What do Gerald Ford, “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and the American Bicentennial have in common? They were all hot topics the last time the Emmys aired on a Monday.
As has been much publicized in recent days, the Primetime Emmy Awards will air on a Monday this year for the first time since 1976. Along with pretty much every major awards telecast, television’s biggest night is typically celebrated on a Sunday. It’s one of the few things in Hollywood you can truly count on. But that’s not the case this year. When host Seth Meyers joins nominees Bryan Cranston, Lena Dunham, Woody Harrelson and others at the Nokia Theatre in downtown Los Angeles on Aug. 25, they’ll be fighting busy traffic on the most miserable workday of the week.
So what’s going on? Let’s start with “Sunday Night Football,” a big ratings draw for NBC, which is airing the Emmys telecast this year. (As the Hollywood Reporter noted, the Big Four networks alternate Emmys telecasts every four years, and this year is NBC’s turn.) NBC won the rights for “Sunday Night Football” back in 2006. Ever since then, the network has opted to avoid scheduling conflicts by airing the Emmys earlier than their typical air date. So while the Emmys telecast is usually in September, NBC sometimes airs it in late August to avoid an overlap with the games, which also begin in September. For instance, in 2006 and 2010, NBC aired the Emmys on Aug. 29 and 27, respectively.
Confused yet? Keep reading. The Peacock could have aired the Emmys this Sunday, Aug. 24, but that would have conflicted with another big awards show: MTV’s Video Music Awards, which is already airing on that night. Granted, MTV doesn’t actually show music videos anymore, but its VMAs telecast typically nets upwards of 10 million viewers, so no sense in competing unnecessarily.
If you have a calendar in front of you, you may have noticed that there is still one Sunday left in August. So why not air the Emmys on Sunday, Aug. 31? Apparently, NBC didn’t want to air the telecast on Labor Day weekend, as New York magazine’s Vulture blog reported, citing a quote from Jeff Bader, NBC’s president of program planning, strategy and research. It is a big travel weekend, after all. That decision left network executives with little option than to shift their thinking, and someone finally came to the conclusion that maybe Hollywood awards show don’t always have to air on Sundays. Stranger things have happened on the red carpet.
So if rainy days and Mondays always get you down, now you have a reason to cheer up. And so does Matt LeBlanc, who may actually win an Emmy for playing himself.
The 66th Primetime Emmy Awards will air live on Monday, Aug. 25, on NBC, with Seth Meyers as host. The show begins at 8 p.m. ET.