You may have been confused when checking your calendar to see that the 66th primetime Emmy Awards were not only taking place in August, but also on a Monday. Isn’t it a cardinal rule that all of Hollywood’s black tie affairs take place on a Sunday?
Yes, most of the time Hollywood schedules their award ceremonies for a Sunday evening — but it’s not a hard and fast rule. However, to diagnose why the Emmys are happening on a Monday this year, we have to first take a look at why they are happening almost three weeks early.
The short answer is: Football. The Emmys circulate between the four major networks — ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX. This year they landed on NBC, who also has a big contract with the NFL so that starting after Labor Day all the big Sunday games will be on the peacock channel. The Emmys are a great party, but they do not bring in nearly the advertising revenue of the NFL. So the Emmy planning committee was forced to push the awards up to August.
That isn’t too rare of an occurrence. It happened in both 2006 and 2010 due to football scheduling. But why Monday? The Emmys could have aired on Sunday, Aug. 31 — but no one wants to air an award show going into Labor Day. Everyone is getting drunk on boats instead of watching television.
Sunday, Aug. 24 was also unavailable because NBC had already agreed to hold an NFL pre-season game (and the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards had also claimed that spot).
So if you’re stuck in rush hour traffic on the night of the Emmys — Aug. 25 — you can thank Sunday night football and MTV for putting you in that predicament. Just remember this isn’t the first time it’s happened though. In 1955, the first nationally televised Emmys were held on March 7 — which just so happened to be a Monday.
The 66th primetime Emmy Awards air Aug. 25 at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.