SHOW MUST GO ON!
By Bryce Zabel
Chairman, The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences
Remembering back to the 2001 Emmys as we prepare for Sunday's
night's 2002 Gala
In 2001, snipers watched from nearby rooftops, tuxedos were
left at home, and patriotic music opened the telecast. It
was different, but it finally happened. After two postponements,
the 53rd Annual Emmy Awards aired on Sunday, November 4th
at the Shubert Theater. History was made.
Reading the excellent reviews the day after, I remembered
that many of the same publications had urged us less than
a month before to forget about the show altogether. The road
to Emmy Sunday 2001 was not an easy one.
>From the horrible tragedy in September to the beginning
of the air war in Afghanistan in October and finally the last
game of the World Series in November, the obstacles faced
this year guarantee this has been an Emmy that will live in
memory like no other before it.
For me, personally, its been a journey I will never
forget either. When elected to the position of chairman/CEO
of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences in August,
it seemed clear that the telecast scheduled for September
16th would take care of itself and all that was required of
me as the chairman-elect was to show up. Of course, the tragedy
of September 11th changed that, as it has changed so many
I found myself in the middle of a national story that had
become important because it symbolized how the very fabric
of our culture things we had taken for granted
was now at risk. My mind was forced to think in ways it had
never thought before. Expressions which were no more than
clichés suddenly became real.
If the entertainment industry had a list of commandments,
the first one would be: The show must go on. This
expression traces back to the circuses of the 19th century.
If an animal got loose or a performer was injured, the ringmaster
and the band kept going so the crowd would not panic.
Our show, too, defiantly went on, but with a 21st century
definition of what that meant. We carried on, not merely because
our audience needed distraction, but to proclaim our freedom
to assemble without fear.
We delivered laughter and tears in our three hours on the
nations main stage. Spirits were lifted. Terrorism did
not win on Emmy Sunday. It was a good night to be an American.