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The Emmys get de-'Idol'ized

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Deep down, we should have known it was too good to be true: The American Idol executive producers who had signed on to produce this fall’s primetime Emmys telecast have begged off the project. Ken Warwick and Nigel Lythgoe explained that they’re just too busy working on this season’s Idol finale to devote their precious time to the Emmys.

This isn’t exactly the classiest move, for reasons which go beyond the general gaucheness of suddenly ditching a public commitment. Back when Lythgoe and Warwick took on this assignment, they had plenty to say about their new colleagues in the awards-show-production field. “Awards shows are starting to fail a little bit because there’s just a queue of people coming on and thanking their mum, dad, and Uncle Fred,” Warwick snarkily told EW’s Tim Stack a couple months ago, adding that “We’d like to bring a little more entertainment back.” I guess that turned out to be more difficult than he’d anticipated, so now he and Lythgoe are packing up and leaving the job to someone else.

But what’s worse is that they were completely right! Awards shows arestarting to fail, and not just a little bit. More often than not, theymanage to make the most entertaining stuff in the world — music,movies, TV (y’know, entertainment) — seem deathly boring to even themost devoted pop-culture fiends. Say what you will about Idol,it’s never that. Warwick and Lythgoe never announced how exactly theyplanned to spice up the Emmys, but presumably they would have addedsome sort of participatory twist — something along the lines of thisyear’s unjustly panned “My Grammy Moment” contest. Now, chances are theEmmys will get a plain old telecast like every other awards ceremony,which is bad news for everyone but, well, “Mum, Dad, and Uncle Fred.”

What do you think? Are you still looking forward to watching the Emmys in September? Did you have high hopes for an Idol-izedbroadcast, or was I the only one? And what should the telecast’sproducers, whoever they turn out to be, do to make the Emmy ceremonymore entertaining?