Opinion: Emmys felt ‘speed up’ this year

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Commentary from Michael P. Hill, founder and publisher of broadcast industry news publication NewscastStudio, and a Chicago TV critic.

NBC’s telecast of the 70th Primetime Emmy Awards not only scored low in the ratings, but it also felt rushed and fast.

Several departures from typical awards show presentation helped speed up the show:

  • Award presenters did not announce nominees — instead they were either shown on screen with a lower third and “natural sound” from the show or, in some categories, the show’s male announcer read the nominees. Most awards shows now pre-record the presenters reading the nominee names.
  • The often awkward banter before giving an award was cut down significantly, sometimes only allowing for a single one line joke.
  • Acceptance speeches were also kept short, with an off-screen countdown advising winners how much time they had left (with the exception of the Oscars director Glenn Weiss’ acceptance speech turned proposal).
  • Often, winners appeared to give a panicked glance at the countdown and abruptly wrapped up their speech. A few even opted to almost completely forgo an acceptance speech — instead promising to thank everyone “later.”
  • The show didn’t, despite the faster pace, manage to eschew the cliche of awards shows running over — but it did only run approximately 7 minutes over.