EXCLUSIVE: Oprah’s quandary: Dump her loyal staff or stiff the Sussexes? Talk queen must decide whether to invite Harry and Meghan to the Emmys after she is given just four tickets
- Organizers of the Emmys are restricting nominees to just four tickets per nominee due to Covid restrictions
- That means Oprah Winfrey must decide whether to bring Prince Harry and Meghan Markle or her loyal staff
- Oprah’s bombshell sit-down interview with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex is nominated for Outstanding Hosted Nonfiction Series or Special
- One industry insider told DailyMail.com that Oprah ‘holds the golden tickets and the decision in her hands as to who attends’
- ‘The Emmys has been effectively shrunk down to a bare minimum. The four ticket allocation is a hard rule,’ one LA publicist said
- The Royals’ attendance would be sure to create a buzz around an event that has suffered declining ratings in recent years
Oprah Winfrey must decide whether Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will appear at The Emmys – with only three tickets to share between the couple and her production crew.
Emmy bosses contacted the Duke and Duchess of Sussex last month after their bombshell CBS interview with Winfrey was shortlisted for Outstanding Hosted Nonfiction Series or Special.
But organizers for the Hollywood awards event are restricting nominees to just four tickets, leaving Oprah – and many others – facing a hard decision on who to bring.
Emmy chiefs are letting nominees decide on their quartet for the downtown Los Angeles event on September 19.
It means Winfrey ‘holds the golden tickets and decision in her hands as to who attends,’ one industry insider told DailyMail.com
Organizers for the Emmys are restricting nominees to just four tickets. That means Oprah Winfrey must decide whether to bring Prince Harry and Meghan Markle or her senior staff
Oprah’s bombshell sit down interview with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex is nominated for Outstanding Hosted Nonfiction Series or Special
The Television Academy has moved the 73rd Primetime Emmys to a mixed indoor/outdoor setting on the Event Deck at L.A. Live, behind the Microsoft Theater.
The Academy confirmed they are cutting back on tickets to both the Creative Art Emmys and the Emmys telecast.
One industry insider told DailyMail.com that Oprah ‘holds the golden tickets and decision in her hands as to who attends’
‘Although invitations have just been mailed out, nominated teams of three or more will now be limited to no more than four tickets per nomination,’ a statement from the Academy and CBS earlier this month confirmed.
‘Unfortunately, this means not all nominees will be able to attend this year’s awards.’
An LA publicist who has also been struggling with the ticket crackdown told DailyMail.com: ‘The Emmys has been effectively shrunk down to a bare minimum. The four ticket allocation is a hard rule.
‘Everyone is the same with the four invitees being decided by the show boss or leading star. For Harry and Meghan that means Oprah, who is the star and production boss, has the final say. She has a tough choice because there is a professional and personal list to invite.
‘The Emmys usually has stars attend with agents, PRs, stylists, managers and also loved ones. It is now a tough call for the talent on who they feel should be their plus one… and then another two!’
The source added that CBS, the network which aired the Winfrey special in March, might try to ‘bend the rules’ for the Royals.
‘CBS are airing the show and putting it together with the Emmys,’ the awards attendee said.
‘Obviously they have their own allocation of tickets, so they have the potential to bring in Harry and Meghan as comps for them.
‘That remains an option, but comes with all sorts of implications.
‘Certainly many network executives, show runners and stars are dealing with the allocation process.
‘It would upset other category nominees and talent, who’ve agonizingly cut off loved ones from their invitee list for what would for some be the biggest night of their lives. Someone being allowed to ignore the rules would raise eyebrows and perhaps cause friction.
‘Harry and Meghan attending would be a huge deal for the broadcast. Whether it would draw in extra audiences is a question of waiting and seeing. However if the show won and either one of them spoke that would certainly make huge waves and all important headlines.’
Executive producer Tara Montgomery and Cinematographer Keith Walker are among those who worked on the bombshell interview and could be the ‘golden ticket’ invite the Emmys by Oprah
IMDb names a raft of executive and senior producers responsible for the show, including Corinne Gilliard, (pictured) who is a senior producer
Winfrey has a tough choice over who to pick as her trio of guests. Her long term partner, Stedman Graham, would appear to be a natural plus one – although he has been known to skip event functions.
Oprah’s best friend Gayle King, anchor of This Morning, is likely to already be attending for the show or working in New York on Monday morning.
It is often standard practice for nominated shows and hosts to attend with senior and executive producers.
Winfrey’s production company Harpo and Invent TV oversaw the Harry and Meghan special with CBS being the key US partner and distributor. It is likely the talk show queen would want to give tickets to them.
IMDb names a raft of executive and senior producers responsible for the show. They include Corinne Gilliard (senior producer), Tara Montgomery (EP), Brad Pavone (co-EP), Brian Piotrowicz (co-EP), Stacey Rossman (associate producer) and Terry Wood (EP)
Well respected veteran Wood was pivotal in Prince Harry’s collaboration with Winfrey on Apple’s mental health series, The Me You Can’t See. She has been a friend and a business associate of Winfrey for many years.
Another consideration for Winfrey will be whether to take a publicist and stylist for the night, which before COVID was standard practice for most A-listers.
Another ally of Winfrey is cinematographer Keith Walker, who shot the emotional and powerful interview, which saw The Sussexes speak up about their struggles with royal life, alleged family racism, mental health and desire to live in the US – and reportedly led to deep controversy and turmoil within the royal family.
Their bombshell interview delivered proof of long standing friction with Meghan’s in-laws.
Over 17 million people watched the two and a half hour sit-down interview when it aired in March.
The Emmy hosted doc special category will see Winfrey compete for a golden statuette against My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman, Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy, United Shades of America with W. Kamau Bell and Showtime’s Vice.
After the Emmy nomination was announced, insiders revealed how The Sussexes were being wooed to make their live in-person Hollywood debut at the awards after settling in California.
The Emmys will be broadcast on Sunday, September 19, (8:00-11:00 PM, Live ET/5:00-8:00 PM, Live PT) on CBS and will be available to stream live and on demand on Paramount+
Their attendance would be sure to create a buzz around an event that has suffered declining ratings in recent years.
Last year’s 72nd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards saw the lowest viewership of any Emmy ceremony in the Television Academy’s history.
Amid the Covid pandemic, the show drew just 5.1 million total viewers, down 14% from 2019 event, according to estimates from Nielsen – though it was competing against Sunday Night Football and the NBA playoffs.
Emmy bosses are said to be keen for the former Suits actress and ex-senior Royal to attend the A-list event.
And Winfrey is the bookies’ favorite for her CBS bombshell interview to take home Outstanding Hosted Nonfiction Series or Special.
Oprah With Meghan and Harry: A CBS Primetime Special first aired in the U.S. on March 7.
The Emmy insider told DailyMail.com that the Sussexes have already shied away from offers to present at The Oscars and Golden Globes.
The Emmys will be broadcast on Sunday, September 19, (8:00-11:00 PM, Live ET/5:00-8:00 PM, Live PT) on CBS and will be available to stream live and on demand on Paramount+.
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