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Emmy Show Alters Focus: Less Mirth, More Security

The Emmy show will go on, but it will be a much different affair than in years past.

CBS and the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences confirmed Tuesday that venerable CBS News anchor Walter Cronkite will give the opening remarks in the Oct. 7 telecast, which was postponed from Sept. 16 in the wake of the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington.

“It will not be the Emmy Awards as usual,” said Don Mischer, executive producer of the three-hour telecast. Ellen DeGeneres will remain as host, but there will be limited music and comedy bits and no political jokes, Mischer said.

Security has been stepped up considerably on all levels, from the inside of L.A.’s Shrine Auditorium to the airspace above.

With heightened concerns about security amid uncorroborated threats leveled at Hollywood film studios (HR 9/21), it is expected that there will be a light turnout at this year’s telecast. Emmy officials released a list of confirmed presenters, including Amy Brenneman, Sally Field, Calista Flockhart, Kevin James, Jane Kaczmarek, Eric McCormack, Debra Messing, Rob Reiner, Ray Romano and Bradley Whitford.

But noticeably absent from the list were actors from New York-based productions. James Gandolfini, Lorraine Bracco and Edie Falco of HBO’s “The Sopranos” had previously been confirmed as presenters, but it is unclear whether they will be attending.

The telecast will feature tributes to the “heroes of the tragic events that took place Sept. 11,” Mischer said. “NYPD Blue” star Dennis Franz, a four-time Emmy winner, will be featured in a segment honoring New York police officers who died in the attacks.

The black-tie dress code for the event has been set aside in favor of “dressy business attire,” and red, white and blue lapel pins will be made available to attendees.

The traditional parade of celebrity arrivals will be scaled back considerably, and there will be no bleachers erected for fans. The postshow Governors Ball has been transformed into a “Unity Dinner.”

The order of the awards presentation will also be revamped. The first award given out is usually the supporting comedy actress honor, but this year it will be best drama series, the category that usually closes the show.

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