Creative Emmys' 45-Second Rule Stirs Controversy

UPDATE: Possibly due to the backlash, the producers seemed to start somewhat relax the strict 45-second limit as the show went on. For instance, comedy great Bob Newhart was not interrupted when accepting his first Emmy. But the worst offenders have been the presenters. Comedian Gilbert Gottfried went on and on for 7-8 minutes before introducing the variety categories.

PREVIOUS: “You have 45 seconds to get from your seat all the way down the aisle, up the steps, and do your acceptance speech,” Creative Arts Emmys producer Spike Jones Jr sternly warned just before the beginning of today’s ceremony. “I’m not kidding.” He indeed was not, and the strictly enforced acceptance time limit rubbed many attendees the wrong way as winner after winner had to make a dash for the the stage for a 10-second out-of-breath speech before they were cut off. One multiple Emmy winner spoke with Deadline’s Ray Richmond backstage, expressing his disgust at the way the ceremony was being run, with its frenetic pacing that forces the winners to rush onstage, rush their speeches, and rush off as if on fast-forward and double-parked. “It’s disrespectful and it’s offensive to the professionals in this room to treat them like cattle,” he said. “You’ve got women in gowns literally sprinting down the aisle after winning.” Indeed, one winner with a low-cut top was seen nearly coming out of it. Another winner had to remove her shoes to get to the stage in time. Numerous winners were drowned out by music after speaking for a few seconds, and several others had their mics cut altogether. Adding insult to injury was the producers’ decision to allot the mean-spirted Triumph the Insult Comic Dog an estimated 6 minutes for wisecracks and presentation while some winners were not even allowed to finish a sentence. “I’ve never seen anything like this,” the producer said. “You can’t find an extra minute for someone who wants to thank people after a huge moment? I believe they need to rethink the whole way this thing works. As it is, it’s a little bit ridiculous.”

Related: 2013 Creative Arts Emmy Awards Winners

    1. Yes it was disrespectful to cut everyone off, and could have been more liberally enforced, but there was a reason for it. Even with winners cut off at :45, the live show ran north of 4 hours long. The hall was half-empty before the evening ended.

  1. I (barely) understand limiting acceptance speeches when they are on live television, but this makes little sense to me. So what if someone wants to thank their Great Aunt Tizzy. They’ve earned that right, and shouldn’t be shoved off the stage, especially not for scripted schtick.

  2. Each person should get no more than 2 minutes to speak (with a clock present before them) and then cut their mics off if they go over.

    1. I do not think you know how long two minutes is. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not in favor of cutting people off, or even rushing them. But what you propose is a six hour show.

  3. So you mean to tell me that when TV legend Bob Newhart won his first Emmy in 50 years tonight they only allowed him less than 45 seconds to give his thanks? The standing ovation alone must have been twice that amount of time. If so, that was indeed Shameful!

  4. Somebody should have been smart enough to say “Screw it. If they don’t want a speech I’ll tweet it from my seat.”

  5. Spike should be fired next year. It’s not airing live. Give the winners at least 40 seconds to speak after getting to the stage. They’re crowded in all together anyway.

  6. I hope someone used the 20 seconds they had to talk to say “This 45 second rule is disrespectful BS and you KNOW whoever is producing this show won’t be carrying one of THESE next year!” and held that Emmy nice and high!

  7. I’ve been to the Creative Arts Emmys 8 times, and this was by far the worst. Terrible entertainment and truly dull presenters. Gilbert Gottfried was an all time low. He started a mass panic exodus to the lobby. Who decided to dust off that old fossil? The greatest sin in the entertainment industry is to be boring, and this was setting new standards to judge boring by.

  8. It was, indeed, an unfortunate mess. The producers lost control of the show because they “built out” the presentation segments (whether it was art direction or editing or lighting) into more than they needed to be.

    When you invest too much time in getting presenters on stage (each presenter got their own package to justify them being there; and then they talked too long to justify the package and them actually being there), you’re bound to get screwed on the backside when you get to the last third of the show. It was non-producing 101 – and when you try to do too much, when the setting doesn’t require it, you’re gonna pay the price.

