No matter the ceremony and no matter the year, awards shows are rarely concise. The Emmys broadcast almost always lasts hours, meaning you’ll need tons of snacks, your beverage of choice, and pre-planned bathroom breaks if you’re planning on watching from beginning to end. But even if you’ve memorized this year’s list of Emmy nominees and familiarized yourself with every category, it’s still hard to know exactly how long the Emmys will actually be — especially since this year’s ceremony will look so different from, well, every other year's.
The 72nd Emmy Awards will be almost all-virtual, with nominees phoning in from their respective homes and hotels. The event will also take place at the Staples Center instead of the Microsoft Theatre. But despite all the changes the Emmys’ production team is making in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the time slot will remain the same as in past years: the awards will air for three hours from 8 to 11 p.m. EST, or 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. PST, on ABC.
The biggest change, timing-wise, is that followers of fashion won’t need to tune in an hour early — there will be no Emmys red carpet this year. Instead, if you’re looking to psych yourself up before the ceremony starts, you have a few other options. You can turn on ABC News an hour and a half early for the pre-show event “Countdown to the Emmys,” airing from 6:30 to 8 p.m. EST. ABC’s show, filmed live in New York, will include live interviews with nominees and a look back at previous years’ most iconic outfits.
Another option is Entertainment Weekly and People’s pre-show, which will stream on both websites at 7 p.m. EST and feature interviews with some of this year’s Emmy-nominated actors and host Jimmy Kimmel. E! also has a night of coverage prepared, which will kick off as early as 4:30 p.m. EST.
Even if the actual awards are only scheduled for three hours, definitely account for the possibility that the ceremony might go longer (or shorter) than planned. Even the event’s producers admitted that they’ve switched their plans more than once and haven’t been sure what the final night will look like. “We start every day by reinventing the show,” executive producer Reginald Hudlin told Variety in August. “And then by the end of the day we rip it all down and then we start again the next day. I sound like I’m joking, but I’m kind of not. You may be wondering, ‘Reggie, aren’t you very close to show time to not be certain?’ Yes, we know!”
The Emmys air Sunday, September 20.