/ 17 September 2008

Ghosts from the past at the Emmys

Friendly ghosts from television’s past will bring their ethereal charm to the television industry’s 60th Emmy Awards.

Sunday’s ceremony will feature surprise cast reunions, famous lines and beloved moments from the past six decades of American television. Even Los Angeles’s Nokia Theatre stage will be getting into the act, dressing up as sets from iconic shows past and present, executive producer Ken Ehrlich said.

”We’re paying homage to the heritage of the medium and the history, but we’ve tried to do it in a very contemporary way,” he said. ”We want to show the through line from what television has meant to us to what it is now.”

The Emmy stage will masquerade as sets from The Simpsons, M.A.S.H. and Desperate Housewives, among others, Ehrlich said.

”I’m going to marry some clips to each of the sets so you see them on the screen, they way you see them at home, and then you see them at the Nokia on our stage,” he said. ”I think it’s going to be fun.”

Presenters and categories will also be pegged to the scenes, creating a connection between past and current stars and shows.

Ehrlich, who has produced dozens of Emmy and Grammy telecasts, said he usually shies away from themes ”because I think they can limit you from time to time”. But creating a show that celebrates the history of television suited him just fine. ”It really gave us opportunities to salute the medium,” he said.

It also gives him a chance to reconnect with some of his favourite shows and stars. ”I love popular culture,” he said. ”Especially [to work] with people you admire and respect — they’ve meant so much to so many people over the years.”

The veteran producer also enjoys planning surprises for viewers.

Prodded for details, he revealed that singer Josh Groban will perform on the programme, and a popular TV cast that split more than a decade ago will reunite.

Stars Charlie Sheen, Helen Mirren, Jeremy Piven and Kristin Chenoweth will help open the show by delivering popular TV catchphrases. And Ehrlich hinted that there will be several can’t-miss moments.

”[Viewers] will want to see the reality-show hosts category,” he said. ”It’s one of the most interesting ones on the show. It’s not what you’re expecting.” — Sapa-AP