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. Ticket 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 the 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.
And 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.
McIntyre 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.