"No matter who or what dominates the 72nd Primetime Emmy Awards, there’s already one clear winner rolling up to Sunday’s virtual ceremony," says Lorraine Ali. "2020’s top honor — the award for Keeping Us Occupied During the Worst Year Ever — belongs to television itself. Thank you, television, for soldiering forward with prestige programming, total mindless junk and everything in between while the rest of the planet was forced to shut down and isolate in the face of COVID-19, deadly weather events and one political crisis after the next. Through environmental catastrophe and social unrest, no one medium has done (or is doing) as much to keep us as entertained, connected, informed and distracted as you have since the sun set on malls, hair salons and leaving one’s own home in March. You stepped up when cinemas, live concerts, sporting events, museums and theater had to step back, providing comfort for the anxious, stimuli for the stir crazy and babysitting services for parents suddenly faced with homeschooling. I know we complained a mere nine months ago that there was too much to watch, on too many platforms, across too many screens, but please forgive us. What seemed overwhelming in the Before Times is now a godsend. If there’s any one time when the entertainment industry deserves to pat itself on the back without looking like a total self-centered jerk, it’s this year’s Emmy Awards."
This year's Emmy ceremony arrives as viewership is more splintered than ever: "What will seem evident this year — and what a virtual ceremony only amplifies — is that the 2019-2020 season felt like one more giant leap away from the old notion that TV is a communal experience," says Hank Stuever. "This year’s awards will go to a smattering of excellent programs and performers whose work has never seemed more niche, in programs that are more likely to still be on that list of shows you mean to watch, but haven’t. Mrs. America, The Good Place, Unbelievable, The Mandalorian, Succession, Insecure, What We Do in the Shadows — they are all present in at least one major Emmy category, but have you seen them all? Have you seen half of them? What about Normal People, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, The Morning Show, I Know This Much Is True, the latest seasons of Killing Eve, The Kominsky Method, Ozark and GLOW? Or the Breaking Bad movie, El Camino? I’m a TV critic and I’ll confess that there’s one or two in that assortment that I still haven’t gotten around to finishing — or watching at all. The prime-time Emmys have always had lots of categories with lots of nominees, but it used to be possible for TV viewers to be more or less expert in knowing the field. That was before the current deluge made it impossible for the American audience to have a common conversation about what’s on. When HBO’s Game of Thrones took its final and widely disappointing bow last year (and won the last of its Emmys, including for best drama series), it felt as if we were saying goodbye to the last of the water-cooler shows, the end of TV’s shared references, the category-killing series that comes along and seems to hold everyone in its grip. Of course I’m aware (all too aware) that not everyone watched Game of Thrones — they had their reasons and were inclined to voice them, ranging from distaste of the violent content to simple issues of access (HBO is a luxury item). But keep in mind that resistant naysayers are also key to any cultural phenomenon; by letting everyone know they’re not into it, they actually become part of the hype around it."
Emmys will be broadcast from 130 celebrity homes around the country: Producers have sent out approximately 130 kits of ring lights, laptops, boom mics, a high resolution cameras out to about 125 locations in 20 cities across 10 countries. “If there’s 135 feeds coming in it’s kind of like watching 140 sports matches all at one time. You have so many things coming in and things maybe not coming in. It’s a logistical nightmare,” executive producer Reginald Hudlin tells The A.V. Club. “Staples was the only facility that could handle all those signals coming in and out."