One of the only past times unscathed by the COVID-19 pandemic is binge-watching hours of TV. However, the 2020 Emmys, which honors the best dramas, comedies, and limited series of the year, will go virtual for its awards tonight. Hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, the ceremony will air live on Sunday, September 20 on ABC.
This will be Kimmel’s third time hosting the awards, following previous gigs in 2016 and 2012. But this year’s festivities will look and feel decidedly different from years’ past. Due to pandemic safety concerns, the telecast will not feature a live audience and nominees will win—or gracefully lose—from the comfort of their own homes. Emmy producers spoke to Variety last month about what to expect. Nominees will reportedly be equipped with ring lights and professional camera equipment, while Kimmel will deliver his remarks from the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Although trans cast members from Pose were egregiously snubbed and we wish the Zoom Golden Girls reading was up for awards consideration, there’s still a lot to love about this year’s crop of nominees. Ahead, how to watch the unprecedented Emmys unfold.
How do I watch the Emmys?
The 72nd Primetime Emmy Awards will air on Sunday, September 20 at 8 p.m. EST/5 p.m. PST on ABC. If you have cable or a cable login, you can watch on TV or ABC’s site. If you’ve cut cable from your monthly budget, several streaming sites offer free trials or monthly subscriptions for a fee. Options include:
Are there any pre-show events?
Prior to the main awards, there will be a host of virtual pregames to remind you which shows you watched this year. Alas, there will be no red carpet for dissecting celebrity fashion, but a number of pre-Emmys livestreams will forge ahead, a list of which you can find on the official Emmys website.
E! Countdown to the Red Carpet
4:30-6 p.m. EST / 1:30-3 p.m. PST
Live From E!
6-8 p.m. EST / 3-5 p.m. PST
PEOPLE & Entertainment Weekly Red Carpet Live: At Home!
7-8 p.m. EST / 4-5 p.m. PST
Streaming on PEOPLE TV, PEOPLE.com, EW.com
Hosted by Jeremy Parsons and Makho Ndlovu
KTLA5’s Countdown to the Emmys
2-5 p.m. PST
Hosted by Sam Rubin, Jessica Holmes, Doug Kolk and Megan Henderson
ABC News Countdown to the Emmys
3:30-5 p.m. PST
Hosted by Eva Pilgrim, Whit Johnson, and Janai Norman
E! After Party
11 p.m – Midnight EST/8-9 p.m. PST
Which categories and appearances should I watch for?
If there was ever a year to be confined to your home for months on end, 2020 was a pretty good one TV-wise. There were countless exciting shows released this year, including HBO’s superhero allegory Watchmen (a field-leading 26 nominations), the revelatory final season of Schitt’s Creek (15), and a sophomore outing from Succession (18) that has us praying filming resumes soon.
ELLE.com is predicting all three of those shows to win in their respective categories—Outstanding Limited Series, Comedy Series, and Drama Series, respectively. Another race to watch for is Outstanding Lead Actress In A Drama, where Jennifer Aniston could win her first Emmy since Friends for The Morning Show. Then again, she could be bested by surprise nominee Zendaya for Euphoria or Olivia Colman for The Crown.
Other pressing questions: will Paul Mescal wear Connell’s chain if he wins for Normal People? Why can’t Annie Murphy’s “A Little Bit Alexis” dance open the ceremony? And how much do we cry when Regina King wins her fourth Emmy for Watchmen?
Beyond the night’s biggest awards, a slew of celebrity guests have been confirmed for the Emmys, per Entertainment Tonight. Expect appearances from A-listers including Oprah Winfrey, Lena Waithe, Ilana Glazer, Abbi Jacobson, Gabrielle Union, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Jason Sudeikis, H.E.R., Patrick Stewart, Laverne Cox, and more.
So, cram in one last episode of that show you’ve been meaning to watch and settle in for an Emmys unlike any in the show’s history.
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