What the 2020 Emmys Can Learn From the Golden Globes — TV Podcast

Or how Ricky Gervais makes a strong case for hostless awards shows.
Succession Golden Globes
Jeremy Strong, creator Jesse Armstrong, Nicholas Braun, Sarah Snook, Brian Cox, and Alan Ruck from "Succession"

It is with a huge sigh of relief that we can officially relegate the 2020 Golden Globes to the past and shift focus to the many (many) remaining awards ceremonies that the year (and month) has to offer. That’s not to say that there aren’t lessons to be learned from the 77th Golden Globes, particularly for this year’s Emmy Awards.

Perhaps that seems premature, but ABC would disagree with you. The broadcast house of Mouse announced during president Karey Burke’s introductory speech at the network’s TCA Winter Press Tour session that the Emmys would air live, coast-to-coast, from 8-11 p.m. ET / 5-8 p.m. PT on Sunday, September 20, 2020. The ceremony will again take place at the Microsoft Theater at LA Live in beautiful downtown Los Angeles, with a possible host and producers of the show to be announced at a later date.

While such deliberations are still underway, it’s the perfect time for those planning the show to consider the below ideas before finalizing any and all Emmy plans.

On Hosts

While critics are mixed on the success of hostless awards shows, one thing is clear after Ricky Gervais’ latest attempt to emcee the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s biggest night: If you absolutely must have a host for your awards show, make sure they actually want to be there.

Sure, a big part of Gervais’ schtick is how little he cares about the glitz and glamour of Hollywood — about how fake awards shows are, how he’s a rebel and outsider who’s unafraid to tell it like it is — but after Sunday’s hosting stint, you have to wonder if the comedian is afraid to craft a quality joke. The star of Netflix’s “After Life” — who made sure to shill for his series during his opening monologue — delivered such a phoned-in performance that I half expected Candice Bergen to storm the stage and start screaming about dimes and long-distance rates. (There you go. A joke based on early-’90s telecommunication commercials. Was it funny? No. Am I hosting the Golden Globes? No. Is there a difference? Absolutely.)

The point is that in order for an audience to feel engaged, they need to feel as though whatever they’re spending their time consuming has some value, even if that value is entertainment. Putting Gervais in the driver’s seat yet again, so he can sleepwalk his way through another show bemoaning Hollywood and its players makes participants feel awkward (which is whatever) but more importantly, he alienates viewers who are left wondering why they tuned in to some unfunny slog that apparently doesn’t matter anyway.

(Never mind the bald-faced hypocrisy of Gervais pretending he’s not a part of the Hollywood elite while he regularly brags about how rich he is on Twitter, punches down in pursuit of outrageous jokes, and made a beeline to Netflix’s banging afterparty so he could rub elbows with his employers and the stars of “The Irishman.”)

Pick a good host or don’t pick one at all. Either way, choose wisely.

77th ANNUAL GOLDEN GLOBE AWARDS -- Pictured: Ricky Gervais at the 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 5, 2020 -- (Photo by: Paul Drinkwater/NBC)
Ricky Gervais hosts the 77th Annual Golden Globe AwardsPaul Drinkwater/NBC

On Speeches

There has to be a better way to deliver speeches in the modern awards era than whatever is happening currently. While the Oscars are always getting in trouble for trying to undercut below-the-line winners to spend more time on the big prizes (or wholly unnecessary entertainment packages) they’re not wrong in recognizing that individuals reading a list of people they’re grateful to does not make for scintillating television.

Because the stakes are lower at the Globes, there seemed to be more room for speeches that abandoned the traditional model and opted instead to say something meaningful. From Tom Hanks to Michelle Williams, Patricia Arquette to Joaquin Phoenix, passionate people talking about things they’re passionate about is inherently compelling to watch.

So try this: Every nominee submits an acceptance speech. Each winner is allotted 45 seconds on stage to accept their award and give their speech, though only the most meaningful speeches are delivered in full. The rest are available for screening on the official website of the organization and distributed to interested press outlets. In reality, this probably allows for more intense coverage allotted toward smaller awards and an opportunity to mix things up in the ceremony itself.

Clearly, the Oscars aren’t going to implement this strategy in the next month, which makes the Emmys the perfect place to test run a new-and-improved acceptance speech model.

On Winners

The Golden Globes gave “Succession” two awards, Television Academy. Are you going to let them show you up like that? Wouldn’t it be great if you could take that ball and run with it, making the HBO family dramedy the dominant series of its time and recognizing the brilliance the show offers on every level?

Really makes you think.

For more dissection of the awards that were, check out this week’s episode of “Millions of Screens,” with TV Awards Editor Libby Hill, TV Deputy Editor Ben Travers, and Creative Producer Leo Garcia, which includes more chatter about the further failures of Gervais, which afterparties were happening and which were just hanging on and, most importantly, the results of the high-stakes Golden Globes prediction sandwich bet.

This episode of “Millions of Screens” was produced by Leonardo Adrian Garcia.

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