CBS, ATAS Reschedule Emmy Awards Back to Original Date

Telecast to air Sept. 20 to avoid competing with MTV’s ‘VMAs’

The 61st Primetime Emmy Awards telecast has been re-scheduled once again – this time to avoid the MTV Video Music Awards.

The Emmys show is moving back to its original date of Sunday, Sept. 20 (8:00-11:00 PM, live ET/delayed PT) on CBS, according to the network. Earlier this month, CBS and the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences moved the date up by a week to Sept. 13, due to an NFL doubleheader, which could have delayed the start of primetime. 

"After we announced plans for September 13, MTV informed us they were locked into the same day for the Video Music Awards, with venue and sponsorship agreements in place. We had the flexibility to move; they didn't," Jack Sussman, Executive Vice President, Specials, Music & Live Events, CBS Entertainment, said in a statement. "It's best for the industry and the audience that these events not compete against each other.”

Sussman added “huge thanks” to the TV Academy and telecast executive producer Don Mischer for “quickly moving mountains to make this happen.” 

“If the Emmy broadcast has as much excitement as the scheduling of the date, viewers are in for an unforgettable event," Sussman said.

MTV showed its appreciation in the notice: "We appreciate CBS and the Television Academy taking on the mammoth task of moving such a huge event as the Emmy's to accommodate the Video Music Awards. Now audiences will get to experience two phenomenal nights of entertainment," MTV General Manager Stephen Friedman said in the statement.

To present the Emmys as close as possible to its scheduled 8:00 PM start, CBS says it is planning a flexible 60 Minutes (7:00-8:00 PM, ET/PT) broadcast following CBS Sports late afternoon NFL game.

Nominations for the 61st Primetime Emmy Awards will be announced July 16 at 5:40 a.m. PT. No host has yet been named.

MTV’s VMAs indeed represent some competition to the Emmys for award show viewers. Consider: The 2008 Emmys telecast drew 12.3 million viewers; the 2008 VMAs had more than 23 million viewers.

Last year ABC's Emmys telecast, up against a highly-rated NBC’s Sunday Night Football game between the Dallas Cowboys and Green Bay Packers, attracted 12.3 million viewers with an 8.2 rating/13 share.

The show was critically panned for its risky multi-host format that fell flat. ATAS Chairman John Shaffner recently vowed to B&C that the Academy and CBS were making plans for an improved show this year.

MTV also rolled the dice with its VMA host last year, opting to go with relative-unknown British comedian Russell Brand rather than one of the big-name hosts it has hired in the past. That risk seemingly paid off, with a 2008 telecast that delivered significant improvements over 2007’s show in the 12-34 demo MTV targets. MTV2 simulcast the VMAs. All told and across the two networks during its time period, the 2008 VMAs reached more than 23 million viewers and more than 12 million in the 12-34 age group.