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October 6, 2015

Big plans for 60th Emmy broadcast ... as long as there's no strike

by Allison Waldman, posted Jul 18th 2008 2:05PM
Ken EhrlichFor Ken Erhlich, executive producer of the Emmy broadcast, the goal is clear. "The war cry is always, 'What are we going to do and how are we going to make it better?' We did some inventive things, we changed it up, we understand that this is the industry's big night. This means something and we can't trivialize it, but we certainly can have some fun with it." He told me that last year, prior to the Emmy-in-the-round broadcast, a memorable -- and successful show.

In 2008, the decisions about the 60th anniversary Emmys are still in the works for the September LA broadcast, but one decision has already been made. It won't be in the round. While it looked good on air, the industry didn't like it. "People loved it at home. It had a great look, but you know, you try things, you want to bring something fresh to the show."

One thing that will continue from last year and previous Emmy broadcasts is the inclusion of musical numbers. The Jersey Boys tribute to The Sopranos was well-received, and previous Emmys have even reached the heights of Barbra Streisand leading a chorus for "You'll Never Walk Alone" after the 9/11 tragedy. "We're looking to bring music into the show, which pleases the live audience a lot and breaks up the pacing of the awards," said Ehrlich.

Another favorite Emmy tradition is celebrating milestones. ATAS is planning a clip tribute to mark the Emmys' 60 years. "People tend to hook into anniversaries that end in fives or a zero."

However, the broadcast is about the awards, so there can't be too much looking back. "I don't think we're in the business of doing a history of television," ATAS chairman John Shaffner said.

There's only one fly in the ointment; if SAG calls a strike, all festivities grind to a halt. The Golden Globes were canceled due to the Writer's Strike, remember? Amazingly, in 1980, there was a SAG-AFTRA strike and they held the awards nonetheless. Only winner Powers Boothe (for Guyana Tragedy: The Story of Jim Jones) appeared. Ehrlich said they will have a contingency plan if there's a strike.

Here's what I think will happen in the event of a strike -- they'll postpone the broadcast. In 2001, the year of that Ellen DeGeneres was so brilliant as a solo host (and Streisand sang), the broadcast was delayed twice due to 9/11 and fears about flying as well as the appropriateness of having a celebration so soon after the terrorist attacks in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania. Eventually, the show aired on November 4, 2001.
Need more Emmys scoop? Get reactions to the biggest Emmys snubs and surprises and see which celebrities sparkled on the Emmys red carpet last year.

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