Woohoo! Another Emmy show is here! The 70th Annual Primetime Awards arrive Monday, Sept. 17 (8 p.m., NBC/4), and it seems like just yesterday that the 69th ones rolled over us (or was that Sean Spicer and his mobile podium that did the rolling?). Should we watch? Will we watch? Must we watch?
As usual, the Emmys are fun but can also seem like a burden, or (worse) a duty. For me, watching the show is a job. I have to. But what about you?
Here are five Q&As to help make all this a little less burdensome:
Why are these Emmys — from L.A.'s Microsoft Theater — taking place on a Monday?
Because of "Sunday Night Football," which also forced the show to a Monday four years ago when NBC last had the Primetime Emmys. It's a pragmatic choice by NBC, but was not without controversy four years ago, notably over concerns about traffic and the sense that Monday would make the awards less momentous than a Sunday. All those worries melted in the hot SoCal sun after the numbers came out. Nearly 16 million watched the telecast, the second-highest total in nearly a decade to that point, and about 5 million over last year. This should bode well for the 70th because there's not all that much in opposition, unless "Castaways" (ABC) or "Inside the Manson Cult: The Manson Tapes" (Fox) is anyone's idea of formidable opposition.
What will the hosts bring to the show?
"Saturday Night Live's" Colin Jost and Michael Che's style as "Weekend Update" anchors is typically dry, diffident and/or incredulous. But they'll need to boost the energy and the pace here, while giving television precedence over politics. Jost seemed to acknowledge as much in a recent Vanity Fair interview, saying, “It is kind of fun for us to do something that is not political." The Emmys largely abandoned the dual-host 20 years ago because it's clunky, unwieldy and slows the show down just when it needs to speed up. That's why it's reasonable to assume Jost-Che will get some support up there on that stage, and maybe a visit (or two) from other "SNL" regulars, including a certain orange-haired presidential portrayer. Bill Hader — a nominee (for HBO's "Barry") — is also in the house, which means Stefon may be as well.
Will this be Netflix's year?
It already is, at least symbolically. By snapping HBO's 17-year streak in total nominations, with 112 nods to HBO's 108, Netflix has also assured itself a powerful marketing and promotional tool. But as a practical matter, these bulk nominations don't necessarily lead to a sweep and in fact rarely do. In 2017, HBO's 91 nominations led to only 10 prime-time wins, and another 19 wins in the Creative Arts category (those awards for make-up and sound-mixing, which may be important but which you never see at the big show).
What's going to be different about the 70th?
The #MeToo and Time's Up movements broke after the 69th Emmys, so #MeToo looms especially large over these awards. On Sept. 9, CBS chief Les Moonves was forced out of the company he'd run for nearly a quarter century after a pair of New Yorker investigations which reported that he had sexually harrassed multiple women over the decades. More awkwardness: Che himself has been, in the words of VF, "accused of personally harassing and bullying multiple women who have criticized him over the years." And more still: The Women's Media Center released a scathing report in early September that said 70 percent of all non-acting nominations went to men, essentially unchanged from the year before. Like the other major awards shows, these 70th awards will celebrate women, but it may be a little more challenging to celebrate actual change. Meanwhile, here's something else to keep an eye on: The four commercial broadcast networks recently completed an eight-year deal to continue airing the Emmys, but they also sought key changes to the telecast as a condition of the new contract. What are those changes and will we get a hint of them Monday?
Why watch at all?
If you're results-oriented, you can always follow the Emmys Twitter feed or catch up Tuesday morning. If you must know which of your favorite nominated dramas just won, tune in a minute before 11. But if that whole (sometimes) sordid and (always) fun spectacle of television celebrating television is your idea of a great time, then the answer is self-evident. With sinking viewers and prestige, NBC along with incomparable showman Lorne Michaels — who will produce the 70th — know they have to awe, possibly shock. The "SNLification" of the 70th could easily accomplish both, absent the usual award show shots at the White House — which are far too easy, and too often stale. Nevertheless, this show should be interesting. It can't help but be.