The Television Academy rolled out the now-gold carpet to offer a sneak peek behind the scenes of the 2018 Emmys during press preview day, including a tour of the auditorium with seat cards showing off where many nominees and special guests will be sitting. Seeing the placements raised a few questions and gave us a few ideas about what we may see during the ceremony.
SNL is everywhere
Nearly every Saturday Night Live cast member — several of whom are nominated — has a seat card, but their spots are scattered around the front sections of the auditorium instead of clustered together as many casts are. There are a lot more of them than many casts so maybe they just needed to find spots for them, but we’re wondering if it may be more strategic. With SNL head writers Colin Jost and Michael Che hosting and head honcho Lorne Michaels executive producing the ceremony, it makes sense the show would have a strong presence, but we’re thinking there may be some “strategery” at play.
Jost told EW to expect “a lot of special guests, a lot of fun SNL cast members from current cast and alumni of the show” to play a part during the ceremony. We spotted seat cards for many notable alums in the front sections, including Tina Fey, Andy Samberg, Fred Armisen, Maya Rudolph, Bill Hader, and Tracy Morgan, plus resident Trump impersonator Alec Baldwin. Could the placement of current cast and notable alumni be part of a bit for the show? We’d love to see Jost and Che play off the classic SNL monologue routine where a host answers questions from the audience made up of planted cast members and surprise guests. And nothing would make us happier than Fey — whose seat is dead center in the front row — heckling the duo throughout the show. Bonus points if Melissa McCarthy pops up as Sean Spicer to mock the real Spicer’s shocking cameo at last year’s Emmys.
High profile plus-ones
Most of the seats reserved for nominees’ plus-ones weren’t marked, aside from a few prominent ones. To no surprise, SNL‘s Pete Davidson is sitting with fiancée Ariana Grande, who brought him as her guest to the VMAs last month. Chrissy Teigen also has a seat card next to hubby John Legend, who is nominated for playing the title role in Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert. And Justin Timberlake scored a sweet spot front and center next to wife Jessica Biel, who is nominated for her first Emmy for The Sinner. Other nominees with famous partners — Jesse Plemons, Megan Mullally, and William H. Macy for instance — had unmarked seats next to them. This could mean they are bringing non-famous guests, or it could mean those with seat cards will be involved in the show somehow. Grande would make an amazing choice to perform the “in memoriam” song after her beautiful performance at Aretha Franklin’s funeral. Teigen would be hilarious in a bit where the hosts throw to her to read tweets from viewers who still aren’t even sure who Jost and Che are. And with Timberlake and Samberg in the same room, we can only pray for a reunion of their SNL Digital Short characters. We suggest a song demonstrating how Emmy votes are cast with the chorus “That’s my pick in a box.”
Speaking of Legend, the singer, along with Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice all scored the epic status of EGOT winners at last weekend’s Creative Arts Emmys with their win for producing Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert. EGOT was coined by Miami Vice star Philip Michael Thomas in the 1980s but became a permanent part of pop culture and award show discussion thanks to an iconic episode of 30 Rock. With Morgan in attendance on Monday night, we’re hoping it gets the attention it deserves during the show. Who better than Tracy Jordan himself to pass out gold necklaces to the newest achievers of the awards quadfecta in the way SNL initiates new hosts into its “5-timers club” with a fancy robe.
Interesting seat pairings
Teen Stranger Things star Millie Bobby Brown and Curb Your Enthusiasm‘s Larry David are seated next to each other (with a plus-one spot in between). We can’t imagine what the pair will have to talk about, but it’d be pretty, pretty, pretty good if it leads to Brown turning up as herself to antagonize Larry in a future episode of Curb.
Tiffany Haddish and Kate McKinnon are also next to each other. The pair had great chemistry during Haddish’s Emmy-winning turn as SNL host, and we just really hope the one seat separating them is reserved for a box of kittens.
An interesting seat un-pairing
One pair we were surprised to see not sitting together is Americans stars and real-life partners Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys, who are both seated in the front row, but in different sections. They each have an empty seat next to them so we’re holding out hope they decided to use their extra tickets to bring “Stan,” Noah Emmerich and “Poor Martha,” Alison Wright, as their guests for an amazing Americans night out.
The 70th Primetime Emmy Awards will air live at 8 p.m. ET/5 pm PT, Monday on NBC. Follow EW’s ongoing coverage here.