As the 72nd Emmys goes virtual, so will the media that covers it. ABC and the Television Academy are launching a virtual media center that will serve as a home base for reporters and TV news crews covering this year’s ceremony from home.
“In lieu of the traditional press rooms that have occurred on-site during previous years, credentialed press will be provided the opportunity to connect directly with Emmy winners in a real-time, virtual environment,” ABC and TV Academy are set to reveal in a joint announcement today. “This will ensure that talent may participate from wherever they are in the world.”
The virtual media center will open as soon as the Emmy telecast begins on Sept. 20 at 5 p.m. PT and close approximately one hour post-show, allowing winners the opportunity to do the usual press rounds — albeit from the comfort of wherever they’re watching the telecast.
As Variety first reported on Monday, instead of the normal Emmy ceremony at downtown Los Angeles’ Microsoft Theatre, this year’s show will be anchored by host Jimmy Kimmel across the street on a stage at the Staples Center. An army of approximately 140 live cameras will chronicle the nominees and winners at their homes (or any location of their choosing), however.
That means there’s no Emmy red carpet this year, and also no reason for press to gather at the Staples Center, since the winners will all be beamed in from across the world. The producers are counting on the uniqueness of this year’s affair, and with nominees cooperating in their own homes, to drive this year’s show. “If you want to be in your sweats on your sofa that’s also fine,” executive producer Ian Stewart earlier told Variety. “It will be much more casual, much more fun, as we’re more in it together. It will go where it goes.”
Normally, press is stationed on the red carpet and also in several on-site press rooms. After winners give their acceptance speeches, they’re usually whisked over to the media center, where they take photos, do one-on-one interviews with a handful of TV outlets (such as “Entertainment Tonight” and “Good Morning America”) on what’s dubbed “Winners’ Walk,” before heading into a large room with on-deadline reporters, who conduct a brief press conference.
An ABC spokesperson said the network hoped to replicate that function as much as possible with this year’s virtual media center. As usual, acceptance speeches will be transcribed and available. And the virtual press room will allow for reporters to see one another as well as the talent being interviewed. Media will also be able to download digital clips of the general press room interviews.
And those media outlets that customarily have a one-on-one interview space on the “Winners’ Walk” will have a virtual one-on-one room in the virtual media center.
Meanwhile, with no press photographers allowed on site, all still photography will be provided by ABC and the Television Academy.
The 72nd Emmys airs on Sunday, Sept. 20, at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on ABC.
[Photo: Sterling K. Brown in the Emmys Media Center during the 2016 telecast.]