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Welcome to Emmy Week. Try Not To Be Confused
September 14, 2020  | By Alex Strachan  | 2 comments

First things first, as Jeff Probst likes to say on Survivor. The 72nd Emmys are going ahead as planned. A subdued, COVID-aware ceremony will air live on ABC on Sunday from 8 p.m. ET. The hastily revamped ceremony, such as it is, will be hosted by occasional, and returning, emcee Jimmy Kimmel, who knows a thing or two about working on the fly.

Social distancing will be the rule, and much like the late-night comedy shows this past summer, most of the "action" will be streamed live from actors' and producers' homes. The Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, which had been tapped to host the ceremony, will be shuttered for the night.

The old argument about whether clips are a good idea or bad is moot: With so much of the telecast relying on pre-recorded material, clips will be back in vogue — a TV throwback to the Emmy telecasts of the '70s and '80s, when the Emmys defined the best of what was on TV in any given year. Editors will once again be the hardest working men and women in show business. Welcome to the Emmys in the Age of the Pandemic.

There are a few wrinkles this year. Emmys in the supporting, creative categories will be handed out over six nights starting Monday, culminating in the 2020 Creative Arts Awards, which will air Saturday at 8 p.m. ET on FXX.

With 17 Emmys being handed out on Monday night alone, and a similar number being handed out from Tuesday through Thursday (the TV Academy is taking a break from award-giving Friday), you could be forgiven for wondering if there will be any awards left to hand out at Saturday's official Creative Arts Awards, let alone the main event the following night, but there will be.

Saturday's event — also set to air live on FXX at 8 p.m. ET  — will feature Emmys in such categories as Outstanding Animated Program, Children's Program, Commercial (yes, they still make those!), and Guest Performer in a Comedy or Drama Series. Because the Emmys are judged on individual episodes, rather than the totality of an entire season, guest performances are more relevant to the Emmys than other TV awards. It is also an impossible category to properly judge when one considers just how many performances there are in any given TV season.

HBO's Watchmen leads this year's nominations with 26 nods, followed by Amazon's The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel with 20, Netflix's Ozark and HBO's Succession with 18 apiece, and Disney+'s The Mandalorian and Canadian outlier Schitt's Creek (top) with 15 each.

It's the individual awards that count most in most viewers' minds, though, and that's why Sunday's ceremony is still the main event, and the one that attracts the most attention. That's when the year's outstanding drama series will be named, and at that point, it won't matter to most viewers how many Emmys SuccessionThe CrownThe MandalorianThe Handmaid's TaleBetter Call SaulStranger ThingsKilling Eve, or Ozark will have won overall. What will matter is which one of those will win the big award.

One thing is certain, though, in this most uncertain of years. It won't be Game of Thrones. And that means, if nothing else, that whichever of the nominees wins, it will mark a first.

Does any of this really matter? Actually, this year especially, it does.

Television helped viewers navigate a changing world in a way rarely seen before. COVID-19, coupled with weeks of mandatory stay-at-home orders, meant that most people had little choice but to look close to home for their daily entertainment and information. That didn't benefit the major broadcast networks so much — viewer habits were changing long before then — but the effect on streaming services like Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu was profound. Disney+, the longest of long shots in an industry notorious for known unknowns, and unknown unknowns for that matter, became a smash hit overnight. The so-called FANG stocks — Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, and Google (read: YouTube) — have shot through the roof. They were already on a tear before the COVID-19 pandemic. They are now, almost literally, out of sight.

Sunday's Emmy telecast will seem eerie and strange, unlike any ceremony over the past 70 years. That seems only right. The world is changing more quickly than many of us could have imagined only a year ago. Television reflects the world in real time, and so the Emmys will have little choice but to respond in kind. These are interesting times. We live in the world, and the world is thus.

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Jan 27, 2023   |  Reply
>>(the TV Academy is taking a break from award-giving Friday)<<

Friday night is the start of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year observance. "Hollywood" is an industry that is heavily populated by Jews at all levels, so it's only natural to skip this evening. (On the seventh day they rested?) What's abnormal is to have the Saturday and Sunday night awards shows occur over this weekend, since the holiday extends to (depending on how observant a particular person is) sundown on Saturday or Sunday evening. If the industry is going to be "sensitive" to this religious observance for many of its members, you'd think they'd go the full distance. Apparently not so much, which makes them seem more than a little hypocritical.
Sep 15, 2020   |  Reply
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