The 2020 Emmys will be an awards show like no other

Hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, the “72nd Emmy Awards” will broadcast Sunday, Sept. 20 (8:00 p.m. EDT/6:00 p.m. MDT/5:00 p.m. PDT), on ABC.

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The 72nd Emmy Awards will be an awards show like no other.

As the first major entertainment industry awards ceremony to be conducted since the coronavirus pandemic began, all eyes will be on host Jimmy Kimmel and the team at ABC on Sunday night. Instead of pre-taping segments, the primetime Emmys have opted to ship out 130 cameras to nominees in 20 cities and 10 countries.

Producer Ian Stewart likened the daunting production process to “trying to watch 130 sports matches at the same time,” during a virtual round table with reporters Wednesday.

Nominees were sent a ring light, a laptop, a boom mic and a camera as part of the package. Winners will give their acceptance speeches and then be transferred over to a virtual press room to conduct quick press conferences with reporters.

For comparison, the Creative Arts Emmys, which have taken place over the course of four nights this week, had pre-taped acceptance speeches from each nominee. Whoever won had their speech broadcast.

With so many feeds to monitor, the production team opted to utilize the Staples Center in Los Angeles as a base of operations for the show. There will be no audience at the event and no red carpet. No dress code was provided to nominees, so some may take the opportunity to dress-up while others could opt for a set of comfortable pajamas.

The telecast will include appearances from Jason Bateman, Sterling K. Brown, Laverne Cox, Count von Count from “Sesame Street,” Morgan Freeman, Lin-Manuel Miranda, RuPaul and Patrick Stewart, among others. It is unclear if they will be broadcasting from the Staples Center or if they will be joining the telecast from their homes.

Musician H.E.R. will perform live for the “In Memoriam” segment.

“It is sort of a logistic nightmare,” Stewart said jokingly, according to media reports. “It’s gonna be great. How could it possibly go wrong?”

The production team as well as Kimmel seem to be taking the possibility of disaster in stride, fully expecting that things will go wrong and they will need to adapt quickly. 

The awards show is an experiment and the team is treating it as such. Producer Reginald Hudlin said that how awards are presented will change from category to category, but he didn’t elaborate on the team’s plans.

“Some of them may not work, but we said, let’s just experiment and have the audience a little more on the edge of their seats,” he said. 

The 72nd Emmy Awards will air at 8 p.m. ET on ABC. Here’s the full list of primetime Emmy nominees.

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