via FedEx.”
Other dispatches from the campaign trail last week:
More from Jazz Tangcay:
The line for Spago went around the block on Sunday June 4 for Disney+’s FYC “Wolfgang.”
Over 100 members of the Television Academy were eager to sit in on the panel discussion with the legendary chef Wolfgang Puck and director David Gelb.
During the panel discussion, Puck revealed while he owned an iPhone for texting, he was not a tech person and didn’t use email, nor did he use a computer. The legendary Puck joked he had said ‘yes’ to Gelb making a documentary because it would take him years to write his autobiography.
The discussion was followed by brunch, where academy members were treated to Puck’s most iconic dishes including the Smoked Salmon Pizza, Spicy Big Eye Tuna Tartare Cones, Chinois Chicken Salad and his famous Wiener Schnitzel.
Variety asked Puck about the inspiration behind his famous smoked salmon pizza (Joan Collins came in one night to order smoked salmon and brioche, but the restaurant had run out of the bread). On a whim, Puck replaced the bread with pizza dough and one of his signature dishes was born. “It was experimental and it worked,” he said. “That’s what happens when we run out of things in the kitchen.”
Netflix’s “Russian Doll” screened the first two episodes of season 2, followed by a panel moderated by Maya Rudolph and featuring co-creator, EP, director, writer, showrunner and star Natasha Lyonne (virtual), co-creator/EP Amy Poehler, stars Cholë Sevigny (virtual), Annie Murphy, Charlie Barnett, Carolyn Michelle Smith, Greta Lee, costume designer Jennifer Rogien and music supervisor Brienne Rose.
Amazon Prime Video hosted an Emmy FYC screening and panel event with the cast and creators of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” Panelists included creator Amy Sherman-Palladino, EP Daniel Palladino, and stars Rachel Brosnahan, Tony Shalhoub, Alex Borstein, Marin Hinkle, Michael Zegen, Kevin Pollak, Caroline Aaron and Stephanie Hsu, along with additional series creative leads. The event took place at The Wolford – Steiner Studios in Brooklyn, where the show is filmed.
The “Summer of ‘Ghosts’” kicked off June 1 with an activation at Alfred’s, featuring the show’s cast celebrating “Flower’s Flowers,” followed by an FYC at the El Rey with co-showrunners/EPs Joe Port and Joe Wiseman and cast Rose McIver, Brandon Scott Jones, Richie Moriarty, Danielle Pinnock, Asher Grodman, Roman Zaragoza, Sheila Carrasco, Rebecca Wisocky and Devan Chandler Long. Flowers for the FYC Event were designed by premiere florist Jeffrey Leatham.
And now, several panels from Disney’s FYC events at the El Capitan:
“Abbott Elementary”: Tyler James Williams, Janelle James, Lisa Ann Walter, Quinta Brunson, Sheryl Lee Ralph, William Stanford Davis.
“Live in Front of a Studio Audience”: Jimmy Kimmel, Norman Lear.
“What We Do in the Shadows”: Stars Kayvan Novak, Matt Berry, Mark Proksch and Kristen Schaal joined EPs Paul Simms and Stefani Robinson for a special Q&A session moderated by Anthony Atamanuik.
“Moon Knight” moderator Jenelle Riley writes:
Horror is a great place to start as several of the panelists participating in Disney Plus’ ‘Moon Knight’ Q&A on June 4 at the El Capitan Theater revealed they got their start in the genre. Star Oscar Isaac beamed in virtually to join co-star May Calamawy, director/executive producer Mohamed Diab, head writer/executive producer Jeremy Slater, production designer Stefania Cella and costume designer Meghan Kasperlik . When asked which of his multiple roles on the show is his favorite to play, Isaac didn’t hesitate. “Steven,” he said of the shy museum worker who doesn’t even realize he’s housing an Egyptian god. A reception at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel followed.
WATCH MY SHOW: ‘The Wonder Years’ Exec Producer Saladin K. Patterson Answers our Showrunner Survey
ABC’s reboot of “The Wonder Years” exists in the same universe as the original 1980s and 1990s coming-of-age sitcom, but creator and showrunner Saladin K. Patterson considers Kevin Arnold’s story, as told then, to be a parallel one to Dean Williams’ story, which is being told now.
Both versions of the show are set in 1968 and told from a young boy’s perspective, in addition to that boy’s adult self narrating with present-day perspective. In Patterson’s “Wonder Years,” Dean is played by actor Elisha “EJ” Williams in the 1968 storyline, and his modern perspective is narrated by Don Cheadle. I asked Patterson to fill out our Showrunner Seven.
Sum up your show’s pitch in one sentence. “A show about how a black, middle class family in the late 60’s made sure it was the Wonder Years for them too.”
