Why the Emmys Served Booze During This Year's Show

After cutting off alcohol sales at the lobby bar last year, libations flowed thanks to a scrapped Stephen Colbert sketch.
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One of the biggest complaints about the 2016 Emmy Awards was the lack of alcoholic drinks in the Microsoft Theater lobby during the show. Despite preshow cocktails, guests were left grumbling the rest of the evening when the bar was limited to water, soda and light snacks (Caesar salad, anyone?).

This year, guests have Stephen Colbert (and telecast executive producers Ricky Kirshner and Glenn Weiss) to thank for quenching their thirst. Chris Licht — who produced the Sept. 17 show and is an exec producer on Colbert's Late Show — tells The Hollywood Reporter that the host planned a sketch that involved booze. The skit was scrapped, but since the liquor license already had been procured, producers opted to keep the booze flowing.

Not everyone was thrilled. The Crown star Matt Smith was overheard saying, "This is fucking ridiculous," when he saw the long lines and that it wasn't an open bar (beer and cocktails cost $12; champagne, $25 to $35). Still, the lobby was packed all night long.

"Booze is back!" Licht joked on the red carpet to THR prior to the show. "That's what you need to know."

But for Licht, that wasn't the best part of being involved in Sunday's show. "Just seeing everybody come together," he commented on the momentous occasion and their team's Emmy nomination. "I've never been involved in a production this big."

This story first appeared in the Sept. 20 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.