Viacom’s CBS To Air Subdued Emmy Awards Ceremony

NEW YORK — Celebrity is out. Unity is in.

Viacom Inc.’s (VIA, VIAB) CBS television network intends to air a decidedly somber Emmy Awards that eschews gossip-hounds and fancy duds in favor of a quiet dinner and business attire. The program changes come in the wake of the devastating Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C.

“This year, the show will be different in its approach. It will not be the Emmy Awards as usual,” said Don Mischer, the program’s producer, in a prepared statement. “There will be limited music, and while awards will be given out, the awards process itself will be significantly understated.”

And how. The traditional red-carpet area — usually the scene where celebrities parade about in designer gowns and tuxedoes — has been scaled back. Bleachers — usually filled with fans and photo-hounds — will be scrapped. The show will begin with remarks from newsman Walter Cronkite, who is said to be making a “special appearance” near the show’s opening.

Instead of the usual coterie of glitzy gowns and snazzy formal wear, attendees are being told to wear “dressy business attire.” All post-show Emmy parties have been canceled in favor of a “Unity Dinner” immediately following the awards.
CBS decided to postpone the awards after the Sept. 11 attacks. The Emmys were originally scheduled to air on Sept. 16.

The muted affair comes as many media outlets begin to distance themselves from the hype and rumor that is often a part of presenting celebrity culture.
All of the broadcast networks and many of their cable counterparts presented a telethon last Friday that served up top-name musicians and celebrities like Bruce Springsteen and Julia Roberts – all without introducing any of them by name. Tabloids like the New York Daily News and News Corp.’s (NWS) New York Post have relegated their gossip columns — filled with tawdry tidbits about local and national celebrities — to the back of their papers.

Comedienne Ellen DeGeneres will host the Emmy broadcast.

The Emmy Awards will now air on Sunday, Oct. 7, between 8 p.m. and 11 p.m.

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