Emmygeddon: Can TV Academy Avoid Monday Night Traffic Nightmare?

In case you haven’t heard yet, the Emmys are on a Monday this year. In downtown L.A. at Nokia. At 5 PM. Yikes. That means potential traffic headaches that never were an issue on the show’s usual Sunday date in the past (it hasn’t aired on a Monday since 1976). The Television Academy is however making an all-out effort to avoid the kind of traffic nightmare that could impact the show big time.  In fact,  the organization has been working with the city for months just planning all of this out. It has meant a re-configuration of street routes, far fewer street closures, different drop off for Limos and far fewer of them too, as well as the flipping of the red carpet arrival area.  emmymapTicket pickup begins today and continues through Saturday and Academy officials are urging Emmy-goers to carefully read all the instructions in their ticket packets well before the big night on August 25th. Otherwise you might just wind up in the downtown parking lot equivalent of Siberia. One wrong turn and you’re toast. “For us we want to make sure that our industry, our community understands that things are different. They shouldn’t expect it to be the same and they are going to encounter  just normal business traffic. To me, it is really that communication that the TV industry understands. It is not just business as usual,” TV Academy President and COO Maury McIntyre told me.

He says the Academy has done a lot of outreach with not only the LAPD and Department of Transportation, but also the60th Primetime Emmy Awards - Arrivals Chamber, the business improvement district, three council districts, the building management  association, and the neighborhood council just to get the word out. “The interesting thing we have heard from some of them is they’ve hosted  the Stanley Cup Finals down there, and the NBA Finals and those were tens of thousands  of people and we don’t even have that many. We’re not getting as much concern from the Downtown area,” he said. It’s the people – stars, presenters, nominees, executives –  actually attending the Emmys that the Academy is really going all out for with this information drop. “If you are used to  coming down  in a specific way or waited until the last minute when it was on a Sunday, you can’t do that on a Monday because things are so different and you have to take into account there is normal business going on down there,” he said. In other words, TV industry, the world does not stop for you just because you have a date with Emmy.

Image (2) MauryMcIntyre__130311182528-200x285.jpg for post 450823And there may even be a rude awakening for some studio executives who regularly hire a limo to bring them to the Emmys. Limo passes issued by the Academy are being significantly cut back because the new drop off area  – at Gilbert Lindsay Plaza near Staples –  is much smaller.  This won’t affect presenters or nominees but some execs might have their egos bruised a bit out of necessity. Blame it on the city. In order to ease the pain. the Academy is increasing the number of VIP/Valet passes handed out so those attendees will be going to a different area rather than at the head of the Red Carpet. Check your ticket packet carefully, folks. And only for those arriving in Limos or with VIP /Valet status, approximately 1500 ticket holders, the Academy is offering an incentive to get there early by creating an area at the Staples concourse where refreshments will be served between 1:30 PM and 3:30 PM. There will be places to sit as well as hair and makeup people and a seamstress for last minute touch-ups before actually hitting that red carpet. This way you can be on time but still make that grand entrance. For others who have had valet parking in past years, there will only be general self-parking this time around but in the same garage as usual.

2014-0510_Upfront_Image_66thAnnualPrimetimeEmmyAwards_Alternate_1920x1080_SBMcIntyre said they have walked Executive Producer Don Mischer and talent honcho Danette Herman  through this process and they feel the Academy has indeed dotted every i and crossed every t in trying to avoid an Emmy arrival disaster. At the nominations announcement last month Mischer, a true veteran of these shows, told me he has a recurring nightmare that moments before airtime he looks out in the audience and the first two rows are completely empty. McIntyre is trying to make sure that doesn’t become a reality. Contingency plans. “The bottom line of it is, and we all accept this fact, is that if someone shows up at 4:30 they are late. No question. We do have plans in place. If someone is showing up at 4:30 and they need to be in that theatre they will bypass everything. We will get them to the back of the theatre and inside because at 4:30, for the most part, we are concerned you won’t be able to get from drop-off into the space.  That’s why we are very much about  ‘get there early’ so you can have time to walk the red carpet and talk to people, ”  he said.  For presenters and nominees whose categories come early in the show they even have staff to monitor their arrival progress and report back.

The Academy is dead serious about arrival instructions this year. They realize a lot of busy stars and TV execs don’t always pay close attention until the last day, and sometimes not even then. Because of that the information is much more detailed in the ticket packet, the map is more detailed. It’s also up online at the Acad’s website with an interactive map.  On show day they will be using social media extensively to tweet out announcements about traffic patterns.

“Really look at your tickets and your passes. You have to pay attention to what it says. If you show up to the limo drop and you don’t have a limo pass we are actually going to re-route you to a parking lot much further away for you to figure out  where you’re supposed to be. So that’s just going to add more time, but we have  to clear the space. That’s been the biggest thing from the Department of Transportation. We cannot clog the streets up. We have to keep the flow going. A lot of people just don’t pay any attention to these details. They must this time, ” he said.

OR if you  just want to ignore all this, take the rail line.

    1. It avoids a major conflict with MTV’s VMAs which happen to be that Sunday before, at a venue south of LA. Both traffic and celebrity overlap were lessened somewhat with this move.

      1. Then why wasn’t that an issue in the past when the Emmys were on Sunday, and why is it all of a sudden an issue this year?!

  1. There have been numerous big TV events at the Nokia over the years on a weekday – American Idol finales, People’s Choice Awards, ESPYs come to mind – and the Oscars were on a Monday forever in downtown LA. Can’t imagine it’s going to be that much of a problem that usual.

    1. Yeah, but you noticed, or at least hope you did, that they rescheduled the Oscars to Sunday partly because of the traffic problems on a week day, and I for one am sure glad they did. It’s bad enough having to go to ugly and crowded and parker unfriendly downtown LA on a Sunday, but on a weekday … fagetaboutit!

    1. I couldn’t agree with you more. What stuff were the Transportation authorities smoking when they planned this one?!

  2. Given that the emmys themselves are a nightmarish celebration of the complete domination of hype over talent in today’s Hollywood, I think it’s fitting.

  3. I don’t mind the Monday part, but 5 p.m.????? Who is going to be watching on the West Coast? I don’t even get home until 6 to 6:30. They seem organized in every department except for this? Oh well, that’s why we have TiVo.

    1. It’s called fricken east coast bias … the same reason why they schedule NFL football games on Sunday morning when people on the west coast are in church!

  4. Living proof that there are just too many awards shows.

    But if LA thinks this is bad, wait until they build Farmers Field, get an NFL team, and play in a Monday Night Football game. Of course, by then we’ll have self-driving or flying cars, so maybe it won’t really be an issue.

  5. Dotted every I? Crossed every T? Please! Because I received a self-park placard, I had to pay a $200 cancellation penalty on the limo that I hired two months ago for this event. Instead, now I have to drive my own car and park my own car. For the amount of money that I’m paying for show tickets and Governor’s Ball tickets, this is outrageous. And what if self-parking Ball attendees want to enjoy a couple of drinks? Nope, sorry. Not if they want to drive themselves home safely. Academy, you f*cked this one up horribly.

    1. Yep, and they screwed it up royally for the limo industry, as well because they created a situation making it a lot more difficult to accommodate the higher volume of limos the event has called for in recent years, thereby creating a job shortage, as well … just because someone got the ‘bright’ idea to reschedule the event to Monday! I’ve got a bright idea, myself … why don’t all of us just boycott going to the thing Monday, and sending a BIG msg to the powers that be what we think of their grand plans of rescheduling it to Monday?!

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