HOLLYWOOD — The Prime Time Creative Arts Emmy Awards is getting a facelift this year.
Academy of Television Arts & Sciences-sponsored kudocast, which will unfold this weekend in Los Angeles, has found a new home in the Shrine Auditorium, a supporting cast of A-list presenters and a cushy two-hour timeslot on E! Entertainment Television on Sept. 21 — the night before the Prime Time Emmys.
It’s all a far cry from the basement of the Pasadena Civic Auditorium, where the kudofest traditionally has been held.
“The show used to run like a dinner dance,” producer Spike Jones Jr. told Daily Variety. “(It) lacked focus. Essentially, it was an enjoy your salad, pick up your award and have a nice day type of event.”
ATAS decided to pump things up this year. “We’ve graduated from begging talent to present, to sharing presenters with the Emmys,” Jones said.
Skedded presenters for Saturday’s ceremony — which doles out kudos in 61 categories including awards given for guest actor/actress in comedy and drama, reality series, hairstyling, makeup and costumes — include Jennifer Garner, Paula Abdul, Zach Braff, Natasha Henstridge, Jamie Kennedy, Ashton Kutcher, Richard Schiff and Cedric the Entertainer. In addition, comic Darrell Hammond (“Saturday Night Live”) is onboard as host.
This is the second year that E! will telecast the event. Last year, kudos were handed out Sept. 8 and the show was broadcast the next evening. The intent was to position the ceremony a week before the Emmys in an effort to use the show as a pre-Emmy kickoff event and boost the profile of the creative honors. That plan went by the wayside when Sept. 11 delayed the Emmys for over a month.
Awards co-executive producer John Moffitt said that the show’s tone will be a bit more irreverent than the Emmys. While he would not disclose details, Moffitt hinted that producers will be dishing up some comedy (ala “Mad TV”) and guests can expect to see “a bit of us biting the hand that feeds us.”
“Because we are on E!, we can be edgy,” Jones added. “We are not bound by network rules; anything goes.”