Emmy Awards add Gotham element

Bulk to be taped in L.A. with auxiliary broadcast from NBC's Studio 6A

With a handful of New York-based thesps, producers and execs still leery of flying out West, Emmy organizers have opted to go bicoastal this year.

The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, producer Don Mischer and broadcast partner CBS made the decision to add a New York component to this year’s telecast after a number of nominees and other org members expressed concern about making the trip.

The bulk of the Emmy Awards will still originate from L.A.’s Shrine Auditorium on Oct. 7, but that will now be supplemented with an auxiliary broadcast from NBC’s Studio 6A, where “Late Night With Conan O’Brien” is taped.

Incoming TV academy chairman-CEO Bryce Zabel said a handful of awards would be presented from the “Late Night” stage, where East Coast honorees and Acad members will be able to gather.

“The decision was made to say, look, nobody who wants to attend should not attend just because they don’t want to leave New York,” he said. “We have satellite technology for that. It’s no big deal — ‘Nightline’ does it every night.”

There’s also plenty of precedent for a split-coast Emmy Awards. From the 1950s until the early 1970s, the telecast originated from both New York and Los Angeles. That practice ended before the TV academy split in two and most New York-based programming (network news, daytime) became the domain of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.

The bicoastal show is the latest Emmy move in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Zabel said reaction has been mixed to other changes, such as a decision to ask attendees to wear business attire instead of formal wear.

“We’ve realized that no matter what decision you make, half the people will say it’s good and half will say its bad,” he said.

Zabel also said the telecast has finalized its security plans, which he called the tightest in Emmy history.

“We’re very confident that the security measures we put into effect are as good as any place at any venue, including the Oscars,” he said.

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