EMMY COVERAGE: Chilling in the Press Tent

Aug 27, 2006  •  Post A Comment

It’s 4 p.m. Los Angeles time, and it’s hot.

Not just a warm August day hot, but the kind of heat that radiates of the pavement hot. Or in the case of this particular afternoon near the University of Southern California campus, heat radiating off the red carpet hot.

In less than an hour the telecast of the 58th Primetime Emmy Awards begins, and the hundreds of support staff, LAPD officers, PR girls, hairstylists and journalists are already in their places at the Shrine Auditorium. While the on-camera action leading up to the telecast is focusing on the red carpet arrivals and air kisses from cable entertainment correspondents, the press room is gearing up for what is inevitably a long night.

It’s actually a “press tent” as opposed to a room, but, ironically, it is one of the most comfortable places at the Emmys. The air conditioning is blowing at blessedly full force. There’s a lovely Spanish guitar sound track playing, and best of all, there’s food, water and soda (but no booze). Unlike actual attendees and nominees, who are stuck in auditorium seats for hours on end, the press tent allows journalists and photographers to move about as they please.

The dress code is strict, even though most reporters will never been seen on camera—black tie REQUIRED. Four huge flat-screens provide a live feed, while the front of the tent is dressed and miked so that once winners are announced, they can come back for their first “Oh my god!” moment with about 200 of their favorite print reporters after running the gauntlet in a room reserved for TV press. In the print room, a little less than half the journalists are given tables to work from, providing Internet access and space for laptops.

There are worse ways to spend a Sunday, of course. But it’s important to keep in mind the Emmy telecast is a marathon, not a sprint. Stay hydrated, keep calm and the bow tie stays straight the whole night.

More Emmy Coverage

2006 TVWeek.com’s Emmy Central