‘Squid Game’, ‘Succession’, ‘Ted Lasso’ compete for Emmy Awards

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Emmy Awards host Kenan Thompson and the ceremony’s producers promise a fun event — a phrase that doesn’t apply to many of the top nominations.

Best drama contenders include the violently dystopian “Squid Game,” the grim workplace satire “Severance” and “Succession,” about a powerful and dysfunctional family. Even comedy nominee “Ted Lasso,” the defending champion, took a dark narrative turn.

But after several pandemic-limited awards seasons, Monday’s 74th Primetime Emmy Awards (airing at 8 p.m. EDT on NBC, broadcast on Peacock) will be big and festive, said executive producers Reginald Hudlin and Ian Stewart.

They’re actually taking a page from last year’s reduction ceremony and club-style table seating for candidates.

“They had a ball. They had a party. They celebrated themselves,” Stewart said, recalling a comment made by actress Sophia Bush at the end of the night: “Oh my God, I really had fun at the Emmys.”

Tables will again be reserved for the candidates — and their “significants,” Stewart said — but there will be about 3,000 other guests traditionally seated in the temporarily remodeled 7,000-seat Microsoft Theater in downtown Los Angeles.

“When the candidates are having a great time, it translates to the screen,” Hudlin said, referring to the “passionate, moving” speeches given by the winners.

Thompson, the veteran “Saturday Night Live” cast member making his first run as an Emmy host, said he wants to enjoy the ceremony and make sure others do, too.

“This should be an evening of appreciating art and creativity and taking the stress out of it all. I get it — it sucks to lose, and everyone’s picking out clothes and trying to do the red carpet,” Thompson said. “But at the same time, it’s an awesome thing to be in the room on Emmy night, and I don’t want it to get lost in the stress.”

He doesn’t expect anything to mirror the Will Smith-Chris Rock standoff that overshadowed the Oscars earlier this year, Thompson said.

Although HBO’s “Succession,” which won best drama series in 2020, and Apple TV+’s “Ted Lasso” are considered the front-runners for top series honors, there is the potential for surprises. Netflix’s “Squid Game,” a global sensation, would be the first non-English-language drama series to win an Emmy.

On the comedy side, acclaimed ABC newcomer “Abbott Elementary” could become the first show to win best comedy since the network’s “Modern Family” in 2014. It’s also among a handful of contenders this year, along with the “Squid Game”. to place a significant number of color candidates.

At the Creative Arts Emmys earlier this month, the mixed-race show about teachers at an underfunded Philadelphia school won the trophy for Outstanding Comedy Series Casting. “Succession” won the Drama Series Casting Award.

“The Crown,” last year’s big winner, wasn’t in the running this time because it ran past the Emmys’ eligibility period. The dramatized account of Queen Elizabeth’s reign and family life will return for a fifth season in November as Britain mourns the loss of its longest-serving monarch, who died on Thursday aged 96.

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For more on this year’s Emmy Awards, visit: www.apnews.com/EmmyAwards

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