    Actually, the audience had to pay the price.

    Nevertheless, future nominees take note: we are all in the business; we are the only ones watching – and we all know the sacrifices that are made to do the work that we do. Also, all of your thank-you’s will NEVER make the edited-down broadcast, and it though may indeed be your big moment – the problem is that it’s a big moment for 75 other people, too. Use good judgement. Prepare. Know what you need to say and who to thank and get it done gracefully and efficiently.

    A note to the Board of Governors: you treat your Academy membership with disdain by closing the bar 30-minutes before the show starts that is going to run 4 hours. You treat your membership with contempt by not letting them leave (go across the street for some fresh air – and a drink) and return.

    Your membership is comprised of adults – the best in the profession – who deserve to be rewarded for their efforts with a civilized experience, not a variation on being trapped at 4th-grade detention.

    I’ve been to these events for 10 years, and you not only physically lost your audience by the final hour (how many empty seats were there?), but you emotionally lost them, too, by treating them like school children who cannot share drinks with friends in the lobby after they’ve won or lost. What? Do you fear they won’t come back? We all know that after a drink someone ends of saying: “Let’s go back in and see how so-and-so did.” Why? Because we all have friends nominated, too.

    But when you walk out there and you find a lobby devoid of life; warm cokes and salty popcorn for sale – and you’ve lost, you say f**k-it, they’re treating me like skit I’m leaving. That’s human nature.

    Keep in mind Governors: this is THE night for – generally writing – all of the hugely talented below the line players in television. Why impose your fretful conclusions and fears about serving them a nice drink (win or lose) when the show is not live; is not going to be seen; and goes on for EV-er (we all know it going in).

    Compared to last year when the bar was open, it was a really ungracious move.

    So ATAS, keep the experience gracious and efficient – and you’ll have more winners than just the 75 or so that take home the hardware, and people will actually stay around and show up for all the money spent on the dinner.

    1. Agree with all of your points, Been There. This was our sixth show, and it was simply a dreadful, classless evening. Which strikes me as incredibly ironic, considering the talent in the room. Making well-dressed, well-spoken and intelligent adults run down the aisles, to breathlessly gasp into a mic, was unnecessary and mean spirited. Closing the bar was absurd. We couldn’t even get a bottled water before going in, after broiling on the red carpet.

      This was the first time we left before the end of the show—the writing was dreadful, the disrespect and disdain for creatives reached a new pinnacle. I remember Elaine Stritch’s brilliant acceptance speech in ’04, the standing ovation, her comedic timing–no one begrudged her that moment, we were not looking at their watches. Why couldn’t we do the same for Bob Newhart? I think we’re done with this high school assembly. And you can bet there will be even more empty seats next year.

  9. 1. Worst Creative Arts Award Show I’ve ever been to.
    2. The writing sucked and was offensive. Telling Vagina Ping-Pong jokes was disrespectful. People had their families with young kids in the audience and this was shameful! Bruce Rosenblum needs to man-up, take the fall from this and resign.
    3. 45 seconds was insulting and dangerous – that poor man almost lost his pants on stage and then dropped the Emmy award (which shattered) was an embarrassment. Spike Jones needs to take the fall for this and resign.
    4. The Creative Arts Awards has way too many awards and needs to be consolidated.

    1. if you think this business is a bunch of millionaires … then you’re not in the biz. especially first time winners.

  10. what is the big rush other than keeping the show tight and entertaining? what is it that the Spike et all are worried the viewers are going to miss on television in the late evening of a sunday night? And :45 seconds from your seat to the walk-off? dumbest thing i’ve ever heard.. that doesn’t work for anyone.

    if you need to cut time in the show? how about that sweaty open with NPH and all of that unfunny previous hosts sketch? And the ridiculous ego dance numbers? And the presenters.. if they’re not funny or interesting… start THEIR music!

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