Usually, the Emmy Awards ceremony — the television industry’s equivalent of the Academy Awards — happens on Sunday night. But not this year. For 2018, the biggest night in television will begin on Monday night instead, so your viewing party probably shouldn’t be on the weekend per usual, unless you’re planning on hosting a sleepover.
The schedule may seem annoying, but there’s a good reason for the shift: broadcaster NBC wants to avoid conflicts with Sunday Night Football, an event that has historically limited viewership numbers for the Emmys. Given that awards shows in general have seen declining viewership numbers over the past five years, NBC is making a common-sense decision to control one potential influencing factor. The last time the Emmys were held on a Monday, NBC enjoyed its second-highest-rated broadcast within the last five years, so it seems likely that the network is hoping for similar performance in 2018.
The Emmys function on a special “wheel rotation,” with ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC taking turns broadcasting the event. NBC is the only broadcaster of the bunch that has the rights to Sunday Night Football, which explains why most years, the usual Sunday-night airing doesn’t cause scheduling issues.
This year, planning around the awards show has been contentious. The Television Academy wanted to shorten the broadcast by cutting some awards from the show, including winners in the writing and directing categories. According to Deadline, The Writers Guild of America and Directors Guild of America reportedly pushed back by threatening to suspend the usual permissions for networks to use clips of nominated shows in awards shows, and to instead levy “steep fees” for those clips. That threat appears to have worked, with the Academy backing off the proposed cuts.
The Emmys will air on September 17th at 8PM ET, and will be hosted by Saturday Night Live’s Colin Jost and Michael Che. On Monday, we’ll have a “how to watch the Emmys” post that breaks down all the details of your cable and online viewing options.