Zabel was elected Chairman/CEO of the Academy of Television
Arts and Sciences only a month before the tragic events
of September 11th forced the first postponement of the
Emmy awards telecast in it's fifty-three year history.
Although Zabel was forced to postpone the telecast an
even more unprecedented second time when the American
air campaign against Afghanistan began, he was determined
that the show must go on. It did, on November 4th, in
a demonstration of what he called "unity in the entertainment
industry and defiance against the fears of terrorism."
Now, Bryce reflects on this year's history making Emmys.
He calls it EMMYS 3.0. By the way, if you'd like to read
Bryce's comments from EMMY night as aired on the CBS broadcast
just click here
By Bryce Zabel
Chairman/CEO, Academy of Television Arts and Sciences
year 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.
Ellen and Martin Short, as Jimmy Glick, horse around at
the Primetime Emmy Awards
For me, personally, it's 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 other things. 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, were 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.
Barbara Streisand sings at the Emmys
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 nation's main stage. Spirits were
lifted. Terrorism did not win on Emmy Sunday. It was a good
night to be an American.