Telecast bumped up to avoid NFL overruns

Folks in the TV biz began readjusting their calendar Monday, thanks to CBS’ announcement that the 61st annual Primetime Emmy Awards will be moving one week earlier, to Sept. 13.

The Eye had been set to televise the kudocast on Sept. 20. But CBS will air an NFL doubleheader that afternoon, which may have forced a delay of the Emmycast start time — although it’s extremely rare for late-afternoon football games in the East to extend beyond Emmy’s starting time of 8 o’clock.

“This is better for the live event, the broadcast and our audience at home,” said Jack Sussman, CBS exec VP of specials, music and live events.

It looks likely that the Creative Arts Emmys, which usually takes place one week prior to the Emmycast, will also shift its date. However, it’s not likely to move one week earlier, since that would put the event on Labor Day weekend. And it’s unlikely to remain near its present slot as that would crowd the Primetime Emmys weekend and many members attend both ceremonies.

The move means that the Emmys will no longer air the night before the official launch of the TV season, taking away a strong marketing opportunity for CBS.

But the shift will also take the Emmys out of harm’s way, as NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” showcase on Sept. 20 will feature the opening of the new Dallas Cowboys’ stadium as the team faces off with New York Giants. Interest in that game could have taken a big bite out of the Emmy ratings — particularly in TV’s No. 1 market.

Though party and event planners were manning the phones to readjust their schedule, few were traumatized. They said their bashes will carry on as usual, citing the three-month notice as enough time to make any necessary adjustments.

Comedy Central reps said their party venue has not yet been picked, so the date change won’t affect the planning. Others said that even though they had picked a venue, the change will be fine.

“Our party will proceed as planned at the Pacific Design Center on the new date for the Emmys,” said an HBO spokesman.

This is not the first time the Emmy telecast has been pushed to an earlier date. It was held on Aug. 27, 2006, weeks earlier than usual, because NBC that year saw the return of NFL football to its Sunday night sked and did not want the Emmycast to interrupt its game telecasts.

(Mia McNiece contributed to this report.)

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