The decision to delay the 53rd annual Primetime Emmy Awards for three
weeks from Sept. 16 to Oct. 7 marks a first in Emmy history:
Never before has a news event delayed TV's biggest night. But clearly,
never before has there been a news event quite like last Tuesday's deadly
terrorist attacks in New York and Washington D.C.
"In the past, TV academy leaders always decided, in the great Hollywood
tradition, to go on with the show no matter what happened even in
1980 when no stars showed up because of an actors' strike," notes award
show expert Tom O'Neil, author of The Emmys and host of
showbiz-awards website GoldDerby.com. "But this year Emmy leaders were
afraid that it might look heartless of Hollywood to carry on with a posh
party for itself and bestow gold trophies for best comedy actor and
actress at a time of national mourning."
There was no disagreement between the Academy of Television Arts and
Sciences and CBS about postponing the telecast, O'Neil says. However, the
length of the delay was a subject of some debate. "CBS leaders
pressed hard for the Emmycast to take place on Sept. 23 just one
week after it was originally scheduled," he explains. "But TV academy
leaders insisted that more time was
needed for America to cope with the shock of recent events."
Tragic news stories have delayed the film world's big kudofest
the Academy Awards on two occasions: In 1968, the Oscars were
pushed back two days following the assassination of Martin Luther King,
Jr.; and in 1981, President Ronald Reagan was shot just a day
before the telecast leading officials to postpone the show a
According to O'Neil, next month's Emmy awards hosted by Ellen
will "reflect the seriousness and gravity of the
national mood." As a result, DeGeneres's original opening monologue
reportedly has been dropped, as has a Saturday Night Live
package. A tribute to David Angell
the late co-creator of Frasier
who was a victim in Tuesday's attacks is also being considered.