EXCLUSIVE: NBC Looking to Scrap Emmys Tape Delay
Move follows network's first coast-to-coast live Golden Globes telecast last month
By Melissa Grego -- Broadcasting & Cable, 2/5/2010 9:00:00 AM
CORRECTED MARCH 4, 2010
In what would be a first for the Emmys telecast in decades, NBC executives are seriously considering a plan to offer the 62nd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards live across the country when the network broadcasts the ceremony Aug. 29.
NBC just broke the same ground with the Golden Globes on Jan. 17, when it broadcast the 67th annual awards show live coast-to-coast. For years, the Globes have aired live on stations in the Eastern Standard and Central time zones but have been telecast on a tape-delayed basis in the Western time zones representing some 22% of the country. In January, all NBC affiliates aired the Globes live, with stations in the Pacific time zone airing the kudofest live from 5-8. Eight Western affiliates also re-broadcast the Globes in primetime.
According to sources, NBC is in the process of discussing a similar live Emmys scenario with affiliates. Spokespeople for NBC and the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, which administers the top TV awards, declined to comment.
The move toward real-time award shows comes as the use of Twitter, Facebook and mobile news applications makes winners widely public by the time tape-delayed TV telecasts air in the West, undermining the suspense for viewers who watch them hours after they take place.
It could be argued that the live move with the Globes paid off for NBC. Ratings for the Globes this year were up markedly compared to last year's telecast. The three-hour Sunday night show was up 12% over last year in adults 18-49 (5.5 rating), and up 14% in total viewers (17.0 million viewers). It was the network's biggest viewership (excluding sports) in the slot in six years.
Still, the Grammys on CBS Jan. 31 were tape-delayed in the West and were also up in ratings--even more so than the Globes. The three-and-a-half hour Grammys drew the biggest average audience for that kudofest since 2004, jumping 32% over last year in adults 18-49 to a 9.8 rating and up 35% among total viewers, to an average 25.8 million. The premiere music awards show, however, is different from the Emmys and the film industry's Oscars because it is packed with performances and features far fewer awards over a longer stretch of primetime.
And just as the Twitterfication of award-winner info can be used as an argument for live telecasts of Oscars and Emmys, it could also be argued that new media is a factor for driving the Grammys as well, as word on the Web spreads about must-see performances like singer Pink's suspended, nearly-naked routine this year. Plus, HUT levels are higher in prime, so there are more people to watch at that time.
The Oscars, which ABC has long broadcast live across the country, are again scheduled to be live nationwide on that network March 7.
I didn't get around to watching the Grammys, but would have had they been live for us in the West. As a former broadcaster, I understand the desire to keep shows in prime time, but as a viewer now, I find delayed-broadcast shows of diminished-value. I will watch the Olympics in SD from CTV in Vancouver, rather than waiting for day-old stuff on KING from NBC, even though it will be in HD.
Art Shotwell - 2/8/2010 3:14:17 PM EST
Other than NBC airing this year's Primetime Emmy Awards, I'm also hoping that NBC may be considering airing this year's Daytime Emmy Awards as well.
With the Primetime Emmys, I'm hoping that NBC can get its local affiliates on board with this proposal... Red Carpet/Countdown special, and Emmy telecast airing live... starting at 7PM eastern, 6PM central, 5PM mountain, and 4PM pacific.
Eric - 2/6/2010 8:14:41 PM EST
I believe most NBC West Coast affiliates will air prime-time Olympics coverage on a three-hour tape delay.
I wonder if KING in Seattle will get Olympic primetime coverage from 5 to 8:30 P.M. PST, since the station is available in Vancouver and most of British Columbia via cable and satellite.
Otherwise, some viewers in southern British Columbia and northwest Washington State may be able to see some evening events twice----once live on CTV, then on tape via KING/NBC three hours later.
Joseph - 2/5/2010 1:33:44 PM EST
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