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No audience, no red carpet, and 140 live feeds: producers prep this year's remote Emmys telecast

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ABC/Jeff Lipsky(LOS ANGELES) — Like millions of Americans in COVID-19 lockdown, it seems celebrities will be ordering in — when it comes to the Emmy Awards, that is. 

Reginald Hudlin and Ian Stewart, the executive producers of September’s 72nd Emmy Awards, explained to Variety just how they plan to pull off a telecast unlike any other in the award show’s history. 

Jimmy Kimmel will be hosting live from the Staples Center in Los Angeles — across the street from the Emmys’ usual digs, the Microsoft Center — but he’ll be playing to an empty house.

The Staples Center was chosen, the producers explained, because it was large enough to ensure social distancing rules for crews, and it was the only such venue that could handle as many as 140 live camera feeds coming in from performers and nominees, wherever they may be.

“[W]e’re going to take cameras to where they are,” Hudlin says of the celebs. “They might be at home, they might be in the garden, might be in a hotel, they might be standing on the side of the street. It doesn’t really matter, wherever they feel comfortable. But we want to bring every nominee that we can logistically, live into the show.”

The producers are even willing to have a nominee’s family member shoot the action, if a star isn’t willing to have a crew member enter the family’s quarantine “bubble.”

Stewart explains the goal is to avoid the now-ubiquitous Zoom-box interface. “We’re not trying to make the Zoomies, we’re trying to make the Emmys,” he jokes.  “We shouldn’t lose sight that Emmys are prestigious awards, and we’re not giving them out for fun, we’re giving them out to reflect excellence.”

The telecast will air September 20 at 8 p.m. Eastern time on ABC.

By Stephen Iervolino
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