What’s an alternate title for your show? “Couldn’t You Have Done this Show without Calling it The Wonder Years?”
What do we need to know before tuning in? This is a re-imagining and not a remake. It’s a family that co-exists in the same cinematic universe as the Arnolds, not a “black version” of the Arnolds.
Give us an equation for your show. (Blank plus blank minus blank times blank, etc.) ((What the producers wanted – What ABC wanted) + what new fans wanted + what old fans wanted) * 0 + what ABC finally just told us we had to do.
What’s the best thing someone said about your show? That it’s one of the few shows on TV that all members of their family enjoy together.
If you could work on any other series on TV, what would it be? “Island Hunters”
Finish this sentence: “If you like _______, you’ll love our show.” “If you like shows where the kids are not smarter than the adults, you’ll love our show.”
Ava DuVernay to Be Honored at This Year’s International Emmy Awards
Ava DuVernay will receive the 2022 International Emmy Founders Award, the International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences announced on Monday.
The director, writer and producer will receive the honor at the 50th International Emmy Awards Gala, on Monday, November 21, 2022 in New York City.
“Ava DuVernay is a force of nature and this is reflected in the remarkable scope and volume of her work. She makes significant films and television programs, she uses her platform to reshape our industry and continues to lead a career-long effort to bolster women and people of color in entertainment and ensure inclusivity,” said International Academy president/CEO Bruce L. Paisner. “We look forward to honoring her extraordinary talent and prolific decade of leadership at Array, with our Founders Award.”
Said DuVernay: “This honor from the International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences is unexpected and wildly appreciated. I thank the organization for recognizing my work and salute their efforts to ensure that storytellers of all backgrounds are amplified and celebrated.”
AWARDS CIRCUIT PODCAST: Jimmy Kimmel on His Uvalde Monologue, Swapping Seats With Jimmy Fallon and His Late Night Future
Jimmy Kimmel has sadly been here before. Many times, as a matter of fact. As he approaches his 20th anniversary in late night, the late night host has been at the helm of “Jimmy Kimmel Live” long enough to address several national tragedies over the year. In some ways, it only gets harder, particularly after another shooting massacre leaves 19 young children and two adults murdered in an elementary school.
“There is a certain amount of pessimism that infects you, when you’ve talked about this multiple times,” he tells Variety’s Awards Circuit podcast. “Because the first time you think, ‘what I’m saying seems to make sense. It’s pretty much what everyone else is thinking. Maybe this will get through to somebody. Maybe there’ll be a handful of Republican senators, Congresspeople who go hey, This is nuts. We can’t this can’t keep happening.’
“But then it doesn’t. And it’s somewhat shocking. And then it happens again. And then it happens again,” he says. “And it happens when you’re on break, and you’re not even on television. And at a certain point, you feel like, what am I screaming into the void here? People agree, and yet we’re still not getting anything done. In fact, we’re taking steps backwards in so many different areas, not just this one. But what are you gonna do, give up? And what are you going to talk about, the NBA Playoffs? You can’t. You have to talk about what is on everyone’s mind. And I have a hard time with it. It’s very difficult for me, it’s hard for me to get through it. But I don’t feel like I have any choice.”
On this edition of the Variety Awards Circuit podcast, we talk to Kimmel about how his voice has provided some conscience to a nation that’s in a really bad place right now. But we also talk about his return to the studio after double bouts of COVID-19, as well as his April Fool’s Day stunt with Jimmy Fallon, his upcoming trip to Brooklyn and, of course, producing a third edition of “Live in Front of a Studio Audience” with Norman Lear. Listen below!
Variety’s “Awards Circuit” podcast, produced by Michael Schneider, is your one-stop listen for lively conversations about the best in film and television. Each week “Awards Circuit” features interviews with top film and TV talent and creatives; discussions and debates about awards races and industry headlines; and much, much more. Subscribe via Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify or anywhere you download podcasts. New episodes post every Thursday and Friday.
Exclusive: ‘Trent Crimm’ to Moderate ‘Ted Lasso’ FYC Panel in London
“Trent Crimm, The Independent!” The fictional “Ted Lasso” journalist, played by James Lance, will be asking the questions at the Apple TV+ series’ FYC event this weekend.
Stars Jason Sudeikis, Brendan Hunt, Hannah Waddingham, Brett Goldstein, Juno Temple, Phil Dunster, Jeremy Swift, Nick Mohammed, Sarah Niles, Toheeb Jimoh, Cristo Fernández and Kola Bokinni will also be on hand – but as themselves. The event takes place June 12 and will be livestreamed for TV Academy members on this side of the pond.
