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Hollywood strikes may cause the Emmys to delay its planned September broadcast

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

A number of news outlets are now reporting the 75th Emmy Awards have been postponed due to ongoing strikes by Hollywood writers and actors. It's the first such delay since the Emmys were postponed after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Here's Frank Scherma, chairman of the Television Academy, which presents the awards, announcing nominations back on July 12 and sounding like the September air date might not be set in stone.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

FRANK SCHERMA: And join us for the 75th Emmy Awards, currently planned for Monday, September 18 at 8 p.m. Eastern on Fox.

KELLY: NPR TV critic Eric Deggans is with us now. Hey there.

ERIC DEGGANS, BYLINE: Hi.

KELLY: OK. Tell me more about this delay and when we might actually see the Emmys broadcast.

DEGGANS: Yeah. It looks like those current plans didn't quite turn out.

KELLY: Yeah.

DEGGANS: So far, Fox and the TV Academy have refused to comment on the record. But the trade publication Variety reported yesterday that vendors working on the show were notified that the Emmys would be delayed. Now, the Los Angeles Times has reported the ceremonies moving to January, but I haven't yet heard a definitive date in my own reporting.

KELLY: OK.

DEGGANS: This isn't particularly surprising to those of us who watch the industry. I mean, I've said on this show, when the Emmy nominations were announced more than two weeks ago, that I didn't expect the show to go on September 18 if the actors went on strike. And that's exactly what happened.

KELLY: You told us so (laughter). We should have listened.

DEGGANS: I did.

KELLY: I will note the Tony Awards did go on even in the wake of the writers strike. Why can't the Emmys move forward?

DEGGANS: Well, in the past, you know, the TV Academy has indicated that they plan to stick with their original schedule of voting, which means final votes on nominees would begin August 17 and end August 28. They're going to reveal publicly the winners whenever the telecast happens. But you've got to remember that actors weren't on strike during the Tony Awards, and the Tonys got the Writers Guild of America to agree not to picket them. So in the case of the Emmys, both the writers and the actors are barred from promoting projects that are covered by the strike. So most of the televised winners wouldn't be able to show up until the strikes are over. And it's a tough blow for the Emmys because they were looking forward to celebrating their 75th ceremony one year after the 2022 telecast, which drew the lowest ratings in the awards' history.

KELLY: Well, that's an interesting point. Given those low ratings, given that audiences have shown less interest in award ceremonies in recent years, do we even care that the Emmy Awards are delayed?

DEGGANS: Well, you know, I've always said that events like the pandemic shutdown and now these strikes accelerate trends in media that are already underway. So, yeah, it might accelerate a disinterest in the Emmys. But this is also an example of how the cost of these strikes are beginning to gather steam. The African American Film Critics Association is also moving its TV honors awards from August to October 29. This could be a really tough moment for the Emmys because the show airs in January 2024. It'll be honoring shows that aired quite a long time ago. The ceremony might look like a step behind shows like the Golden Globes and the Critics Choice Awards, which are planned for early 2024, but they have later deadlines than the Emmys. I mean, years ago, the Emmys used to kick off the new fall broadcast TV season. But now you might have a situation where somebody like Jamie Lee Curtis, who did a great job on "The Bear" on FX, won't even be nominated for the Emmys, but she could win Golden Globes or Critics Choice Awards.

KELLY: All righty (ph). Thank you, Eric.

DEGGANS: Thank you.

KELLY: That's NPR TV critic Eric Deggans. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Eric Deggans is NPR's first full-time TV critic.