With the coronavirus pandemic still raging, the Emmy Awards will once again break with tradition.
Since 2008, the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles has been the go-to venue for the annual television awards, but this year the ceremony will take place at L.A. Live’s Event Deck, a space that offers indoor and outdoor locations for the production.
Socially distanced audience seating means that only around 500 guests will attend Sunday’s ceremony compared to several thousand in previous years, Maury McIntyre, the Television Academy’s president, told Variety.
Attendees will follow strict Covid-19 protocols throughout the ceremony that mimic safety measures put in place on Hollywood sets. This includes testing all participants, requiring vaccinations and ensuring that everyone is wearing a mask when they are not on camera, Frank Scherma, chairman and CEO of the Television Academy told Variety.
These mandates are similar to ones instituted at previous awards ceremonies.
The show will also feature several satellite events that the telecast will cut to when necessary. The cast and producers of the Netflix show “The Crown” are holding their own Emmy ceremony in London, much like the team behind “Schitt’s Creek” did during last year’s telecast. Other shows that will be video conferencing into the ceremony include ” Top Chef” and “Jimmy Kimmel Live.”
With the smaller audience, the Television Academy plans to seat attendees at tables and serve food and drink. Typically, this event takes place in a traditional theater, with audiences seated in rows.
“We want to do two things at once, make sure we have a safe environment for everyone who was attending the show, but also, let’s get out of the kind of typical theater situation,” executive producer Reggie Hudlin told Variety.
“Let’s get relaxed,” he said. “Let’s sit at tables. Let’s drink a little, let’s have a little nibble. This is how we figured that makes for the maximum fun for both the viewers and the folks who are nominated. We’re going to have multiple stages, we’ll have projection screens. We’ll have chandeliers. And so we’ll make it look like a fun, ritzy party that you want to go to.”
Alongside host Cedric the Entertainer will be several musical performances, he said.
“We really want to give people a show,” Hudlin said. ” There’ll be plenty of music. But the most important thing is hearing from the winners, hearing their heartfelt testimony, hearing their humor, hearing their joy.”
The 73rd annual Emmy Awards take place Sunday Sept. 19 at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.