6 Hopes for the Virtual 2020 Primetime Emmys

Emmys 2020 Virtual Ceremony Hopes
Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

The annual celebration of excellence in television will be a bit different this year.

The 72nd Primetime Emmy Awards are going virtual, like the Daytime Emmys in June, though ABC and the Television Academy do plan "to deliver a live show that is both celebratory and safe," they said in a joint statement. So far, the executive producers — host Jimmy Kimmel, Ian Stewart, Reggie Hudlin, Guy Carrington and David Jammy — have only informed the nominees of the decision, and details have yet to be announced.

But while we wait to hear more, we've put together a list of our hopes for the night below.

72nd Primetime Emmy Awards, Sunday, September 20, 8/7c, ABC

Emmys Presenter Interaction
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

As much interaction as possible

There’s usually a bit between the presenters for an award, and let’s keep that part of the ceremony (but without each pair remarking on the virtual nature of it in a slightly different way). Try to make sure the back-and-forth flows, too. A stilted conversation on-stage is bad enough; it’ll be worse (and much more obvious) over Zoom. And take advantage of anyone who’s living together by pairing them.

Virtual Emmys Ceremony At Home
CBS

Maintain a cozy vibe, even with the production help

As noted in the letter to the nominees, there will be technicians, producers and writers available to make them (and anyone with them) “look fabulous,” but let’s not pretend that they’re anywhere near the usual setting of the Microsoft Theatre in Los Angeles. After all, the time difference for some (as well as what’s going on in the world then) will mean they won’t be anywhere but in their homes.

Virtual Emmys Conference Glitches
CBS

At least one (minor) technical glitch

The Daytime Emmys’ virtual ceremony went off without a hitch, but having everything recorded beforehand made it feel a bit monotonous. (Though that was understandable since it was the test subject for this kind of event.) But because there’s an emphasis on this being “live,” let’s have someone (briefly) forget to turn on the camera or microphone or miss a cue they wouldn’t have in person.

Emmys Statue Award Winner
Vince Bucci/Photo by Getty Images

Don't tell the winners beforehand

Sure, that means they won’t have a statue to hold — and please, no cheesy graphic of one! — but maintain the element of surprise.

Regina King Best Dressed Emmys 2019
Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

A range of formal and informal wear (and a mix!)

As detailed in the letter to the nominees, they’re invited to “come as you are, but make an effort,” whether that be “in formal wear” or “designer pajamas.” Let’s see a mix, and we’re counting on at least a couple of the stars having fun with this. Who will be the first to be dressed to the nines up top and wearing pajama pants?

Virtual Emmys Onscreen People
CBS

Mix it up on-screen (but don't go overboard)

It’s one thing to pan to the attendees’ reactions throughout the night when everyone’s there in person. It’s much harder to do so when everyone’s going to be participating virtually; plan for the adjustments that need to be made when cutting away to people.

Also, keep the winners the focus onscreen during the acceptance speeches and don’t have too many people onscreen at the same time.