UPDATED: NBC and the TV Academy have set the date for the 66th Primetime Emmys, August 25. As usual when the Emmys are on NBC, the ceremony will air a month earlier than its normal late-September date. But this year the network and the TV Academy are throwing a curveball by scheduling the show on a Monday instead of its traditional Sunday berth. The last time the Emmys had aired on a Monday was almost 40 years ago, on May 17, 1976. The 66th Primetime Emmys will air live coast-to-coast from 8-11 PM ET from the Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE in Los Angeles. The Creative Arts Emmy Awards will be held on Saturday, August 16. The announcement has observers scratching their heads. In the past, NBC had aired the Primetime Emmys in August because of the early start of its Sunday Night Football franchise. But an August airdate for the Emmys when the show is not even airing on a Sunday is puzzling. According to NBC, the date was picked because of possible scheduling conflict with preseason NFL games, but the network would not elaborate further. (The NFL has not released its schedule for the 2014-15 season, but the regular season usually starts on the first Thursday of September, with primetime games starting the following Sunday and Monday.) I hear NBC originally aimed for Sunday, Aug. 24, but opted against it so the Emmys don’t go against the MTV Music Awards. And as for why not a Monday in September, I hear that was ruled out by unavailability of the Nokia.
Awards pundits are skeptical about taking a marquee awards show like the Emmys away from the traditional stay-at-home Sunday night. (Of the major current ceremonies, ABC’s Country Music Awards and CBS’ People’s Choice Awards air in the middle of the week, but the rest are on Sunday. The Oscars used to air on Mondays before moving to Sundays in 1998, and the Golden Globes have aired on Sundays since 1996.) What’s more, they note that August 25 falls into the so-called “dead zone” around the Labor Day holiday. “In the movie business, you know not to release films in the last week of August and the first week of September because everyone is away,” one industry observer noted. The scheduling shakeup comes as the Emmys had been enjoying a ratings momentum, hitting an eight-year high in total viewers last September with nearly 18 million tuning in to the telecast on CBS.
UPDATE: The TV Academy has released a statement about the date choice for the 66th Primetime Emmys. “Each year it is the responsibility of the host network to schedule the Primetime Emmy Awards,” Academy President and COO Lucy Hood said. “With NBC, there is the added element of the NFL schedule, which typically pushes the date back into late August. We look forward to working with NBC as we begin to plan the 2014 Primetime show.”