Elaborate at-home video kits are on their way to at least 130 Emmy nominees, the production team behind this year’s ceremony said on Wednesday.
Speaking to reporters via a virtual press conference, executive producers Reginald Hudlin and Ian Stewart shared a photo of the equipment that’s being loaded up and sent to nominees in 20 cities and in 10 countries — everywhere from Los Angeles and New York to Toronto and Berlin, and even Fayetteville, N.C.
“If there are 130 live feeds coming in, it’s like 130 sports matches at the same time,” Stewart said. “You have so many things coming in. Get your head around that fact. Each one of those is coming from people’s homes, hotels and backyards. They’re not wired for a sports match, they’re wired to have your dinner.”
For the winners, after their live acceptance speeches, the video equipment will then immediately used for a quick press conference with reporters, who will be watching and asking questions via a special virtual media room that ABC and the TV Academy have launched.
Stewart admitted that some Emmy nominees were initially apprehensive with the idea of a camera setup in their homes, but the producers did a round of explainers to make it clear it would be a low-stress experience.
“They understand it now, and they said, ‘oh, I see, that’s fun!’” Stewart said.
The 6K equipment will still go through each nominee’s home wifi, sent to a distribution center, then
It’s not without potential complications, of course. And the producers seem almost hoping that things fall apart.
Hudlin and Stewart laughed that there’s the “total” possibility some of it doesn’t work. “There’s a tremendous amount of risk in what we’re doing,” Hudlin said. “We’re pushing the technology to its absolute limits.”
Added Stewart: “It’s not going to work properly all the time. It’s just not. We’re doing it because this has been an extraordinary time. TV has been our friend, it’s brought us together. It’s been the water cooler when you can’t go to the water cooler. Let’s celebrate it.”
And if things go really wrong? Hudlin quips that Kimmel will just vamp for three hours.
“I think he’s hoping things go wrong,” Stewart said.
Asked whether the current fires in California, one of which is threatening the Mt. Wilson observatory and nearby communications towers, Hudlin said it was a reminder that “the fire crisis we’re facing is bigger than our little awards show.”
As for the show itself, Hudlin said the producers are leaning into the idea of reinventing as much as possible. “Why are awards presented the same way every time? So we said, let’s not,” he said. “From category to category, it’s going to change throughout the broadcast. Some of them may not work, but we said, let’s just experiment and have the audience a little more on the edge of their seats.”
As announced earlier today, talent booked to appear include Laverne Cox, Sterling K. Brown, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Count von Count, Jason Bateman, Morgan Freeman, Ilana Glazer, Abbi Jacobson, D-Nice, Randall Park, RuPaul, Patrick Stewart and Jason Sudeikis. They join previously announced talent including Anthony Anderson, America Ferrera, Issa Rae, Gabrielle Union, J.J. Watt, Lena Waithe and Oprah Winfrey. Meanwhile, Grammy winner H.E.R. has been confirmed to perform this year’s “In Memoriam” segment.
Stewart said there will also be the usual diet of pre-taped packages, “but wherever possible we’re just going live. And watching the wheels come off.”
Will the show end on time? “It’s tough to know. We’re going to be doing so many things we’ve never done before,” Hudlin said. “We’ll find out.”
Added Stewart: “If we’re in someone’s house and something extraordinary happens, why would you want to cut it off? We’re thankful ABC understands our problem. It could come way under, it could go over. It might be on time. I think that’s unlikely.”
Meanwhile, here’s more from Kimmel on how this year’s show will look: