The 2001 Emmy Awards, set to air Sunday evening, has been canceled indefinitely due to the U.S. and Britain air attacks on Afghanistan early Sunday morning.
As events unfolded around the world, rumors flew among the press who had gathered outside the Shrine Auditorium early in the day to begin their Emmy coverage. Finally, around mid-day, CBS spokeswoman Susan Marks came out and made the announcement to the reporters.
Later in the afternoon a press conference was held by Bryce Zabel, the president of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences; Leslie Moonves, the CEO and president of CBS; and Don Mischer, the executive producer of the Emmy Awards telecast.
They unilaterally agreed that to televise the show would be inappropriate in light of the recent events. Zabel commented that until about noon Sunday the show was going on as planned, but when he met with Moonves and Mischer they all came to the conclusion to cancel the ceremony.
The three felt the country needed to concentrate their energies on the events at hand. “After all, it’s really just a television show.”
Moonves admitted canceling the show would be costly but the country needed to regroup and “find out where we are headed.”
At this time, no decision has been made as to whether or not the Emmy Awards will be televised at a later date.
The ceremony was originally set to air Sept. 16 but was postponed almost immediately after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks occurred.
The Oct. 7 event was to be toned down from its usual glitzy affair. Attendees and presenters were asked to dress in business attire instead of tuxedos and ball gowns.
Also, to ease the stress of traveling, awards for East Coast-based nominees, including the casts from The Sopranos and Sex in the City, were going to be presented in a Manhattan studio. The bicoastal Emmy broadcast would have been the first in more than two decades.
Mischer told reporters he wants to go forward with the show and felt that had the Emmys been televised Sunday, Americans would have been proud.
There were to be many emotional high points in the show, including a rendition of “America, the Beautiful.” Veteran newsman Walter Cronkite was invited to help set a serious tone. The ceremony was also to include tributes to heroes and victims of the attacks.
Mischer said that the rehearsal went on as planned in the morning, with stand-ins for the actors, who usually arrive later in the day.
The only celebrity there was Emmys host Ellen DeGeneres, who, according to Mischer, was “quite emotional and devastated” by the news.
It was the first cancellation in the awards’ 53-year history. The ceremony was delayed once by 30 minutes by the announcement of the 1978 Camp David Accords by then-president Jimmy Carter, a spokesman for the show told Reuters.