Emmycast to include live band, dance sequence and some bold new twists
Even though the plan to "time-shift" some awards to streamline the prime-time broadcast got ditched, the Emmys ceremony will have more entertainment than ever thanks to other economies being made.
"There will be seven presenting teams," producer Don Mischer tells Gold Derby. "They'll each do two awards instead of one. That saves us walk-out time and the banter the presenters usually have to do before introducing an award. After presenting one award, the presenting team will jump right into giving out the next one."
Host Neil Patrick Harris will keep things moving by "appearing on stage more than any other Emmy host ever," Mischer says. At some times, he'll have his own podium to stand at and remain on stage while other things occur that he can gently nudge forward.
Mischer plans lots of other innovations meant to help the show's pacing. One won't quicken the presentation of some awards, but will make them more lively.
"Half of the 28 awards go to producers, writers and directors -- people TV viewers don't know much about," he says. "We're going to help you to get to know them by sharing fun, little personal details about them as they're introduced during the broadcast. Ahead of time, we sent them questionnaires asking them where they went to school, what profession they might have chosen if they hadn't gone into TV, that kind of thing."
Mischer also plans to make the Emmycast more interesting by grouping the awards according to genre.
"In the past, the award for best comedy writing might've come next to best supporting actor in a TV drama series," Mischer says. "This year we'll focus on one award group -- say, comedy in one area of the program. No one's ever done this before. It may not work, but it may give us more coherence."
The Envelope's forums moderator Chris "Boomer" Beachum believes the show will start out with all of the comedy races, based upon photos he's seen online showing the placement cards of where nominees sit in the audience. "They have a number at the bottom of the card indicating the position of that category within the ceremony," Boomer says. Here's the lineup he's pulled together as a result of cyber-snooping. See more info in the forums.
ORDER OF AWARD PRESENTATIONS
1. Comedy supporting actress
2. Comedy directing or writing
3. Comedy supporting actor
4. Comedy actress
5. Comedy directing or writing
6. Comedy actor
14. Movie actress
19. Original song (Justin Timberlake is attending; don't know about presenting or performing)
25. Drama actress
26. Drama actor
27. Comedy series
28. Drama series (final award)
Mischer wasn't sure last weekend when interviewed by Gold Derby if Harris would sing during the ceremony. "That option is being heavily considered," he says.
Or whether Harris or Timberlake would dance during the show. The Emmycast will contain a segment saluting dance across all reality TV shows, to be choreographed by Emmy nominees Tabitha and Napoleon D'umo ("So You Think You Can Dance," "America's Best Dance Crew"). Rumor has it that participants will include some celebrities who hoofed it on "Dancing With the Stars."
For the first time since 2004, the Emmycast will feature a live band. The 17 members will include guitarists Dean Parks (America, Steely Dan) and Ray Parker, Jr. (Raydio, "Ghostbusters"), keyboardist Michael Bearden (Michael Jackson's last music director), Grammy Award-winning saxophonist Tom Scott, bassist Darryl Jones (Rolling Stones) and percussionist Lenny Castro (Fleetwood Mac, Eric Clapton). The all-star ensemble will be on stage throughout the show.
This is the ninth time that Mischer has overseen an Emmycast.
"It's a difficult job," he says. "A lot of people are prepared to shoot me down. More may go wrong than may go right. But when it goes right, there's nothing better."
Photo: Fox TV