At this point, we remain Emmyless. It's a strange feeling … almost like being naked at an amusement park. For the second time in less than a month, the 53rd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards have been postponed.
I was there Sunday, dressed down as designated by the organizers. The atmosphere was a bit subdued and somber, even a little quiet. In past awards ceremonies, there were crazy fans in bleachers awaiting the red-carpet arrival of their favorite television star. They'd scream at the top of their lungs, deafening those closest to them and making it impossible for the media to hear the very actor or actress they are trying to interview. From a strictly business perspective, that was a welcome change.
Other than that, there was only one other glaring omission, which many considered more of a blessing. It had been announced earlier in the week that Joan and Melissa Rivers would not be doing the pre-show for E! Entertainment Television. (You see, every cloud does have a silver lining.) But truly, aside from the absence of the sharp-tongued comedian with the entertainment knowledge of a gnat and her daughter littering the carpet with mindless observations, things looked close to normal and like they were going on as scheduled.
No Word on Who Felt Uncomfortable
There were beautiful flower arrangements, the traditional red carpet, and hordes of media setting up their lines and cameras. Caterers were scurrying around with prepared meals to be served at the Unity Dinner, the renamed after-party celebration for the Governor's Ball. All seemed to be in order.
Then the decision came around 12:30 p.m. PT. There would be no Emmy Awards presented on Sunday, Oct. 7. There would be no fanfare, no winners, no losers, no nothing, except a news conference explaining the "postponement."
Bryce Zabel, chairman of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, CBS President Les Moonves and Emmys executive producer Don Mischer appeared about two hours later to explain the reasoning behind their unanimous decision.
Although they would not confirm which celebrities refused to attend, Mischer did say many felt uncomfortable about participating on a day when the United States had gone to war. Moonves added that accepting an award for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series seemed trivial after what had transpired.
So we all went home with nothing to talk about. But it left me with a nagging feeling. (Actually I had a tag sticking me in the neck.) If we are supposed to be getting on with our lives, why aren't we getting on with our lives?
Celebrating in Troubled Times
I realize the severity of the situation in Afghanistan and its repercussions on the people of the United States, but even our president has pleaded with us to go on with our lives.
The Emmys have been a staple of the television industry for 53 years. This is the first time the ceremony has ever been canceled on the actual day it was to take place. Even the Oscars, after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968 and after Reagan's attempted assassination in 1981, went on … delayed a few days, but they carried on. During World War II, the Oscars were broadcast with Jimmy Stewart clad in an army uniform, but they went on. It's 2001 and we are obligated to do the same.
We are an advanced society with so many wonderful things to offer. It's sad when we can't celebrate our crowning achievements. These actors and actresses make a living in one of the most competitive fields that exist and to be nominated is an honor. To be recognized by their peers speaks volumes for what they do. They should be given their opportunity to shine.
We knew these attacks were coming. We just didn't know when. We have also been told that this will be a slow and steady process and may take months or even years to accomplish our goals. We certainly can't put our lives on the back burner during this time or we've lost the focus of the fight.
Some say people were afraid to attend the Emmys for fear it would be dangerous. The true danger is in not living our lives to the fullest and continuing to enjoy our freedoms and pursue our passions.
Oringer's Emmy-at-Your-Doorstep Service
At this point, there has been no determination as to whether or not this year's Emmy Awards will ever actually take place. Academy Chairman Zabel says one way or the other, the Emmys will be awarded to the very deserving winners, even if they have to be delivered by an Academy member to the person's home.
If that's the case, I'd like to publicly volunteer to be the delivery gal. They say if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. So if Bradley Whitford or Rob Lowe or James Gandolfini or Sarah Jessica Parker can't make it to the 53rd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards, then I'll personally make it my business to see that they get what's coming to them. Cause truth be told, I'd love to give Rob Lowe just about anything.
But now all we can do is wait. Wait to see if there is an Emmy Awards. Wait to see what's going to happen in Afghanistan. Wait to see what's going to happen in the United States and wait to see what Hollywood will do while they're waiting.
I, for one, am done waiting. I'm going to do. I'm going to do whatever it is I did before, only now I'm going to do it with a better sense of purpose. I will no longer be postponed.
We should no longer be postponed.
Heidi Oringer is director of entertainment programming at ABCNEWS Radio.