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Presentation of eight Emmy awards to be prerecorded

July 30, 2009 | 10:17 am

The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences has agreed to prerecord the presentation of eight of the 28 honors traditionally handed out at the prime-time Emmy Awards in an effort to create a tighter and more viewer-friendly program.

CBS, which will broadcast this year’s show on Sept. 20, and producer Don Mischer proposed the change Wednesday night to the academy’s board, which overwhelmingly approved the move.

As a result, eight of the categories will be presented before the show. The acceptance speeches will be taped and aired during the program. The change was first reported by Variety.

The move comes after last year’s widely panned show drew one of the award program’s smallest audiences in two decades. Just 12.3 million viewers tuned in for the three-hour production on ABC, which was co-hosted by a bevy of reality show hosts. A record low number of 18-to-49-year-olds watched the program.

Producers are hoping for a reversal this year by shortening the amount of time in the broadcast focused on many of the awards for movies and miniseries. Those long-form categories are dominated by cable networks, particularly HBO, which has 18 nominations for productions such as “Grey Gardens,” “Into the Storm” and “Generation Kill” in the categories that will be pretaped. 

The change also affects the AMC show “Mad Men,” last year’s Emmy darling, which has four of the five nominations for best writing for a drama series, one of the awards that will be handed out ahead of the show.

The other seven categories being time-shifted are best miniseries; best made-for-television movie; best writing for a miniseries, movie or dramatic special; best directing for a variety, music or comedy series; best directing for a miniseries, movie or dramatic special; best supporting actor for a miniseries or movie and best supporting actress for a miniseries or movie.

-- Matea Gold

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