Ehrlich exec producing 60th Emmys

5:00 AM PST 03/18/2008 by Kimberly Nordyke, Nellie Andreeva

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UPDATED 4:48 p.m. PT March 17

Veteran awards show producer Ken Ehrlich is returning as executive producer of the 60th Primetime Emmy Awards, which will be broadcast live Sept. 21 on ABC.

It marks the fourth consecutive Primetime Emmy exec producing duties for Ehrlich, though it will be his first time working with ABC on the telecast. It also will be the first time the Emmys are broadcast from their new home, the Nokia Theatre in downtown Los Angeles.

Ehrlich said he's already planning a few surprises, though it's too early to talk specifics as he hasn't even discussed some of them with the network or academy. He did say that designers are working on a "new and fresh look" for the show, noting that the widely panned theater-in-the-round format introduced last year won't be returning.

"I loved it, and in terms of the viewers at home, the response was pretty much overwhelmingly positive," Ehrlich said. "Unfortunately, I'm not sure that was shared by a lot of people that came to the show."

Ehrlich added that he has a short list of possible hosts he'd like to work with but emphasized that no offers have been made. Also part of his plans: using the Internet to involve viewers more in the telecast and continuing his tradition of using big musical performances along the lines of last year's tribute to "The Sopranos" performed by the cast of "Jersey Boys."

He said he's not too concerned about viewership for the Emmy telecast based on the recent ratings for another major awards show -- the Oscars, which drew their smallest viewership ever -- and thinks that the recent writers strike, which resulted in abbreviated seasons and/or postponed premiere dates for many series, might shake things up in terms of surprise nominees. He said that could lead to even more viewer interest.

"There's a lot more questions in people's minds as to what the nominations are going to bring, which I think is a good thing," he said. "In a way, it will probably unintentionally shake up the format, and we need to be responsive to that."

Ehrlich, who most recently executive produced the 50th annual Grammy Awards, has produced 28 Grammy telecasts and created and produced the MTV Movie Awards and the "Divas" series of music specials. He also has produced numerous music specials, award shows and series.

Nominations for the 60th Primetime Emmy Awards will be announced at 5:35 a.m. PDT July 17 from ATAS' Leonard H. Goldenson Theatre in North Hollywood.
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