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Tonight's much-delayed Emmy's honors what may feel like old TV performances

JUANA SUMMERS, HOST:

The 75th Emmy Awards will air live tonight from Los Angeles. You might be wondering if it's normal that this ceremony celebrating prime-time television shows and streaming series is happening on a public holiday. The answer is no. NPR's Mandalit del Barco reports on the much-delayed ceremony, which will honor what might feel like long-ago TV performances.

MANDALIT DEL BARCO, BYLINE: Last summer Hollywood writers and performers were on the picket lines, demanding new contracts with the studios and streamers. TV productions were stalled. Writers and actors couldn't talk about their work, much less attend any events like red carpets or award shows. So the Television Academy decided to push the Emmys from last September to this month. That means nominations may feel a bit dated.

(SOUNDBITE OF NICHOLAS BRITELL'S "SUCCESSION (MAIN TITLE THEME)")

DEL BARCO: The fourth and final season of "Succession," which ended in May, leads the pack with 27 nominations.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "THE LAST OF US")

BELLA RAMSEY: (As Ellie Williams) After all we've been through.

DEL BARCO: The first season of HBO's "The Last Of Us" ended in March. Now it's up against "Succession" for outstanding drama. So is the Star Wars series "Andor," which ended in November of 2022, and "Better Call Saul," which ended even earlier in August of 2022.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "BETTER CALL SAUL")

BOB ODENKIRK: (As Saul Goodman) Who's here to see Saul Goodman?

CLAYTON DAVIS: "Better Call Saul" has been off the air for about 18 months, and we're still trying to get Bob Odenkirk an Emmy. So it gets a little strange around this time.

DEL BARCO: Clayton Davis is senior awards editor at Variety.

DAVIS: We just watched Jeremy Allen White and Ayo Edebiri win Golden Globes for Season 2 of "The Bear," and we still don't know if they won Emmys for Season 1.

DEL BARCO: Nominations for the Emmys were announced last July, and voting ended in August, in the middle of the double strikes.

DAVIS: There were still billboards, and everyone could see who was in the Emmy race. But, you know, the social media of these actors were quiet. The social media of writers were quiet. You know, they couldn't promote anything. We might see maybe one of the purest Emmy winners that we've seen in some time because there was no campaigning. So people just had their own feelings about these TV shows.

DEL BARCO: Davis wonders, in the outstanding comedy series category, if "The Bear" will maul "Ted Lasso."

DAVIS: And then there's "Abbott Elementary." A broadcast show hasn't won since "Modern Family" Season 5. So can this be the revival of broadcast television? These are the questions that I'm dying to know.

DEL BARCO: Davis notes that the eligibility for the next Emmy Awards comes up soon, in just four months. That ceremony is still scheduled for September, though this past year's TV production delays could make for another unusual awards race. Meanwhile, tonight actor and comedian Anthony Anderson will host the Emmys. Four years ago, he was tapped for a comedic bit during the show. From his seat in the audience, he bounded on stage and backstage to look for someone to emcee that ceremony.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

ANTHONY ANDERSON: We're saved. Ladies and gentlemen, I saved the Emmys.

DEL BARCO: After the widely agreed-upon disaster that was the Golden Globes host job last week, viewers may be watching to see if Anderson can help rev excitement for the winners of this year's Emmy Awards. Mandalit del Barco, NPR News, Los Angeles.

(SOUNDBITE OF MONTELL JORDAN SONG, "THIS IS HOW WE DO IT") 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.

As an arts correspondent based at NPR West, Mandalit del Barco reports and produces stories about film, television, music, visual arts, dance and other topics. Over the years, she has also covered everything from street gangs to Hollywood, police and prisons, marijuana, immigration, race relations, natural disasters, Latino arts and urban street culture (including hip hop dance, music, and art). Every year, she covers the Oscars and the Grammy awards for NPR, as well as the Sundance Film Festival and other events. Her news reports, feature stories and photos, filed from Los Angeles and abroad, can be heard on All Things Considered, Morning Edition, Weekend Edition, Alt.latino, and npr.org.