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Top Five Ways to Fix the Emmy Awards

Five Ways to Fix the Emmys

This year's Emmys were among the lowest-rated in history, and ever since Sunday night, industry types have been trying to figure out what went wrong. Was it the five reality hosts? The low-rated nature of many of the winners and nominees? The fact that fewer people are watching live TV at all these days?

Obviously, it's too late to save this year's broadcast — but I'm looking toward the future. From what I saw, both behind the scenes and on TV, I think the Emmys can still be salvaged. Here are the top five ways I'd do it:

No. 5: Give out more awards. I'm not saying to make the show longer. Believe me, I would never say that. But there are approximately a gazillion Emmy categories, and most of them don't even make the TV broadcast. Why not stage the Outstanding Choreography routines live? Or do some sort of costume gallery like the Oscars broadcast often does? And the guest stars — such a big part of so many shows — should absolutely get their awards on the big night. There are some cool things that most of us never get to see, and putting them in the show would cut down on all that filler.

No. 4: Pay tribute to TV the right way. I really enjoyed the classic TV lines montage that opened this year's Emmys, and seeing the famous sets like Seinfeld's diner recreated on the Nokia Theatre stage was pretty cool. But the Laugh-In montage was a bust, and all the reality TV blather just highlighted what annoys so many of us about TV these days. When I'm watching a celebration of the best of television, I shouldn't leave feeling embarrassed for the medium.

To see my top three, just


No. 3: Let the winners speak . . . Honestly. It's a three-hour show. There are maybe two dozen awards. We wouldn't miss much if we cut a few "comedy" bits in exchange for hearing more from the winners whom the Emmys are supposedly honoring. When you're turning up the music on Tom Hanks — probably the biggest star at the Emmys — and cutting some speeches entirely, you're doing something wrong. Sure, winners shouldn't get to talk forever, but a full 30 or 45 seconds before the music kicks in wouldn't be so bad, right?

No. 2: . . . and don't censor what they have to say. If the producers wouldn't normally bleep a word or cut away from a speech because of FCC indecency regulations, they shouldn't do it on Emmy night. It's awkward and uncomfortable for everyone.

No. 1: Ditch the host. Just do it. Go cold turkey. I don't care if they've already lined up Ellen, Ricky Gervais, or even the ghost of George Carlin himself — skip the host altogether next time. The Golden Globes do it, and (with the exception of last year's strike-induced fiasco) that's one of the more delightful awards shows around. Plus, as Gervais showed this year — and as I'm sure Kristin Chenoweth and Neil Patrick Harris would have, given the chance — the nominees and presenters are plenty funny all on their own. Just let them run the show.


