Not to sound cranky, but for the 20th-some-odd time, I’m going to drag my ass out of bed while it’s still dark on Thursday to report on the nighttime Emmy nominations.
To be fair, it’s not just the Emmys that time their nomination announcement to 5:30 a.m. PT, to maximize exposure on the network morning shows. The Oscars set the precedent back in 1987, and the practice quickly spread through the industry.
Nor am I the first person to note the current approach is silly, with the Los Angeles Times’ Patrick Goldstein writing earlier this year that the Oscar nods ought to be turned into a primetime special — an interesting suggestion, which brings to mind an old adage about blind pigs and acorns.
My beef, however, has less to do with the inconvenience of the time than the fact it’s so pointless, and not particularly efficient. For starters, the morning shows — while still significant ratings-wise — don’t drive viewers to award shows the way they once did. And their coverage of the nominations is perfunctory at best, giving a couple of precious minutes to the nods before they quickly race to the next lifestyle/reality TV/concert segment.
Meanwhile, the pre-dawn timing saps most of the glamor from the festivities — who wants to be in full hair and makeup that early if they don’t have to? — and doesn’t seem calibrated to bring out the best in anyone, from journalists to the nominees.
In short, screwing up everyone’s morning isn’t just irritating; it’s ineffective.
While the primetime-special concept (an idea already adopted by the Grammys) has some merit, there are all sorts of ways the academies could tinker with and enliven the formula. A classy nomination lunch? An elimination game where the publicists for those failing to receive nods drop through trapdoors into big vats of green slime?
Whatever the solution, doing something that makes little sense “because we’ve done it this way for a couple decades” hardly seems forward-thinking. And at this point, about the only company that has any reason to be happy about it is Starbucks.
Until then, see you — through sleep-encrusted eyes — Thursday.