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The Next TV Experiment: 'The 72nd Primetime Emmy Awards'
September 18, 2020  | By Mike Hughes
 


Are you wondering what the Emmys telecast will be like Sunday (on ABC, beginning at 8 p.m. ET)?

So are Reginald Hudlin and Ian Stewart. And they're the producers.

"Things are going to go wrong," Stewart said. "It's never been done before."

Emmy ceremonies have been done; this is the 72nd one, most of them on national TV. But the others had most of the nominees in one place, ready to step onstage and gush.

This year? "We are going to have 130 cameras all over the world," Hudlin said. "New York, Fayetteville, Connecticut, London, Toronto, Tel Aviv, Berlin..."

It adds up to about 20 cities in 10 countries. Each will be hooked up, Hudlin said, in case that nominee happens to win. And each transmission will go to the Staples Center – a basketball and concert palace in Los Angeles – because it's "the only facility that had the resources to handle all of that signal going back and forth."

That's not to say it will be handled perfectly, Hudlin said. On the way to this virtual news conference with reporters Wednesday, he said, "I was on a phone call with one person. The call dropped twice."

So calls will be dropped, things will go wrong, the show may or may not end on time. "It could come way under; it could go way over," Stewart said.

In the middle of all this will be host Jimmy Kimmel (top). He "loves chaos in live TV," Stewart said. "I think he's actually hoping things do go wrong."

He'll have help from lots of strong personalities, including Anthony Anderson, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Patrick Stewart, Oprah Winfrey, Jason Sudeikis, RuPaul, Ilana Glazer, Abbi Jacobson, and – honest -- an alpaca named Isabel.

And music? Well, D-Nice will be at a DJ booth, and the "In Memoriam" segment, Hudlin said, will have "an extraordinary musical number by H.E.R., who is an amazing artist."

Another Emmys broadcast mainstay, the red-carpet preview, won't take place as, well, there is no red carpet. Obviously. Instead, at 7 p.m. ET, it will air "Celebrity Family Feud," with Ray Romano against Brad Garrett and Weezer against Fall Out Boy.

But primarily, this will be awards and acceptance speeches. It will sort of hinge on the winners, who could wear gowns and tuxedos or go in the opposite direction.

Some, Stewart said, "are having their own Emmys pajamas made…. One person said, 'I can bring my dogs to the Emmys.'"

Added Hudlin: "They don't have to thank their kids who are watching (at home). They can have their kids next to them on the couch."

And it may fit into the network's main request, Stewart said: "One of the execs at ABC said, 'I don't care what you do. Just, for goodness sake, make it entertaining."

 
 
 
 
 
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