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Live broadcasts bring new challenges

Variety, Music or Comedy

Awards shows love awards shows, at least when it comes to the cat-herding task of directing their live broadcasts.

The Academy Awards has corralled four of the last 10 Emmys for variety, music or comedy director, with four-time winner and current contender Louis J. Horvitz nominated in 10 of the 12 years he’s tackled the assignment.

In this category, bigger is better. When the Oscarcast hasn’t won through the last few years, the Olympics opening ceremony seemingly has (three times).

Other winners include the Tony Awards with its Broadway production numbers (twice), the acrobatic extravaganza “Cirque du Soleil,” the sprawling musical celebration “Tony Bennett: An American Classic” (last year) and the prestigious “Kennedy Center Honors,” directed by the familiar Horvitz.

How can a studio show compete? Current nominees Jim Hoskinson of “The Colbert Report” (third consecutive nom) and Chuck O’Neil of “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart” (fifth-time nominee) are probably wondering that as well — and they helm each weeknight, working within the confines of the basic-cable budget of Comedy Central, too.

Don Roy King of “Saturday Night Live” (second straight nom) likewise stages lampoonery of myriad TV/culture genres weekly within the confines of NBC’s Rockefeller Center studio. And does it live.

Only Lonny Price is a newcomer to this category, for the PBS “Great Performances” presentation of Broadway’s unusual revival of “Company,” featuring Raul Esparza’s much-acclaimed star turn and the entire cast doubling as the musical’s orchestra. That’s a daunting task. But it’s nothing compared with facing the Oscars in Emmy’s variety directing race.

NOMINEES

Louis J. Horvitz, “80th Annual Academy Awards” (ABC)

Jim Hoskinson, “The Colbert Report” (#4051) (Comedy Central)

Don Roy King, “Saturday Night Live” (Host: Tina Fey) (NBC)

Lonny Price, “Company” (“Great Performances”) (PBS)

Chuck O’Neil, “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart” (#13050) (Comedy Central)

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