Emmy dresses down

BILL BRIOUX

, Last Updated: 5:20 PM ET

The show must go on. That's the slogan for tomorrow night's dressed-down 53rd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards (8 p.m. on CTV and CBS).

This year, there will be no fancy gowns, black ties, or even a festive, post-awards Governors Ball. Joan Rivers has lost her coveted spot on the red carpet (in fact, there is no red carpet). Even the outside fan bleachers have been left in storage and the press rooms diminished. In the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and out of respect for the victims, everything has been scaled way back.

In other words, it will look like the Canadian Gemini Awards.

The only thing not slashed is the price. Officials estimate the Emmy Awards will run an extra US$1 million this year because of increased security, plus the cost of re-jigging schedules after a three-week postponement.

Also eating into the budget is the decision to locate part of the show in New York, where East Coast stars can collect their statues without risking a flight to L.A.

Despite these measures, most stars still plan to attend tomorrow night's awards. The two top Best Actor contenders, Martin Sheen (The West Wing) and James Gandolfini (The Sopranos) will both be in L.A. at the Shrine auditorium.

They'll be decked out in "dressy business attire," not formal wear, according to Academy wishes.

Ellen DeGeneres will still host, but instead of a jokey opening monologue, she'll step aside and let veteran CBS newsman Walter Cronkite tell it the way it is.

Even the order of the awards has been altered. The Emmys usually start with the best supporting comedy awards. This year, drama prizes will be handed out first.

At one point in the evening, past Emmy-winner Dennis Franz from NYPD Blue will pay tribute to New York police officers. Another segment will highlight TV's coverage of the Sept. 11 attacks.

Eight-time Emmy winner David Angell, who died along with his wife in one of the planes that smashed into the World Trade Center towers, will also be saluted. He won five Best Series Emmys for producing Frasier, a series record.

Award shows have been postponed in the past, but never for this length of time. The Oscars were bumped two extra days after Martin Luther King was assassinated in 1968. Gregory Peck paid tribute to King at the opening of that show. In an ironic upset, the Best Picture winner that year was Norman Jewison's racially-charged drama In The Heat Of The Night, which beat out The Graduate.

The Oscars were delayed a day in 1981 after the assassination attempt on Ronald Reagan. Those delays were all taken in stride, but the Golden Globes were roundly criticized for proceeding as planned five days after 61 people were killed in Los Angeles after the 1994 earthquake.

This year, the only outcry has been from Rivers, who whined after E! pulled the red carpet out from under her at the last minute.


Videos

Photos