How To Watch This Year’s Socially Distant Emmys Without Cable

Photo: Evan Agostini/Getty Images.
This year, even nominees will be watching Emmy Awards from the comfort of their own homes. Well, maybe “comfort” isn’t exactly the right word — celebrities will also be contending with lots of cameras and equipment. The Emmys’ production team plans on sending cameras and operators to the homes and hotels of all 140 nominees, and if you’re dying to watch live and see whether they can actually pull this off, you don’t even need cable. There are several online services that will let you stream the all-virtual awards ceremony.
If you happen to have Hulu + Live TV, you can log into your account and watch the 72nd Primetime Emmy Awards on Sunday. You can also sign up for a week-long free trial. If you already used up your free trial to watch the Bachelor finale back in March, though, you have a few more options, including forking over the $54.99 monthly fee. Also, YouTube TV costs $50 a month but offers a two-week free trial. Or you can try AT&T TV Now, which costs $55 a month and offers a seven-day free trial. All three platforms offers ABC, which will be airing the Emmys at 8 p.m. EST / 5 p.m. PST.
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If you've used up all your free trials and are strapped for cash, following along on Twitter is always a manageable backup plan, as numerous accounts will be offering up play-by-plays, screengrabs, and even short videos throughout the night.
Whether or not you choose to tune in live, you can still play a role in this year's festivities. This week, the Television Academy announced that it would be hosting a Q&A with the nominees: if you ask your favorite star a question anytime before Saturday, it could be answered live. This is just one of the ways the Emmys is adapting to this year's unusual circumstances.
In late July, host Jimmy Kimmel and four executive producers signed a letter announcing that this year’s Emmys would be virtual. “It’s still television’s highest honor, and we never want to lose the significance of being nominated for, and maybe winning, an Emmy, but we’re going to do in a way that is appropriate to the moment,” the team wrote. This means, among other things, there will be no red carpet or dress code; Kimmel et al described the night’s theme as “come as you are, but make an effort,” which feels pretty true to the current moment.
However, the ceremony will still be live, for the most part. “Jimmy loves to work live, and we love to work live,” executive producer Reginald Hudlin told Variety. “There’s a lot of challenges that come with doing a live show in a COVID environment. But we’re not running from those problems, we’re embracing them.” Above all, the producers are prioritizing safety — and trying to avoid technical difficulties. This means the ceremony will be moved from the Microsoft Theatre, which has historically hosted the event, to the Staples Center across the street. Because Staples typically houses a slew of sports reporters, the space is used to accommodating all the wiring connections and signals the Emmys will entail.
So no, you might not get to see Zendaya in formalwear this year. But get your streaming plan ready: between a never-before-attempted awards show set-up and some superb face-offs, this is one ceremony you’ll definitely want to watch in real time.

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