More fallout from the Hollywood writers’ strike could be on the horizon: a postponed Emmy Awards.
Organizers of the Emmys, which are scheduled for Sept. 18, are in discussions about moving the event to a later date if the strike drags deep into the summer, two people familiar with the plans said. If the strike is not over by early August, the televised ceremony could be delayed by months, potentially pushing it into January, the people said.
No final decisions have been made, and it is possible that additional contingency plans could be introduced, the people added.
The Television Academy, which administers the Emmys, and Fox, which is broadcasting this year’s ceremony, declined to comment.
The Emmys, the television industry’s most prestigious award show, usually take place in August or September. The last time the Emmys were pushed to a later date was after the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001; that year, the event took place in November.
Voting for Emmy nominations are underway, and the nominees are scheduled to be announced on July 12.
The writers’ strike, which is in its eighth week, is nowhere near a resolution. Talks between the major Hollywood studios and the Writers Guild of America, the union that represents the writers, broke down in early May. Negotiations have not resumed, and many industry executives are bracing for the strike to last well into the summer, and possibly the fall.
The writers contend that their pay has stagnated and that their working conditions have deteriorated even as television production has exploded during the streaming era. Entertainment companies have resorted to layoffs and their share prices have nose-dived over the last year after Wall Street began souring on their invest-at-any-cost streaming strategy.
Since discussions with the writers broke down, representatives of the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which bargains on behalf of the studios, have been tied up with negotiations with other unions. This month, the studios and the guild that represents Hollywood directors reached a tentative agreement on a new contract. The studios are in the middle of negotiating with the union that represents tens of thousands of actors.
A postponement of the Emmy Awards would be the latest disruption for Hollywood since the strike started. Much of production came to a halt after the walkout began, and the writers have set up picket lines outside productions where scripts were completed and filming has continued. Many of those productions either have been delayed or have also shut down.
Last month, the Tony Awards appeared to be in peril after the writers’ union threatened to picket the event, which could have caused the postponement or cancellation of the show. Broadway is a heavily unionized industry, and the prospect of crossing a picket line would have been unfathomable to many in the theater world.
A group of distinguished playwrights, however, argued to Writers Guild leadership that a postponement of the Tony Awards would hurt the theater industry more than it would hurt CBS, the Tonys’ broadcaster. The union relented, and the televised ceremony proceeded on June 11 without any scripted material, including monologue jokes.
The Emmys, however, would be a bigger target for the striking writers and unlikely to receive special dispensation from Writers Guild leadership.
Organizing the Emmys is a significant undertaking, and that’s one of the reasons that the Television Academy and Fox are likely to have to come to a decision weeks before Sept. 18. Fox has not announced who, if anyone, would host the show.