jaimed963 jaimed963 9 years
I can't stand the Emmys and I quit watching the Oscars ages ago. Its just so boring, how can you watch the same thing year after year? Out of all the award shows I probably like the one put on by MTV.
Phil Phil 9 years
NatashaAlexis - I like your idea about featuring clips from some returning shows. I would even love to see the Emmy's feature clips from series pilots that will be debuting in the mid-season. It would give some needed attention to new mid-season programs (remember that Buffy, The Office and Grey's Anatomy were brought in as mid-season replacement shows). This year's Emmy's would have perfect for that, considering this year's Strike-burdened fall season is so lackluster save for Fringe, The Mentalist and Life on Mars. This year's mid-season may be the most promising with such innovative shows (Captain Cook's Extraordinary Adventure, Prince of Motor City, Cupid, et al) possibly making a play to series. It would do well to make an event of the winter/spring premiers as it is what fall should have been this TV season.
NatashaAlexis NatashaAlexis 9 years
I'm not seeing two or one, where are they? Anyway, I think the show needs to be more laid back. Start by cutting out all the fillers, have a comedian host, and hold it the week before premears. Show clips of returning favorites to catch everyone up that had not been watching, and show previews for the new shows. This would introduced people to shows they may like, creating higher ratings. Also they may want to consider adding clips of views favorites. I agree that the winners speaking is more interesting than all the scripted crap, but I don't think they need more awards! Oh, and I liked the laugh In bit, however shortly after that I found myself turning the tv off.
NatashaAlexis NatashaAlexis 9 years
I'm not seein two or one, where are they? Anyway, I think the show needs to be more laid back. Start by cutting out all the fillers, have a comedan host, and hold it the week before premeairs. Show clips of returning favorites to catch everyone up that had not been watching, and show previews for the new shows. This would introduced people to shows they may like, creating higher ratings. I agree that the winners speaking is more intersting than all the scriped crap, but I dont think they need more awards! Oh, and I liked the laugh In bit, however shortly after that I found myself turning the tv off.
geohiker geohiker 9 years
I can not even be bothered to watch the Emmys; after overlooking all the great shows I love to watch and consistently nominating the Same Damn Shows over and over again long after any relevance has passed from them, I just do not care. I know what shows I like and do not care whether they ever win an award. So, my change would be: nominate a wider variety of shows and better shows. One or two shows seem to win all the awards every year. Aren't the Emmy voters watching TV? I'm assuming the answer is no.
Phil Phil 9 years
What went wrong with the Emmy's this year was that it didn't feel like it was celebrating the excellence achieved in television at all. Rather, it felt more like the the network wanted to air the Emmy's to boost Sunday night ratings and the producers wanted to use the award show to promote itself. This year's Emmy's should have been bold, breaking out of the shadow of the Writers' Strike and making the statement that the TV world is moving on and is as strong as ever. The Emmy's should have done what was earlier intended, celebrating great television writing from the dawn of entertainment television to the present golden age of television. Instead, the Emmy's this year can be summed up as conservative. Conservative in the ceremony not being broadcast live, and thus subject to awkward editing. Conservative in rushing the show to adhere to time constraints, and thus cutting many theatrical elements of the show and doing the presenters, nominees and winners injustice by rushing their dialogue, their nominations and their acceptances. As I watched the telecast, I got the strong sense that the producers were telling their crew to just hurry up and get the awards out so they can cut the broadcast in time for the 11:00 p.m. local news. Because of that, it felt like the awards were just being thrown out there in a hurry. As for a host, they can do wonders as long as it's a strong personality. It all started to go downhill on last year's telecast with Ryan Seacrest hosting. The Emmy's should not allow any more reality TV show hosts to host the Emmy's. Most of the people who watch the Emmy's probably don't watch any or watch very little reality TV. In recent years, Conan O'Brien, Gary Shandling and Ellen DeGeneres have done fantastic jobs hosting. The Emmy's felt more like it was presented to aggrandize reality TV. Yes, they handed out the awards to the scripted shows. But, how much writing was put into the production? Again, many of the theatrical elements of the show were cut, and all the Emmy writers were able to show were their skills (or lack thereof) of writing banter for five reality TV presenters. More work seemed to have gone into the editing than the writing. And it showed. It showed why so many of us look at reality TV with such disdain.
Phasekitty Phasekitty 9 years
#5 is an excellent point. I've never understood why they have a host at all...shoot they had 5 hosts this year and I think winners like Tina Fey had more screen time than they did. The host is completely pointless and definitely what makes the GG such a pleasant experience.
Mykie7 Mykie7 9 years
And QUIT calling it "The Oscar's for television" because it's just NOT, okay?
Entertainment Entertainment 9 years
I think a tribute to after-school specials would be one of the best things I've seen on the Emmys, ever. Awesome idea.
pinky-tuscadero pinky-tuscadero 9 years
I flat-out agree with CaterpillarGirl about the 70's 80' and 90's kids. A tribute to the after school specials would be fantastic! The Emmys needs a swift kick in the butt to stay afloat. I think they are taking themselves waaay too seriously. Here's an idea: Just have one host, stop trying to reinvent the wheel. Get a better caliber of writers and put some though into celebrating television for the 21st century or they will have zero viewers come September 2009.
suziryder suziryder 9 years
Hm, what about ideas 1 and 2? Am I the only one who doesn't see them?
Mykie7 Mykie7 9 years
I've always felt that awards shows should be put on as an "On-demand" kind of show. 99% of people hate them, and they interrupt their shows. I think they'd get a much better following if they were on-demand and then those of us that DO enjoy them could watch them at our leisure AND they could be as LONG as they need to be, speeches wouldn't be cut out, we could skip the comedy that maybe we DON'T enjoy and no censoring would be required.
tiabia tiabia 9 years
There are honestly NO surprises when it comes to the Emmy Awards. First the nominees are always easy pickings...the last "out the box" choice was probably Mike Chiklis for The Shield. The fact that the Emmy's continues to ignore some of the better shows out there (ahem The Wire>/i> AND It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia), leave a lot of potential viewers out. I'm tired of "Emmy Award" darlings every year!!!
CoralAmber CoralAmber 9 years
I wish they would stop the stupid comedy bits the presenters have. We all know they are reading a teleprompter and someone else wrote the jokes. It's not funny! They even cut to a pre-recorded clip of their voice saying the nominees names so they can do it fast without screwing up.
ilanac13 ilanac13 9 years
i think taht we're a generation that doesn't care as much about the awards shows as we used to. i think that as far as performances go, we can all appreciate the shows that are being highlighted, but i don't think that we find as much value in it as we used to. back in the day, if you heard that an emmy winner or oscar winner was in a movie you were excited and they made more $$ for it. now, i think that it's just about celebrity and that's why we're inclined to see things, so the awards shows just aren't as relevant. i hope for the sake of tradition, they are able to figure out what to do to infuse life back into the show.
cmd0610 cmd0610 9 years
I agree on point #3, I enjoy seeing the actors out of character and as themselves, as real people- they need more time for their acceptance speeches and less blabbing from lame hosts.
Linda-McP Linda-McP 9 years
Couldn't agree more about ditching the host, especially after this year's fiasco and cutting the "comedic" interludes. I actually like the historical looks back, but not when they are so poorly done. The "Sock it to Me" bit was funny for about 5 seconds; after that, it was cringe worthy for sure.
deanna024 deanna024 9 years
I'm with Caterpillar -- I don't think it could be pepped up. I don't want to watch the shows get awards -- I want to watch the shows themselves! It's nice that they get honored, but the real entertainment for me is the actors and the writers at work. Why watch the whole show when you can just read/watch the recap the next day?
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 9 years
I honestly dont know how they could pep it up. They need better Hosts, better presenters, They need to stop catering to the old folks home and start realizing that the viewers are the kids who grew up in the 70's 80' and 90's not the 50's and 60's. I want to see frikking kristy McNichol and a tribute to the after school specials! not laugh in and dragnet.
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