The Emmy Awards will go bicoastal for the first time in more than 30 years, with the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences and CBS to stage the ceremony in New York as well as Los Angeles, hoping to inspire more nominees on the East Coast to participate.
Sunday's telecast will hand out awards to New York-based nominees at the NBC studio where "Late Night With Conan O'Brien" is taped.
It is estimated that roughly 120 nominated individuals -- including the cast and producers of such series as "The Sopranos" and "Sex and the City," as well as the large writing staffs for O'Brien's show and CBS' "The Late Show With David Letterman" -- are based in New York. "It seems appropriate to reach out to New York, and a lot of the nominees will feel better about being able to be with their families and not having to get on a plane," said Don Mischer, who is executive producer of the Emmy telecast, acknowledging that the effort was "costly."
Mischer added that most West Coast nominees have reconfirmed their commitment to attend the event, though some continue to debate the issue, including the cast of NBC's "The West Wing."
A representative for HBO, which televises "The Sopranos" and "Sex and the City," said the gesture is appreciated but that the pay channel doesn't who will be attending.
In the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, some nominees remain reluctant to participate in the event.
"I'm not in the mood to sit in an audience and hope that I win a trophy right now, so I won't be going," said Rob Burnett, executive producer of "The Late Show with David Letterman" and co-creator/executive producer of the NBC drama "Ed," both of which are up for awards.
Burnett was quick to add that he doesn't fault anyone who chooses to go to the ceremony on either coast.
"My decision not to attend the Emmy Awards in L.A. had nothing to do with getting on a plane and flying there, to be clear," he said.
Sensitive to such concerns, the TV academy, which presents the Emmys, has worked with CBS and Mischer to revise the ceremony.
Beyond changing the dress code from black-tie to dressy business attire, scaling back red-carpet arrivals and heightening security, the Emmys will seek to achieve a tone that reflects sensitivity to recent events.
The Emmys were actually staged on a bicoastal basis in New York and Los Angeles from 1955 through 1970.
Though there will not be a separate host in New York, awards will be presented there and those on hand will be able to watch the live ceremonies in Los Angeles.
Los Angeles Times staff writer Paul Brownfield contributed to this story.