Telecast bounces back to original date

Follow the bouncing Primetime Emmy Awards: The kudofest has now been moved back to its original Sept. 20 ceremony date.

The TV Academy and CBS had moved the Emmys to Sept. 13, not realizing that the show’s new date conflicted with MTV’s Video Music Awards.

With MTV unable to move its show, the TV Acad and the Eye were forced to move the Primetime Emmy ceremony back.

CBS first pushed the Emmycast to Sept. 13 last month, blaming the change on an NFL doubleheader that the network was set to telecast on Sept. 20 (Daily Variety, June 2). But just as likely, CBS and the TV Academy probably wanted to move the Emmys away from “Sunday Night Football’s” Sept. 20 matchup between the Cowboys and the Giants on NBC.

But the switch to Sept. 13 caused a new set of headaches. First, the TV Acad had to figure out what to do with the Creative Arts Emmys, which were skedded for Sept. 12.

Unable to move the Creative Arts show a week earlier due to Labor Day weekend, the org opted to keep the show on the 12th — but had to move it out of the Nokia Theater, where CBS would be prepping the following night’s telecast.

It also meant that party planners had to move their post-Emmy fetes back a week.

But then came the bigger MTV issue. The cabler contacted CBS soon after the Emmy announced its date change and informed them of the conflict.

MTV hadn’t officially announced the Sept. 13 date for the VMAs, but had already booked a venue and had locked in sponsorship deals tied to that timeframe.

With MTV unable to change venues and with its sponsor deals in place, the channel convinced CBS and the TV Academy to move the Emmys back.

Although the MTV Video Music Awards and the Emmys target different demos, pitting two major award shows against each other would have made for an awkward faceoff. Such a move would also add fuel to ongoing CBS/Viacom rivalry flames.

“After we announced plans for Sept. 13, MTV informed us they were locked into the same day for the Video Music Awards, with venue and sponsorship agreements in place. We had the flexibility to move; they didn’t,” said Jack Sussman, CBS’ exec VP of specials, music and live events. “It’s best for the industry and the audience that these events not compete against each other. … If the Emmy broadcast has as much excitement as the scheduling of the date, viewers are in for an unforgettable event.”

In originally moving the Emmy date, the Eye also said it was loath to preempt or to downsize “60 Minutes,” as the NFL doubleheader would have likely pushed the newsmag beyond the Emmy start time on Sept. 20.

But now, the Eye has agreed to air a flexible “60 Minutes” that night in order to accommodate a firm 8 p.m. ET start for the Emmys. This is not the first time CBS has opted to collapse “60 Minutes,” but it tries to avoid such a move if at all possible.

The decision to shift the Emmys back to Sept. 20 means that the Creative Arts Emmys, slated for Sept. 12, will no longer have to share the same weekend with the Primetime event and will once again take place at the Nokia.

It also means E!’s Sept. 19 telecast of the Creative Arts ceremony will be viewed by auds the night before the Primetime Emmy telecast, instead of the week after.

As for the post-Emmy parties, the nets and shows behind the events acted quickly Wednesday to shift their events back to Sept. 20.

Although there was likely quite a bit of grumbling among venue bookers and caterers, reps for HBO and Comedy Central confirmed that their parties are set once again for the correct Emmy date.

Finally, the return to Sept. 20 ensures the Emmycast will air the night before the 2009-10 television season officially launches.

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