Meanwhile, the famed “Ted Lasso” biscuits will be traveling throughout the first half of June, as noted below:
Westfield Century City: June 10, 11, 12 – 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Television Academy Eliminates ‘Hanging Episode Rule’ From Emmy Competition
The “hanging episode rule” has been hung out to dry. The Television Academy’s Board of Governors has eliminated the rule beginning with next year’s 2023 Emmy competition.
As currently in use through this year’s competition, the “hanging episode rule” currently allows a series (including limited or anthology) that premieres current-season episodes after the May 31 eligibility deadline, but prior to the start of nomination-round voting, to post those episodes on a platform available to Academy members by May 31 for episode eligibility in the current Emmy competition.
That will change beginning with the next eligibility year (June 1, 2022-May 31, 2023). At that point, episodes will have had to have been made available for a national audience, not just Emmy voters, by May 31 on a platform to be Emmy-eligible. “The Academy has made the change to standardize all submissions within the eligibility year,” the org said.
VARIETY EMMY EDITION: Melanie Lynskey Needed to Take on ‘Yellowjackets’ and ‘Candy’ for Very Different Reasons
Our Emily Longeretta has been overseeing our Emmy special editions this year, and they continue! Emily spoke to Melanie Lynskey for the Drama Series cover:
For two decades, Melanie Lynskey has graced our screens both large and small. Maybe her most famous role was as Rose in Chuck Lorre’s “Two and a Half Men” — she appeared in 63 episodes of the sitcom alongside Charlie Sheen and Jon Cryer. She later led HBO’s “Togetherness” and Hulu’s “Castle Rock.” In 2020, she portrayed Rosemary Thomson in nine episodes of FX’s “Mrs. America.” Suffice to say, it’s a bit of a surprise that she has a reputation of saying “no” due to her “terrible commitment-phobia.”
“It scares me to think of signing up for something that is hard for me to get out [of],” she says, recalling landing the role on the CBS series in 2003. “Two years in, I said, ‘I don’t want to be a regular anymore.’ And it was complicated. I was very lucky that Chuck Lorre allowed me to do that and worked very hard to get me out of my contract, and then kept bringing me back and allowed me to pay my mortgage for 10 years. Contractually, getting out of a show that’s doing well is tough. So ever since then, it’s been terrifying. I haven’t said yes to very many things.”
But she couldn’t say no to Showtime’s “Yellowjackets.”
After speaking with creators Ashley Lyle and Bart Nickerson, she was impressed by how much there was to explore with the character of Shauna, a woman who, 25 years after surviving a plane crash, is still reeling from what happened and hasn’t ever been able to fully move on.
Clayton Davis’ Emmy Predictions: Supporting Actor in a Drama Series – Jonathan Banks’ Mike Ehrmantraut Cannot Go Without Emmy Love Any Longer
We’ll dive into a different category each week to examine Clayton Davis‘ Emmy predictions. This week, he writes about supporting actor in a drama:
In the 2020 TV awards season, pundits and lovers of “Better Call Saul” had convinced us that our beloved Mike Ehrmantraut, played by the veteran Jonathan Banks, would finally receive an Emmy statuette. But, unfortunately, along with star Bob Odenkirk, they were shockingly snubbed from their respective lineups. So isn’t it time for Mike to get shown Emmy love going into the final season?
Alongside Banks, and coming off his nomination for “The Mandalorian” last year, Giancarlo Esposito’s work as Gus Fring on the hit AMC series has been beloved for years. Also, stepping behind the camera with his TV directorial debut (for the episode “Axe and Grind”) can help him along in the awards conversation and possibly walk away with a long-overdue Emmy award after five noms – perhaps in either category?
For his work as Cory Ellison on the Apple TV+ drama series “The Morning Show,” Billy Crudup won his first Emmy award in 2020 during the inaugural season. In the second, he has more screentime, even riding the line between lead actor and supporting actor, which could help him in the run-up to another nom (and maybe win?), if the love for the show hasn’t fizzled out.
Chris Sullivan captured his second nomination last year for his lovable Toby Damon in the NBC series “This Is Us,” one of the benefactors of an expanded lineup. With the series saying farewell, this is an opportunity for the TV Academy to go all-in on the actors that brought these characters to life.
Already an Emmy winner for outstanding guest actor in a comedy series for monk in 2004, John Turturro is sensational as Lumon Industries’ model employee Irving in “Severance,” another hit Apple TV+ series. A respected and beloved actor in the TV realm, shown by his other nomination for the HBO series the night of Turturro, stands a solid chance at landing in this competitive lineup.
