The 2020 Emmy Awards could change everything for the future of award shows

The 2020 Emmy Awards are going to look way different this year.

We already knew the 2020 Emmy Awards were going to be a change of pace from previous years due to the ongoing pandemic making it impossible for giant gatherings. It was previously announced that the show would still happen at a semi-normal time and not be postponed — like the Academy Awards were — but then we learned the entire thing would be virtual.

Now, Deadline has announced another big change is coming to the 2020 Emmy Awards that could fundamentally change how award shows are presented in the future. This year, the Creative Arts and Primetime Emmy Awards will be aired across six nights.

2020 Emmy Awards: How will they fare being divided up across six nights?

In the past, the Creative Arts Emmy Awards have aired across two nights, as they tend to be watched less than the Primetime awards. Creative Arts focuses on writing, sound editing, picture editing, sketch shows, variety shows, etc. While Primetime Emmy Awards are about the stars and the official “Best Drama” and “Best Comedy” winners.

Still, they’ve never all been aired in succession across a week before and they’ve never been virtual.

It’s also interesting that ABC opted to bring Jimmy Kimmel back to host the show again when we’ve already had several successful host-less award shows. The hosts don’t generally seem to add much to the overall ceremony, if anything, they make it a longer and more tedious affair, even if they are sometimes enjoyable to watch.

Most people just want to see the awards given and listen to the speeches, and see the Hollywood glamor, too, of course.

With the entire show going virtual, it’s already going to be strange to watch celebrities accept their awards via webcams, many of which I’m sure will have technical issues, but could this set a precedent for how award shows are done in the future?

2020 Emmy Awards: Could this help cut down the runtime?

The Emmy Awards and the Academy Awards are notorious for going over their runtime. Your DVR might say the show is going to air from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m., but expect to stick around until at least 11:30 p.m., if not later. If they chopped the show up into smaller segments, it might be better for audiences and viewers.

But then it also starts to beg the question whether these shows need to still air on television at all. Why not condense them to viral clips? Most of the time, people skip the show and then catch up on the most outrageous, weird, and funniest bits via YouTube the next day.

The major awards are not being chopped up, I should not, as they will still all air in succession on the September 20 telecast, but with the “week-long” festivities type of thing they’re doing this year, I could see it marking a change for how the entertainment industry might approach award shows moving forward.

Emmy Awards

LOS ANGELES, CA – SEPTEMBER 06: Scenes from the 70th Emmy Awards Governors Ball and 2018 Creative Arts Governors Ball press preview at L.A. Live Event Deck on September 6, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

2020 Emmy Awards: Ratings have been on the decline for years, could this be the shake-up we need?

Let’s face it, in recent years, ratings for all of the shows have been on the decline. Award shows are not major can’t-miss television anymore and there are a few reasons for that. For one, people don’t necessarily have the basic network channels anymore with cord-cutting and streaming on the rise.

It’s sort of ironic that the majority of shows nominated (broadcast was totally shut out this year) are all on streaming services, yet we still turn to a somewhat antiquated method of giving out awards back on broadcast television. It doesn’t make much sense.

While I do enjoy the prestige and fashion of these ceremonious events, I also think they could get the point across in a more succinct and bite-sized fashion. As I mentioned, a lot of people don’t want to tune-in to a three-hour show when they’re only interested in a handful of categories, especially when they’re going to be interrupted every fifteen minutes by a lengthy commercial break.

It’s no wonder they would rather wait and read Buzzfeed’s “Best Of” moments and cycle through a YouTube highlight reel.

The future of the Emmys and award shows in general

Do I think 2020’s show is going to be the final nail in the coffin for the old way of broadcasting award shows? No. I think Hollywood loves to pat itself on the back and tout social justice reform (despite often not putting their money where their mouth is) to do away with the whole song and dance (please no more song and dance numbers, save that for the Tony’s people) immediately.

But I do think it could be a potential step in the right direction. Or maybe it’ll be a step backward and Hollywood will bloat the Emmys even more in the future, dividing it up across two weeks! It remains to be seen how the entertainment industry is going to recover from the entire mess that 2020 has been.

Here’s a summarized version of the schedule, but the complete thing is available at Deadline:

  • Monday, September 14: Reality and Nonfiction
  • Tuesday, September 15: Variety
  • Wednesday, September 16: Scripted Night One
  • Thursday, September 17: Scripted Night Two
  • Saturday, September 19 (FXX): An eclectic mix of awards across all genres
  • Sunday, September 20: Primetime Emmy Awards

Are you planning to watch the Creative Arts and Primetime Emmy Awards across all six nights? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.