Governors Ball Committee members Edward Fassl, James Pearse Connelly, Russ Patrick and Geriann McIntosh; recording star Judith Hill; committee members Patricia Messina, Barbara Cassel and Scott Boyd.
The 66th Primetime Emmy Awards Governors Ball first course: grilled peach and heirloom tomato salad.
The 66th Primetime Emmy Awards Governors Ball main course: filet of beef with artisan grapes, Idaho 90 potato “bone,” zephyr squash, caramelized cipollini and crisp lacinato kale.
When the NBC peacock first spread its multi-colored feathers in 1956, some programs were available in color — though most Americans had only a black-and-white set.
This year, as NBC broadcasts the 66th Primetime Emmys, color will not only be bursting across HD screens around the world, it will be blazing at the two Emmy balls, where the theme will be “Kaleidoscope of Color.”
“When the 3,000 guests at the Creative Arts Ball and the 4,000 guests at the Governors Ball walk into the West Hall of the L.A. Convention Center, their senses are going to be assaulted with this extraordinary explosion of color. They’ll never have seen anything like it.”
So said Russ Patrick, chair of the Television Academy’s Governors Ball committee and a governor of its public relations branch, when details of the fêtes were previewed for the press July 23 in the lobby of the Academy’s Leonard H. Goldenson Theatre.
“We’re using all kinds of different technologies — laser beams, media-enhanced Versatubes — to fill that room with an extraordinary array of colors,” Patrick continued.
“The first thing you’ll see when you enter will be this gigantic wedding cake–like stage in the middle of the room, which is in constant motion. But the main thing that is going to assault the senses is the riot of color. That’s what’s going to take your breath away.”
It’s no coincidence that those colors — primary and secondary, carried through every element of the décor, from table settings to floral displays to lighting — will be reminiscent of broadcast television’s familiar color bars.
“Our theme this year takes its genesis from the incredible programming available now to Americans and viewers around the world,” Patrick explained. “It’s been said we’re living through a second golden age of television. We are saluting all those creators, as well as the extraordinary range of new technologies.”
Patrick and his committee — vice-chairs Barbara Cassel and Geriann McIntosh and members Scott Boyd, James Pearse Connelly, Edward Fassl and Patricia Messina — have been working for months on every facet of the balls, which will follow the Creative Arts Emmys on August 16 and the Primetime Emmy telecast on August 25.
Producing the balls for the 17th consecutive year is Sequoia Productions. Patrick recalled that when he met Sequoia president Cheryl Cecchetto for lunch in January to begin the planning process, they both had a kaleidoscope theme in mind.
“We looked at each other with disbelief,” Patrick related, “because we had not discussed it previously. The same thought came from both of us.”
Over the subsequent months, the many elements of the complex events fell into place.
“We bill our 2 events — and we’ve never been contradicted, so I’m going to say it’s absolutely true — that our events are the largest annual, formal sit-down dinners in the United States and probably the world,” Patrick said. “And we present our guests with an extraordinary package: lavish décor, superb food, incredible wine.”
The wines, from Beaulieu Vineyard, will include the 2011 Georges de Latour Private Reserve cabernet sauvignon, which this year is marking the 75th anniversary of its release. “I like to call it a bramble patch,” BV winemaker Domenica Totty said of the vintage. “You get a feel of walking through a berry patch in the summertime.”
The evening’s cuisine will be from Patina Restaurant Group, now in its 19th year catering the Emmys.
Chefs Gregg Wiele, Alec Lestr and Carlos Enriquez revealed the dishes they have designed, before the media began photographing — and tasting.
The first course will be a grilled peach and heirloom tomato salad.
The main course features filet of beef with artisan grapes, Idaho 90 potato “bone,” zephyr squash, caramelized cipollini and crisp lacinato kale.
For dessert, guests will enjoy a play on chocolate S’mores with Alunga whipped ganache, torched marshmallow fluff, graham crumble and Inaya chocolate pop rocks.
Entertainment will include the Sony recording artist Judith Hill, the Red Hot Band (in a return engagement), String Theory (a hybrid performance ensemble known for its massive harp installations), Extreme Beam (from Emmy-nominated choreographer Fred Tallaksen, a combination of dance and lasers) and the Debbie Allen Dance Academy.
Returning for the third year to the balls: the Winners Circle, where Emmy winners may have their statuettes engraved while they wait.
“I’m sure it’s extraordinary to be nominated for an Emmy,” Cecchetto said. “I know it’s an honor to win. But can you imagine, within minutes of walking into the Governors Ball, having your Emmy personalized? I think that’s a life-changing experience. And it really adds to this television industry celebratory event.”
Story originally published in Emmy magazine issue no. 6-2014.