Thursday, August 13, 2009

Emmys won't change format after all

I’d like to thank the Academy….

For coming to its senses and reversing its idiotic format change. All awards will be presented on the live broadcast. Eight will no longer be pre-taped and edited allowing the show more time to pay tribute to AMERICAN IDOL and CSI. Pressure from my blog post (oh… and the WGA and DGA who threatened to not waive license fees on aired clips) have caused the ATAS to return to its regular format.

They believed that editing out winners walking on and off the stage would streamline the show and provide more time for saluting mainstream shows that don’t get Emmy recognition but viewers actually watch. This would hopefully boost ratings, which are probably lower now than the old Cable Ace awards were twenty years ago.

But the problem is this – in addition to dissing the creative people who ARE up for awards, the one big attraction of a live show is that it is LIVE. What if somebody trips while walking up to the stage? What if there’s a, uh wardrobe malfunction? What if a winner thanks Hitler?

THAT’S the fun part. So to remove spontaneity in favor of more rehearsed tributes is more likely to lose viewers than attract them.

I’m sure there are ways of improving the presentation. Getting a better host this year (Neil Patrick Harris) is a great first step. Cutting down the number of categories might be worth considering in the future. Reality show hosts get millions of dollars for saying “Wanna know what you’re playing for?” If they don’t also get statuettes they can afford therapy.

The Emmys air Sunday night September 20th on CBS. As always, I’ll be reviewing them. And now that they've returned to their regular format I’ll even watch them too.

20 comments :

spreng said...

"more likely to lose viewers then attract them"

Sorry, I am an English teacher: that should be than.

amyp3 said...

I don't know if the Emmy PTB ever gave this explanation, but I wonder if they'd gotten the idea from the Tonys. Several Tony awards (also for "minor" stuff like lighting, because lighting's not very important in the theater) are presented before the broadcast and featured in brief edited clips on air.
Are the Emmys going to show CLIPS of nominees this year? I think the failure to do so in '08 ties for Stupid with having reality-show hosts.

-verification word "fards." Insert your own joke.

amyp3 said...

Er, and by clips, I meant they should show longer clips from the show while nominee names are being read.

Michelle said...

@spreng: I'm an English teacher, too. Can you please turn off your hyper-correctness? Thanks! :-) (You had a comma splice in there but we loves you anyhow!)

I tend not to watch award shows more than occasionally, but the live aspect is indeed the best part!

BigTed said...

I think the difference with the Tonys is that most of the audience hasn't had a chance to see the nominated shows, especially in their original runs. The live performances of excerpts are the main (some would say the only) reason to watch the broadcast. On the other hand, we all have access to Emmy-nominated TV shows, and we've already watched the ones we're interested in. So to me, seeing the nominees and presenters -- and finding out more about how the shows are made -- is a much more important part of the ceremony.

D. McEwan said...

"What if a winner thanks Hitler?"

He's so under-appreciated. Actually, didn't Mel Brooks thank Hitler when winning a Tony for THE PRODUCERS? If he didn't, he should have, but I seem to remember he did.

"Reality show hosts get millions of dollars for saying 'Wanna know what you’re playing for?' "

Let us not forget Julie Chen, who can not get through a BIG BROTHER episode without saying "But first..." a half dozen times. Last week a reader called her on it on her BB blog. Julie defended "But first.." by writing something along the lines of "What would BIG BROTHER be without 'But first...' I deliberatly try to work a couple in each week." By "deliberately try" I assume she means she deliberately reads "but first..." off her teleprompter.

"amyp3 said...
Several Tony awards (also for "minor" stuff like lighting, because lighting's not very important in the theater) are presented before the broadcast"

Among those "minor" categories are Best Music & Lyrics, and Best Book of a Musical, both writing categories. It has offended me each year they've done it, and I've taken them to task each and every time in my Tony Award Reviews. You can see how well they've trembled at my wrath, because they're still doing it.

Baylink said...

I believe, Ken, that you meant to say "DGA ... threatens *not* to waive fees for clips", no?

In fact, y'know what? Why don't you just let *us* write the blog; save you a lot of time. :-)

breglysi: a flavor of ice cream at the Ben and Jerry's in Latvia

Edward Copeland said...

As an awards freak who is trying to abandon them all this year for their crazy changes, the Emmys would have done well years ago if they had come up with a way where each year's nominees and winners weren't just a Xerox of previous years. I think killing the performer in a variety, music or comedy series or special category and letting SNL players compete in the categories with sitcom performers in ridiculous and pointless since SNL is not in the comedy series category.

Pat Reeder said...

My only regret for leaving TV early on to become a radio comedy writer is that I shall never have the chance to win an Emmy and thank Hitler.

Did you have to rub it in?



VW: "Portiome" - What a Cockney who lives in a porti-john calls his home.

Barefoot Billy Aloha said...

Spreng and Baylink:

Your cranks are like complaining of Michaelangelo dripping paint on the Sistine floor.

Relax...

emily said...

...wondering how much this blog influenced their decision...

Eric said...

Speaking of thanking Hitler:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yizpWta-5Uw

The Pope said...

Who dripped all this paint all over my God damned floor? Michaleangelo, you slob, stop painting the first penis and spread a God damned tarp! Now look. You've got Robins's Egg Blue all over my God damned mitor!!

Buttermilk Sky said...

I don't suppose anyone has noticed, but the Grammy show stopped including classical music awards around the time Toscanini died. All right, maybe a little later. They're given out in the afternoon, in a coffee shop around the corner from the venue. The winners can order anything from the lunch menu except the daily specials.

Tony said...

"But first..." is my favourite ever moment from MASH: Hawkeye and Trapper are defusing an unexploded bomb, following instructions that Henry is reading from a manual.
Henry: "Cut the red wire!"
Hawkeye and Trapper do so.
Henry: "But first..."

Recipe books are rated in our house as to how many "But First" recipes they have in them. EG, when step 18 of the recipe is something like "Set the beans aside for 48 hours to let them ferment" or "strain the mixture through 2 layers of prepared muslin".

WV: orbint: (arch/slang) British female astronaut

Dana King said...

Since the original problem stemmed from writers' lack of telegenity, maybe Katherine Heigl could accept all their awards for them. She' telegenic, and writers love her.

Just a thought.

(Yes, I made up "telegenity." So sue me.)

Robert Lawrence said...

I'd still like to see a Writer's Award show.

Tom Quigley said...

"What if a winner thanks Hitler?"...

Don't tell me there are people from the Fox News Channel who are nominated for something?....

wv: rebaso -- an opera singer who repeats everything a second time, as in "rebaso profundo"...

Red said...

I completely agree with Edward Copeland's comments. The real problem with the Emmys is that they nominate the same shows over and over again, year after year while ignoring so many wonderful shows and wonderful performances. For example, Jensen Ackles performances in last season's "Supernatural" was consistently powerful and truly amazing. Tim Roth in "Lie to Me" is complex and mesmerizing.

bevo said...

Who cares? No one cares. Hence the ratings. Then again, I do not live on the coast.

When people refer to living on the coast, why I do suspect they are not speaking of Greensboro, which technically is on the coast? I also think Pensacola gets ruled out as a location when referring to people who live on the coast.

On the other hand, is there any state that has more rednecks per capita than Rhode Island? Jeff Foxworthy is correct when he said there are rednecks everywhere?

Yes, I realize I lost a lot of people when I mentioned a Georgia Tech graduate because he is not from the coast.

Unless we mean the Redneck Riviera.

How about you guys have a big dinner? Everyone can get shit faced and make asses of themselves. Of course, it won't be televised because no one cares.