Originally published 9/4/20 @ 11:21 AM. -Ed.
If the 2020 MTV Video Music Awards managed to confirm anything for us, it’s this: Mid-pandemic awards ceremonies have the capacity to get really damn weird. Between superimposed green screen images of fake audiences, performances spread throughout the city, and a host trying her absolute best to bolster the energy of a near-empty room, it’s becoming increasingly more apparent that these large-scale events are made marginally less awkward with some form of a live, communal presence. Who else is going to politely chuckle at Hollywood’s self-deprecating jokes about its overwhelming whiteness? Us?!
Hopefully the Television Academy has developed an Emmy night plan that will make the best of our current circumstances. Per Variety, the producers are aiming to cultivate a show that is “as live — and safe — as possible. And at the same time, they promise that they’re not aiming to do ‘Emmys Light.’” The current outline for TV’s most prestigious night sound ambitious thus far. Then again, the ceremony was long overdue for a shake up. Here’s what we know so far.
Though the show aired on Fox last year, the 2020 Emmys will be heading back to ABC. Airing live on Sunday, September 20 at 8 PM EST, viewers can watch the broadcast live or—with a viable cable subscription—watch along on the ABC app. The Academy has not yet announced any companion programming, but we’ll keep you posted if anything changes.
Since we as a society have not progressed beyond the point of asking Jimmy Kimmel to anchor these things, he will be helming the night. “Jimmy loves to work live, and we love to work live,”Emmy Awards executive producers Reginald Hudlin told Variety. Maybe if we’re really good, we might get a fresh face next year.
The short answer is, freakin’ everywhere. Here’s the longer answer: Kimmel will be hosting from a stage in the Staples Center, where there will be no audience, no red carpet, and a responsibly distanced crew. Towards the end of August, producers were keen on developing a show that didn’t rely on Zoom, Skype, or any of the other widely available tools us normies utilize every day. Instead, the plan is to send the “highest end” filming kits so that nominees can record themselves (or with the help of a similarly quarantined family member) live from potentially 140 locations worldwide.
“There are people who are nominated who live in Los Angeles, who live in London, who live in Berlin and Tel Aviv,” Hudlin said, which will result in a lot of live feed coming into the main production hub from a lot of different areas. (And since this is the Academy’s first go-round of this nature, we’ll probably have to allow more room for error and technical hiccups than we normally would.) The Creative Emmys settled on prerecorded acceptance speeches, but in the spirit of keeping the show as close to live as possible, the Primetime team is taking a big swing.
Nope, but we’ll definitely let you know when they do.
UPDATE, 9/16/20: The Television Academy has announced its list of presenters who will be “stopping by.” You can look forward to more than a few appearances from some of the biggest stars stuck inside: Jason Bateman, Sterling K. Brown, Laverne Cox, “Sesame Street”’s Count Von Count, Morgan Freeman, Ilana Glazer, Abbi Jacobson, Lin-Manuel Miranda, D-Nice, Randall Park, RuPaul, Patrick Stewart and Jason Sudeikis, to name a few. They join previously announced special guests Anthony Anderson, America Ferrera, Issa Rae, Gabrielle Union, J.J. Watt, Lena Waithe and Oprah Winfrey. Both ABC and the Television Academy promise that there are more surprises to come.
As far as performances go: Well, the Emmys aren’t exactly known for those. However, we can expect Grammy-winning R&B performer H.E.R. to make her Emmys debut with the “In Memoriam” tribute.
Come Emmys night, join The A.V. Club staff for a live blog of the ceremony. TV Editor Danette Chavez will present her predictions closer to the event. For the big night, we’ll be tracking the winners, breaking out the big stories, and capturing the most memorable moments via Newswire and Twitter. in the interim, you can check out our new podcast, Push The Envelope, where our experts delve into this year’s nominees.
See you at the (virtual) Emmys!