Will 'SNL' makeover boost Emmy ratings?


LOS ANGELES — Excited about Monday’s 70th Emmy Awards? Probably not. That’s an educated guess based on shrinking interest in entertainment’s back-slapping ceremonies generally and television’s biggest night in particular.

Last year’s Emmys drew 11.4 million viewers, a smidge above 2016’s worst-ever 11.3 million. The 2018 Oscars dipped to an all-time low with 26.5 million viewers.

But imagine this: An expert in producing live TV jumps in to invigorate the stale, decades-old Emmy format by orchestrating more laughs, more surprises and fewer trophy presentations capped by giddy yet dull speeches.

(Sorry, that last one isn’t going to happen, explanation below.)

The magic could be delivered by “Saturday Night Live” impresario Lorne Michaels, who’s producing his first Emmy Awards since the late 80s, back when the top nominees included “The Golden Girls” and “thirtysomething.”

The contenders for the Emmys airing at 8 p.m. EDT Monday on NBC are unique and distinctly contemporary, “Atlanta” and “The Handmaid’s Tale” among them, but can the tradition-bound ceremony possibly be their equal?

Ken Davenport, a Tony-Award winning Broadway producer (“Kinky Boots,” “Once on This Island”), says Michaels’ live-TV resume could give the ceremony hosted by “SNL” faux news anchors Michael Che and Colin Jost what it needs.

“Because of Lorne and the hosts, I think it will have a feeling that something exciting could happen at any moment,” Davenport said. “It’s just a little bit higher stakes.”

Kate McKinnon, Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin are among the current and former cast members and guests serving as presenters.

– From news service reports

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