It's true that the producers of the Emmys have decided to compress this year's telecast using time-shifting. But they promise it's all in service of creating a more entertaining show.
Faced with the prospect of having to present 28 awards in only two hours, nine minutes and 35 seconds, Don Mischer, executive producer of the telecast, outlined what the time-shifting will entail.
Essentially, eight awards — two each from the directing, acting, writing and producing categories — will be recorded 45 minutes in advance of the telecast's timeslot. They'll then be compressed by editing out dead moments like applause and the winners' walks up to the stage. The awards will then be reinserted in their edited form later in the "live" broadcast.
Mischer acknowledged that all awards shows have suffered in the ratings, and that the planned changes are an unabashed effort to attract more viewers. "We're trying to reshape the Emmys a little bit, trying to protect it as a major television event," he said.
According to research conducted by the TV academy, he said, some people skip the Emmys because their favorite shows are rarely featured. Further, Mischer said that 65 percent of last year's winners were from what he calls "niche shows" — shows with very low viewership. "We need to be more connected to mainstream audiences," he said.
The extra time will be used to show more long-form content — say, particularly dramatic or funny scenes from across the television spectrum, not just the evening's nominees.
The Emmy awards, hosted by Neil Patrick Harris, will air on CBS on Sunday, Sept. 20.