Emmys 2018 Preview: Starry Governors Ball Gets a New Format for 70th Anniversary

The award show's splashy after-party is ditching the seated dinner and adding a starry-night theme.

By Claire Hoffman September 6, 2018, 3:02 PM EDT

This year’s ceiling installation by Sequoia Productions calls for 28,800 individual LED lights designed to resemble a starry sky. 

Photo: Claire Hoffman/BizBash

While it previously was billed as the largest seated dinner in North America, the Emmys Awards’ Governors Ball is changing things up in a big way for the show’s 70th anniversary: This year’s star-studded after-party celebration will be a reception-style event at the rooftop L.A. Live Event Deck. (Last year, the seated dinner took place at the Los Angeles Convention Center.) International press got a preview of the events' decor, menus, and inspiration on Thursday morning.

The main Governors Ball will take place September 17 immediately following the awards telecast; two smaller events, dubbed the Creative Arts Governors Balls, will take place September 8 and 9. As is tradition, all three events—with a total attendance of 8,300 guests—will have the same decor, which this year takes on an “Emmys Under the Stars” theme.

The shift in format was partly inspired by the ways people prefer to eat today, explained Governors Ball Committee co-chair Halina Siwolop in a press release. “[That] led us to challenge [chef Joachim Splichal of Patina Catering] to design the ultimate small-plate dining experience,” she said. “We think guests will have fun tasting their way through nearly three dozen dishes—each a work of culinary artistry.”

Splichal and his team, who are catering the Governors Balls for the 23rd year, are planning their most extensive menu yet, using 20 executive chefs and 250 chefs for each event. Inspired by Michelin-starred restaurant Patina and L.A. steakhouse Nick & Stef’s, the menu will feature small-plate reinterpretations of classic dishes, such as Patina spuds topped with shaved summer truffles; hand-carved flat iron steak with red wine bordelaise; and cave-aged mini gruyère popovers. There will also be an expanded assortment of vegetarian and vegan offerings sourced from local farms. 

In total, Patina expects to serve 126,000 miniature plated dishes, plus 50,400 single-bite hors d'oeuvres. 

Decor-wise, event producer Cheryl Cecchetto of Sequoia Productions is on board for her 21st year. She and her team will suspend 28,800 individual LED lights from the ceiling to create a starry effect. “Imagine adding thousands of stars to Hollywood’s night sky in celebration of Emmys' 70th anniversary,” explained Cecchetto in a press release. “It’s very exciting.”

Furniture, table linens, florals, and other decor will come in shades of blue, gold and silver metallics, and white. More than 450 assorted table linens will be used each of the three nights, and in excess of 4,500 yards of fabric. L.A. Premier will provide florals again this year, while ShowPro will handle audiovisual production, Bright Event Rentals will provide rentals, and Resource One will handle textile design.

The 70th Emmy Awards will be telecast live from the Microsoft Theater on September 17. Saturday Night Live’s Colin Jost and Michael Che will host. 

Click through the slide show for a peek inside the star-studded events.

Launch Slide Show

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