So you’re putting on an awards show, you’ve booked a bunch of stars to present your awards, and now you want to build up interest and attract viewers.
That’s where the art of the presenter announcement comes in.
The press releases arrive like clockwork before every awards show; Thursday morning’s release, which was typical, added Jon Hamm, Eva Longoria Parker, Jim Parsons and Blair Underwood to the slate of Emmy presenters.
So far, theWrap has run short news stories with every release, as have the Hollywood Reporter and Variety; wire services like Reuters and the Associated Press send out the news as well.
Sometimes, writers will toss in a little attitude to show they realize it’s all silly: One can assume, for instance, that the exclamation point in James HIbberd’s opening sentence Thursday morning (“More Emmy presenters!”) was meant ironically, particularly since he went on to mention “the TV Academy’s daily dribble of additional celebrities who will appear on screen for 30 seconds each during the Emmy awards.”
And then you’ve got the approach of Bob Sassone at AOL’s “TV Squad,” who posted an item about Emmy presenters in which he mocked the whole idea of “news outlets and gossip mags and celebrity blogs really think[ing] that this stuff is news.”
Then again, his story making fun of the whole thing led off with the news that Hamm and Parker were going to be presenters, and linked to another story that talked about them and Jim Parsons and Blair Underwood and the other presenters who’ve been announced.
In other words, that “daily dribble” doesn’t exactly go down the drain. It gets collected and disseminated, for what it’s worth.
So the Emmys will continue to announce new batches of nominees each morning, most likely in groups that range between four and six.
The Academy Awards did something similar this past Oscar season, but that was a change from the old policy of one day, one presenter. In the past, AMPAS knew that its show was so big that each announcement was guaranteed a story in the trades, and doling the names out one-by-one meant that they’d never get any angry phone calls from disgruntled personal publicists complaining about how a particular client had been relegated to the second paragraph of a news story.
It wasn’t a strict rule, but in general the default presenters – the previous year’s acting winners – were announced first, and the rest spread out over the month or six weeks leading up to the show.
Joe Roth, the producer of the show in 2004, made a big change to that; he thought that it dissipated momentum to have the presenters announced piecemeal, so he asked the Academy to wait until the final two weeks, and then issue a series of releases with a half dozen or more names each day, in an attempt to create excitement with sheer numbers.
Five years later, producers Bill Condon and Laurence Mark did away with the press releases altogether; they decided that the show didn’t need to announce the names ahead of time, that everybody should come as a surprise. (Then they booked pretty much the same people that everybody figured would appear on the Oscars.)
This year, AMPAS spread out the names but didn’t stick to one-per-release. Miley Cyrus, Zac Efron, Taylor Lautner and Kristen Stewart got one release headlined with only their first names; another announced “comedic talents” Sacha Baron Cohen, Jason Bateman, Steve Carell, Tina Fey and Ben Stiller; a third lumped Kathy Bates, Barbra Streisand, Charlize Theron, Robert Downey Jr., Samuel L. Jackson, Queen Latifah and John Travolta together by virtue of the fact that they were all previous nominees or winners.
For some reason, though, Tyler Perry got a release all to himself.
Anyway, if you’re keeping score, here’s the Emmy presenter lineup as of Thursday afternoon:
Will Arnett, Stephen Colbert, Edie Falco, Tina Fey, Laurence Fishburne, Ricky Gervais, Jon Hamm, January Jones, John Krasinski, LL Cool J, Julianna Margulies, Joel McHale, Matthew Morrison, Eva Longoria Parker, Jim Parsons, Matthew Perry, Keri Russell, Blair Underwood, Sofia Vergara.
No doubt the list will change as of Friday morning.