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Creative Emmys Take Their Time

Sep 6, 2004  •  Post A Comment

Roll out the red carpet, find your seat and make yourself comfortable.

On the night of Sunday, Sept. 12, the 2004 Creative Arts Emmys kick off the presentation of annual honors for the best work in prime-time television, in front of and behind the camera. While some complain about the three-hour length of the Primetime Emmy Awards show, which will take place a week later, on Sept. 19, and be televised by ABC, that length is nothing compared with the Creative Arts Emmys, which are actually longer this year than they were last year.

So loosen the collar on your shirt and get comfortable in that designer dress if you are attending the show, because for four or five hours a parade of celebrities will hand out 73 awards for everything from tape editing to best guest stars, all in one big show. On Sept. 18 E! will air the awards show edited down to two hours.

“The biggest challenge [of this year’s event] is adjusting to the length,” said Michael Hoey, who is executive producing with John Moffitt and producer Spike Jones Jr. “Reality awards, governors awards … everybody will be there together,” Mr. Moffitt said.

The academy tried an experiment last year in which it randomly selected some awards to be presented at a separate ceremony. That event didn’t attract as much attention, and some winners complained. So that plan was scrapped, and this year all the award presentations are back in the Creative Arts Awards.

However, the producers said the length shouldn’t scare attendees away. They promise to move the show along at a brisk pace. In an effort to save time, Mr. Moffitt said, there will be no single host this year. Instead, celebrity presenters have been asked to recount “How I got started in the business” and “The worst thing that ever happened to me” stories to keep things entertaining.

The celebrity presenters include Jennifer Garner, Edie Falco, John Cleese and William H. Macy. There will also be a magic trick by Penn & Teller.

The show has come a long way. Seven years ago, under then-President Meryl Marshall, the academy set out to revitalize the Creative Arts Awards and build the evening’s prestige to reflect the importance of the honors being presented. At the time the event was “a dinner-dance at the Pasadena Civic Center for 2,000 people,” said Mr. Jones, who enters his 10th year producing the show. “It was, “Here’s your salad, here’s your award, have a nice day.”

Mr. Jones has established himself as a leading director and producer in award shows and TV variety shows. Earlier this year he directed segments of USA’s Comedy Arts Festival, and previously he produced the 56th annual Writers Guild Awards.

Mr. Jones was already involved with the Creative Arts Awards when he was joined by Mr. Moffitt and Mr. Hoey, a veteran writer, director and editor with two Emmy nominations. They saw their mission as an important one. “The Creative Arts represent the great majority of the industry,” Mr. Hoey said.

“[Ms. Marshall] had a mission to increase the importance of the creative arts,” said Mr. Moffitt, a writer, director and producer with recent credits that include “Bill Maher: Victory Begins at Home.” “We liked what Spike was trying to do already, and [Mr. Hoey and I] were able to cast better people with our contacts. And we had the governors to back us.”

Seven years later Ms. Marshall’s mission is accomplished. The “dinner-dance” in Pasadena is a major event at the Shrine Auditorium, where about 2,600 people are expected to attend. “Nip/Tuck’s” Julian McMahon and Dylan Walsh will open with a special act. The program will include presentation of this year’s Governors Award honoring Viacom for its public service campaigns.

Adding to the show’s profile, E! Entertainment Television will tape the awards and present a two-hour version as a special Saturday, Sept. 18. E! has a three-year deal for the show with the academy.

Other major awards to be presented that evening include the Bob Hope Humanitarian Award (recipient not yet named), and the Syd Cassyd Founders Award, which will be presented to Leo Chaloukian, former president and current treasurer of the academy. The Syd Cassyd award honors members who have made a significant impact through many years of service to the academy.

Presentations will also include the Charles F. Jenkins Lifetime Achievement Award to electric guitar innovator Les Paul for developing the first multitrack recording device; interactive media awards, such as outstanding achievement in enhanced television and outstanding achievement in virtual television; and engineering awards.