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Emmys 2020: How to Watch, Who's Nominated, Celebrity Guests, and More

The show must go on

Allison Picurro

While many award shows have been disrupted due to COVID-19 restrictions, the 72nd Primetime Emmy Awards are still set to air live Sunday, Sept. 20 at 8/7c on ABC. However, like everything this year, they're going to look a little different than what you're normally used to. Hollywood is still figuring out best practices for returning to production, so Emmys 2020 will be a virtual affair.

Jimmy Kimmel is hosting this year's telecast for the third time, and while the third time might be the charm, this will certainly look different than any of his previous years on the Emmys stage. In a press Q&A on Wednesday, Sept. 16, Emmys executive producers Ian Stewart and Reginald Hudlin gave a preview of what can be expected from this year's telecast. Camera equipment, including ring lights, are being sent out to nominees and participants so they can tune into the broadcast from their homes, while Stewart and Hudlin added that they have even heard of a few stars having custom Emmys pajamas made. (One nominee, according to the executive producers, is even looking forward to bringing their dog to this year's awards.)

Stewart went on to admit that things may even go wrong, but he's not worried about Kimmel's ability to handle it. "We're going to try our best, and the good thing about that is we've got Jimmy Kimmel who loves live TV and he loves live chaos TV," he said. "I think he's actually hoping things do go wrong."

While we wait to see which year's nominees, which include WatchmenInsecureThe Handmaid's Tale, and Schitt's Creek, take home an Emmy award, let's look forward to what TV's biggest night has in store for us. Read on to find out everything we know so far about Emmys 2020.

Who are the 2020 Emmy nominees?

Netflix dominated this year's Emmy nominations with a whopping 160 nods across categories, including 18 nominations for Ozark, 13 for The Crown, and 12 for Hollywood, with all making strong showings in the drama series category. Meanwhile, HBO's Watchmen was the most-nominated program of all, with 26 nods, including Outstanding Limited Series and an Outstanding Actress in a Limited Series or Movie nomination for Regina King. Hulu also brought in some nods for The Handmaid's Tale, including a nomination for Outstanding Drama Series, a nomination for Samira Wiley in Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama, and one for Bradley Whitford in Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama.

The comedy category is also stacked, especially in terms of first-time Emmy nominees. Stars like Yvonne Orji and Annie Murphy secured their first nominations in the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series category for Insecure and Schitt's Creek, respectively. Ramy Youssef received his first nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series for Ramy, while William Jackson Harper became a first-time Emmy nominee with a nod in Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for his performance in the final season of The Good Place.

There were also some major snubs, including the fact that Rhea Seehorn (the Emmy award winner of our hearts) yet again did not walk away as a 2020 Emmy nominee despite a stellar showing in Better Call Saul's penultimate season, and other stars who were highly prolific this year were somehow also omitted from the list. On the bright side, there's a lot more diversity to be found in this year's Emmy award nominations. See the full list of Emmy nominees here, and check out TV Guide's Emmy predictions here.

Who Will Win at the 2020 Emmys?

When are the 72nd Primetime Emmy Awards?

This year's Emmys are set to air on Sunday, Sept. 20 at 8/7c on ABC. Instead of being held in the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, the show will be taken virtual. In a letter to nominees, this year's Emmy executive producers informed actors that the show would go on, just from the safety of their homes. 

"We are assembling a top notch team of technicians, producers and writers to work closely with Jimmy Kimmel and with you and your team, to make sure that we can film with you (and loved ones or whomever else you choose to be with) at your home, or another location of your choice," Varietyreports the letter said. "We're going to make you look fabulous – we're exploring the cutting edge of technology to allow to use good cameras and lighting and look forward to working with you to produce your unique 'on screen' moments.'"

Will There Be a Red Carpet?

There won't be a red carpet per se but ABC has also announced a 90-minute live virtual pre-show hosted by Good Morning America weekend co-anchors Eva Pilgrim and Whit Johnson, and ABC News correspondent Janai Norman. It will begin streaming at 6:30/5:30c and will feature live interviews with nominees, predictions about who will win, and give us a sneak peek at this year's "couch couture" in lieu of red carpet arrivals.

