After weeks of debate, the 75th Primetime Emmy Awards are officially not airing on September 18 as originally planned in the face of the ongoing writers and actors strikes due to the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) behind the Hollywood studios and networks refusing to pay decent wages, residuals and come to the table on an agreement for AI as a tool in both guilds.
Nominations were announced on July 12, just two days before the SAG-AFTRA strike took effect, where Succession, The Last of Us, The White Lotus and Ted Lasso led. This is only the second time the Emmys have been postponed, the first being in 2001 due to the terrorist attacks on 9/11 and subsequent military action in Afghanistan. The Television Academy moved the Emmys to November with host Ellen DeGeneres and in a smaller venue. The Emmys did push through in 1980 with a show during a SAG strike where actors largely boycotted the event and only one winner was present, Powers Boothe, who won Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or a Special for Guyana Tragedy: The Story of Jim Jones. Upon accepting his award onstage, the actor said, “This is either the most courageous moment of my career or the stupidest… I also thought long and hard whether or not I would attend, but I came here because this is America and one must do what one believes. I believe in the Academy. I also believe in my fellow actors in their stand.”
While a new date has yet to be announced, the discussions between the TV Academy and FOX, who is set to air the Emmys, had been volleying between November (what the Academy wants) and January (what FOX wants). All signs are pointing to January for the show but a confirmation isn’t expected until early August. One thing they did agree on is that the winner voting period (what we call “Phase 2”) will remain in place, from August 17-28, where we usually see big name nominated actors in splashy interviews in entertainment outlets small and large. But, as a part of the strike rules, actors are not allowed to do any press, interviews or social media posts regarding their current or past work. While the writers, who have been on strike since May 2, had loosened some of their exceptions for press early on, they are now in lockstep with the actors union in their refusal to do promotion. But that would also preclude them from writing for the show, including all monologues and jokes for the show host and presenters. The move doesn’t just interrupt the Primetime Emmys but the Creative Arts Emmy Awards as well, which traditionally take place over two days the weekend before. This year was set for September 9 and 10 and will now also be moved.
“Like the rest of the industry, we hope there will be an equitable and timely resolution for all parties in the current guild negotiations. We continue to monitor the situation closely with our partners at Fox and will advise if and when there is an update available,” the TV Academy said last week in a statement.
The Directors Guild (DGA) however, in the midst of the WGA strike and impending SAG-AFTRA strike, ratified their own deal in late June that guaranteed pay increases and larger residual payouts and included language about protections against artificial intelligence tools, precisely what the writers and actors unions have been fighting for. According to the DGA, out of the org’s 16,321 members who were eligible to vote on the new deal, only 6,728 individuals (41 percent) participated, but the vast majority — 87 percent — of those people voted in favor of the contract.
But what does a January show look like and what dates are available? By this time, awards season has largely transitioned over to film awards as the calendar year has ended. But the Emmys, which still uses its traditional, if very archaic in this age of television, September 1-May 31 eligibility window, which will present a bit of a jarring and confusing celebration of different seasons of TV among different awards shows. The Golden Globes, for example, work on a calendar year, so while the Emmys will be potentially awarding the first season of FX’s The Bear and the second season of Hulu’s Only Murders in the Building, the Globes will be looking at the second and third, respectively. The Globes, with heaps of controversies and complications of its own, has a Sunday, January 7 show date but has yet to secure a network to air it. Critics’ Choice has the next Sunday, January 14. The 2024 Sundance Film Festival takes place from January 18-28, with potential nominees having new films to debut and promote. Then there’s the glut of Sunday football leading up to the Super Bowl in February and you start to see that the windows for a January Emmys — plus two days for the Creative Arts Awards — start to become scarce. Granted, the Emmys have made the move from Sunday to Monday, which alleviates the need for a Sunday show but trying to navigate a busy awards month with not one but three shows won’t be an easy task for Jesse Collins Entertainment, the producers behind this year’s Emmys.
We will reveal the new date of the 75th Primetime Emmy Awards when it announced.