When the Emmys broadcast this Sunday, don’t look for the usual award show. The show, originally scheduled for Sept. 16, was pushed back three weeks after the terrorist attacks on Washington and New York on Sept. 11. It is the longest delay the show has ever had. In 1968 it was held off for two days after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. and in 1981 it was delayed one day after the assassination attempt on President Ronald Regan.
One big change this year is that the show is going bi-costal. Along with the show’s headquarters at the Los Angeles Shrine Auditorium, NBC studio 6A in Rockefellar Center will be transformed into a stage for East Coasters to gather and celebrate. New York-based shows “Sex and the City” and “The Sopranos” which received a combined 32 nominations had expressed concern earlier in the week about flying. At both locations winners will have the opportunity to accept their awards on national television, and up to five awards will be presented from the New York ceremony.
Host, comedian Ellen DeGeneres, will step aside for the opening when TV news veteran Walter Cronkite will address the audience, and salute all who have been involved with the tragedies. Throughout the rest of the ceremony DeGeneres’ duties as host have dramatically changed. This year’s Emmys want to replace traditional slapstick jokes of its hosts with a more serious tone. It then becomes difficult to see the comical DeGeneres fitting the modified role.
The mood will extend throughout the program as a whole. Instead of the first award of the night being handed to best supporting actress in a comedy, it will be for best supporting actress in a drama. The comedy awards have been saved for later in the evening.
Even the audience is affected. Attendees are asked to dress down and do away with penguin tuxedo’s and ball gowns. The annual Governors Ball that has followed the Emmys every year has been renamed as the Unity Dinner, and the hordes of fans that usually occupy the bleachers outside the Shrine to greet their favorite celebrities has been scrapped.
In light of all the changes, there still are awards being given out. Here’s my pick for the two biggest categories, Best Drama and Comedy Series.
For outstanding drama series, the nominees include: “ER,” “Law and Order,” “The Practice,” “The Sopranos” and “The West Wing.” Hands down the winner should be “The West Wing.” Besides always having a stellar script it is always supported by an unbelievably talented cast. Despite all the praise HBO’s “Sopranos” recieves, “The West Wing” truly deserves this award.
For outstanding comedy series, the nominees include: “Everybody Loves Raymond,” “Frasier,” “Malcolm in the Middle,” “Sex and the City” and “Will and Grace.” This one will go to the inventive “Malcolm in the Middle,” who alone should be proud to receive this nomination because rarely does the Academy acknowledge shows that take a different approach to things, and its about time things changed.
The 53rd Emmy Awards will be broadcasted live on CBS beginning at 8 p.m. Sunday.