Beverly Hills, Calif. — Don't expect the same old Emmys this year on Fox.
That was the main message from a preview panel Thursday at TCA summer press tour featuring host Andy Samberg, veteran producer Don Mischer and Academy president Bruce Rosenblum. For one thing, the Sept. 20 telecast, unlike last year's on NBC, which was rescheduled to Monday to avoid overlap with NFL football, will lead out of a high-profile Dallas Cowboys-Philadelphia Eagles matchup. NFL games routinely bleed into the hour between 7 and 8 p.m. Eastern. The Emmys will start at 8.
The network plans to maximize the platform of the NFL to drive Emmy viewership, even going so far as having Fox NFL Sunday broadcast live from the Microsoft Theater, on the red carpet. The intrigue of this year's wide-open contests will create fruitful promotional opportunities. "You want to put your money where the horseraces are," Mischer said, citing intrigue around 12-time nominee Jon Hamm and relative Emmy newbie Amy Schumer as two examples. "We will promote those more this year."
Rosenblum said the rules changes implemented in recent months have improved the overall integrity of TV's most prestigious awards. "This is the first year our full membership, some 20,000 people, are able to vote in best comedy and best drama, not just the blue-ribbon panels," he said. "Our membership is more diverse and younger, so you may see some different shows walking away with awards." Of the major rules change, which created distinctions between hourlong and half-hour shows, preventing half-hours from being nominated as dramas and vice versa. "The board feels the rules changes worked. You didn't have forum shopping" during the early campaigning.
Samberg was in low-key mode during the session, compared with his more amped-up appearances at Fox promo events like upfronts. But he still managed a few wry lines. Asked about the experience of winning a major award, as he did at the 2014 Golden Globes for Brooklyn Nine-Nine, he recalled, "It's kind of like somewhere between a surprise birthday party and a fever dream. I was so surprised, I prepared nothing. ... As soon as I left the stage, I thought, 'What just happened? I probably just humiliated myself in front of the largest audience I've ever stood in front of. And then I started drinking."