Over on E!, in the absence of an in-person red carpet, Giuliana Rancic and Vivica A. Fox will headline E!'s Live From The Red Carpet: The 2020 Emmy Awards beginning at 5 p.m. ET/2 p.m. PT to bring fans interviews and spontaneous moments with primetime TV's biggest stars and nominees alongside E! Style Correspondent Brad Goreski, pop culture expert, Naz Perez and E! News' The Rundown host, Erin Lim. Coverage begins at 4:30 p.m. ET/1:30 p.m. PT with E! Countdown to the Red Carpet: The 2020 Emmy Awards. 

What channel are the Emmys on this year?

After airing on Fox in 2019, the 2020 Emmys telecast will return to ABC.

How can you watch the Emmys?

In addition to the live TV broadcast, those with cable subscriptions can tune in via ABC's siteThe Emmys website typically hosts a backstage livestream during the show, though there's no telling yet how that will be impacted by the potential changes to the ceremony.

When are the Creative Arts Emmys?

The Television Academy announced that the Creative Arts Emmys would also go virtual this year. Originally set to air over two nights on Sept. 12-13, the Creative Arts Emmys were instead spread across this entire week, beginning Monday, Sept. 14. They span the course of six days, with the first five nights streaming on Emmys.com, and the final night of awards airing on FXX on Saturday, Sept. 19. All of the acceptance speeches were pre-taped in an effort to streamline the event. Find the full list of Creative Arts Emmy winners here.

Who is hosting the Emmys?

After last year's host-less Emmys, Jimmy Kimmel is set to host and executive produce this year's broadcast. He previously emceed the awards in 2012 and 2016. Upon announcing his return, Kimmel appeared to be just as confused as anyone about what the job will entail this year, writing in a tweet, "I don't know where we will do this or how we will do this or even why we are doing this, but we are doing it and I am hosting it." 

Jimmy Kimmel

Jimmy Kimmel

ABC/Jeff Lipsk

What will the virtual production look like?

According to Variety, Kimmel will be hosting the telecast live from the Staples Center with no red carpet or audience. Some presenters of categories will be joining him in the Staples Center while others will be remote. This year's production will also include camera operators at most of the nominees' locations -- as many as they can have participate while following social distancing and safety guidelines -- which means at many as 140 live feeds will be wired through the Staples Center's massive production facility. The move for broadcast crews (which in some cases means members inside the nominee's COVID bubbles will be operating the equipment with remote technical help) is an effort to avoid teleconferencing platforms (Zoom, Skype, etc.) which might affect video or sound quality. 

"This will all depend on the comfort level of the people at the other end, but we've got to go and find them," Ian Stewart, whose company is involved with production, said. "They might be at home, they might be in the garden, might be in a hotel, they might be standing on the side of the street. It doesn't really matter, wherever they feel comfortable. But we want to bring every nominee that we can logistically, live into the show." In September, ABC shared this behind-the-scenes look at the camera packages being distributed to nominees.

Emmys camera package


Kimmel also told Variety that this year's show would, "pay tribute to the people who are leading us through this pandemic." Kimmel also indicated that while many participants will be doing so from a distance, there may be some socially distanced audience members at the Staples Center.

Which stars will be part of the show? 

Without a red carpet or a star-studded audience, you might be wondering how you will get your yearly dose of TV celebs all in one place? It turns out some stars will be making "special appearances" during the show, and the Emmys have announced the latest group of celebrities who will be showing up. Participants in the 72nd Annual Emmy Awards include Ty Burrell, Ken Jeong, Mindy Kaling, Tatiana Maslany, Bob NewhartJason Bateman, Sterling K. Brown, Laverne Cox, Morgan Freeman, Ilana Glazer, Abbi Jacobson, Lin-Manuel Miranda, D-Nice, Randall Park, RuPaul, Patrick Stewart, Jason Sudeikis, plus Sesame Street's Count Von Count. They join previously announced stars Anthony Anderson, America Ferrera, Issa Rae, Gabrielle Union, J.J. Watt, Lena Waithe, and Oprah Winfrey. Additionally, singer-songwriter and Grammy-winning artist H.E.R. will make her Emmy debut for a special "In Memoriam" performance.

The 2020 Primetime Emmy Awards will air live Sunday, Sept. 20 at 8/7c on ABC.