Here is Clayton’s drama supporting actor frontrunners as of this week:
AWARDS CIRCUIT PODCAST: ‘The Righteous Gemstones’: Danny McBride Teases Season 3 — and Explains Why He Rewrote Season 2
Danny McBride and the “Righteous Gemstones” writers’ room began shaping Season 2 of the HBO megachurch comedy in the fall of 2019. They started shooting in March 2020, but after two days, the COVID-19 pandemic halted production. What started as a weeks-long delay soon turned into almost a year, and McBride — stuck in lockdown — couldn’t help himself but tweak what he had. And so he rewrote the entire season.
“I ended up pulling out whole storylines and characters that didn’t make it into the season,” McBride tells Variety‘s Awards Circuit podcast. “There are things I’ll probably push maybe into [the third] season, but with a little bit of perspective and a little bit of […] rest in between seasons, it just helped me sort of solidify what I really wanted to do with this season.”
McBride spoke to Variety’s Ethan Shanfeld about what to expect for Season 3 and much more. Meanwhile, the Awards Circuit Roundtable is back to discuss the state of Emmy FYC, and in particular, the drama race. Listen below!
MTV Movie and TV Awards Full Winners List: Zendaya, Tom Holland Win Top Honors
Ethan Shanfeld reports:
The MTV Movie & TV Awards were back on Sunday, with Vanessa Hudgens hosting the ceremony live on MTV. Tayshia Adams took over hosting duties for the second part of the show, honoring the best in unscripted television.
Zendaya and Tom Holland won big, with each scoring a performance nod for their respective roles in “Euphoria” and “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” which also won best show and best movie. Scarlett Johansson won best hero for her turn as Black Widow, while Daniel Radcliffe took home the best villain award for his performance in “The Lost City.”
Jack Black took home the Comedic Genius Award, while Jennifer Lopez accepted the Generation Award and delivered an emotional speech, in which she thanked her kids, the people who gave her joy and her manager Benny Medina, as well as “all the people who told me to my face or when I wasn’t in the room that I couldn’t do this.” Earlier in the ceremony, Lopez took home the award for best song for “On My Way (Marry Me).”
Meanwhile, here’s a glimpse at this year’s MTV Movie & TV Awards gift bag. Produced by Backstage Creations, this year’s gift bag highlights small businesses including vacation stays at the exclusive Raiwasa Resort Fiji; beauty from female-owned HempHera and Nectar du Monde; K-Beauty from Neogen Dermalogy; mother/daughter-owned Atelier Anica; female-owned Jemma Russo; small business Island Slipper; female-owned NodPod eye masks and more, all packaged in a duffel bag from female-led Lug.
Tuesday, June 7, 7 p.m. PT: FX’s “Pistol” FYC event, at the Disney FYC Fest at the El Capitan Theatre. (Hollywood)
Wednesday, June 8, 7:30 p.m. ET: Showtime’s “The Man Who Fell to Earth” FYC event, at the Roxy Cinema, 2 6th Ave. (New York)
Wednesday, June 8, 5 p.m. PT: TLC’s “90 Day Fiancé” FYC event. (Virtual)
Wednesday, June 8, 7 p.m. PT: Disney+’s “Sketchbook” FYC event, at Walt Disney Animation Studios (Burbank)
Thursday, June 9, 5 p.m. PT: Comedy Central’s “Awkwafina is Nora from Queens” FYC event. (Virtual)
Thursday, June 9, 7 p.m. PT: Variety’s A Night in the Writers Room, at the NeueHouse Hollywood. Panels:
Comedy Roundtable Jenny Bicks, Welcome to Flatch Quinta Brunson, Abbott Elementary Dave Burd, Dave Gloria Calderón Kellett, With Love Chris Miller, The Afterparty Tracy Oliver, Harlem Saladin K. Patterson, The Wonder Years Joe Port, Ghosts Issa Rae, Insecure Meredith Scardino, Girls5eva Hayden Schlossberg, Cobra Kai
Drama Roundtable Max Borenstein, Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty Dan Erickson, Severance Peter Gould, Better Call Saul Jason Katims, As We See It Jenny Lumet, The Man Who Fell to Earth Chris Mundy, Ozark Rasheed Newson, Bel-Air Clyde Phillips, Dexter
Limited Series Roundtable Maggie Cohn, The Staircase Drew Crevello, WeCrashed Danny Strong, Dopesick Molly Smith Metzler, Maid Nikki Toscano, The Offer Patrick MacManus, Dr. Death Craig Pearce, Pistol Robbie Pickering, Gaslit
Thursday, June 9, 7 p.m. PT: ABC’s “Women of the Movement” FYC event, at the Disney FYC Fest at the El Capitan Theatre. (Hollywood)
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