Late Night with Seth Meyers

Last year’s Primetime Emmy Awards ceremony was dubbed “the saddest Emmys of all time,” punctuated with individual in memoriam segments that cast a depressing pall over the evening.

This year, host Seth Meyers promises, they’ll be approaching the event “the way we approach anything — which is to be upbeat and have fun… Certainly we don’t want it to feel morbid, we want it to be a celebration of this year’s TV.” The host appeared at NBC’s presentation at the Television Critics Assn. summer press tour along with Emmy Awards writer Mike Shoemaker, executive producer Don Mischer, Television Academy chairman Bruce Rosenblum and NBC’s president of alternative and late night programming, Paul Telegdy.

While Meyers admitted he’s “limited by the fact I can’t sing or dance,” so will be relying on his monologue skills to kick the show off, Mischer is confident that the “Late Night” host has the chops to keep the ceremony lively: “Having a humorous approach to everything, keeping the show moving and having it paced really well is everything… I think that people at home sense that. When things start to go well, it starts to gel. The main thing is, you have to have somebody up there who wants to be there, who loves television and is comfortable there. [Seth] knows television, he loves television, he’s done a lot of live television so he can roll with the punches.”

Critics were quick to note the complaints regarding this year’s perceived nomination snubs and challenged Rosenblum on the rules regarding how series are categorized, with “Treme” nominated in the miniseries category and “Orange is the New Black” receiving a nod as a comedy.

Rosenblum pointed out that the nominations are determined by the Academy’s 19,000 members, but that they reevaluate their rules every year and are open to expanding the outstanding drama and comedy categories to allow more nominees.

SEE ALSO: Emmy Nominations Yield Celebration — and Second-Guessing

“There’s far more terrific programming on television now than there was five years ago; I’m not sure which one you’d move out,” he admitted of the drama race, noting that there were 40% more dramas and 60% more comedies submitted for consideration this year. “I do think it’s something the Academy should take a look at for next year.”

That said, Rosenblum added, they have no plans to add more categories to accommodate series like “Nurse Jackie” and “Shameless,” which straddle the line between comedy and drama. “[It's] always challenging, because the show would run five hours long.” Mischer agreed, “there is a blurring of the content now with the shows that are airing on all these different platforms … It’s tough to have iron-clad delineations on where these shows fall. We just have to do the best we can.”

The producers aren’t particularly concerned about the telecast’s earlier airdate this year (Aug. 25), or its Monday timeslot, despite the Emmys traditionally airing on a Sunday and closer to the fall premiere rollout. “Because we’re on the air in August, we might have the advantage of being on a Monday, it’s summer … I think we stand a chance of getting more attention,” Mischer said. NBC will also promote the ceremony through its Sunday Night Football telecast the day before air.

With the drama categories dominated by cable fare, a critic pointed out that many viewers may not be familiar with some of the niche nominees that air off broadcast. The producers aren’t too concerned, and don’t consider it within their remit to educate the audience on shows they may have missed due to a lack of premium cable subscriptions. “The Emmys are not a popular choice award, the Emmys are an industry award; the Emmys are determined by the men and women who create television,” Mischer said. “It means a lot because it’s our competitors and our peers who have given it to us… The nominations came from people in the industry who make the product.”

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