How to watch the 2021 Emmys

The 72nd Emmy Awards
(Image credit: Television Academy)

The Emmys are here, television’s night to honor the best shows and creatives of the last year (well, June 1, 2020, to May 31, 2021, to be exact). The annual awards ceremony will land on CBS this year, airing live on Sunday at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.

For those tuning in, the Emmys will once again look different than your typical award show, but things are trending back toward normal. Following the 2020 ceremony forgoing an in-person ceremony save for host Jimmy Kimmel, a couple of presenters and lone audience member Jason Bateman, the 2021 ceremony is upping its number of guests as it will take place outdoors at the L.A. Live Event Deck, with attendees seated at tables with food and drinks.

Still, only about 500 people will be in attendance at the ceremony, which means that not all of the nominees will be on hand, though there will be satellite gatherings from some shows, including The Crown, Top Chef and Jimmy Kimmel Live.

So we know the when (again Sept. 19, 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT) and where for the 2021 Emmys, but here’s everything else that you need to know about this year’s ceremony.

Who are the 2021 Emmy nominees?

While the glitz and glamour of these awards shows can be fun to embrace, the meat and potatoes of the evening is all about the shows, performers and creators that are nominated for the awards and finding out who will take home the Emmy.

What to Watch covered the 2021 Emmy nominations in full when they were announced, but here’s a quick recap so you can get the big picture heading into Sunday’s live broadcast.

The reign of streaming continues at the Emmys, as Netflix’s The Crown and Disney Plus' The Mandalorian were the two most nominated shows of the year. In fact, 13 of the 16 shows nominated for Outstanding Comedy and Drama this year hail from a streaming service. Here are all the shows competing for the top prize:

Outstanding Comedy: black-ish (ABC), Cobra Kai (Netflix), Emily in Paris (Netflix), The Flight Attendant (HBO Max), Hacks (HBO Max), The Kominsky Method (Netflix), Pen15 (Hulu) and Ted Lasso (Apple TV Plus)

Outstanding Drama: The Boys (Amazon Prime Originals), Bridgerton (Netflix), The Crown (Netflix), The Handmaid’s Tale (Hulu), Lovecraft Country (HBO), The Mandalorian (Disney Plus), Pose (FX) and This Is Us (NBC)

The other big category of the net is likely to be Outstanding Limited Series, which features a stacked roster with I May Destroy You (HBO), Mare of Easttown (HBO), The Queen’s Gambit (Netflix), The Underground Railroad (Amazon Prime Originals) and WandaVision (Disney Plus).

If you want to get some last-minute cramming of any of the nominees in before Sunday, here’s how you can watch the Emmy nominated shows

Who is the 2021 Emmys host?

Whatever the Emmys will look like this year, it will be guided by the one and only Cedric the Entertainer, as the comedian is handling hosting duties for the 73rd awards ceremony.

With the broadcast taking place on CBS, the network tapped Cedric the Entertainer, who is one of the stars of the network’s sitcom The Neighborhood.

This is what Cedric the Entertainer said about taking on hosting duties for this year’s Emmys:

"Throughout the roller-coaster of a year that we have all lived through, television has helped us stay connected as a society like never before. It not only entertained us, but as it always has, it helped to open our eyes, educate us, and hopefully brought about a better understanding of who we are as a people. I can’t wait to take the stage to celebrate all of the great shows and performances that made us laugh, cry, dance and sing over the past year."

How to watch the 2021 Emmys in the U.S.

The 2021 Emmys will be broadcast live on local CBS stations across the country, meaning that anyone with a traditional cable or satellite pay-TV subscription or TV antenna can tune in. Live TV streaming services that provide subscribers access to their local CBS station will also have the broadcast, this includes Fubo TV, Hulu with Live TV, Sling TV and YouTube TV.

A traditional pay-TV subscription isn’t necessary to watch this year’s Emmys, however, as the ceremony will also be streamed live on Paramount Plus; the broadcast will also be available to watch on-demand. You will of course need a Paramount Plus subscription to watch the broadcast (a seven-day free trial is available to new subscribers), though unlike most live events on CBS, the 2021 Emmys will be available on both the $4.99 ad-supported plan and the $9.99 ad-free plan. 

How to watch the 2021 Emmys Red Carpet

Of course, no major awards show can go without a red carpet. Pre-game the awards pre-game with coverage starting at 4:30 p.m. ET/1:30 p.m. PT on E! with the networks’ Countdown to the Red Carpet. Then starting at 6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT and going to the start of the awards ceremony, E! will host its Live from E! red carpet show where they will interview big name stars as they arrive.

E! ends their coverage of the 2021 Emmys with the E! After Party airing on the network at 11 p.m. ET/8 p.m. PT.

E! is premium cable channel. Check your cable/satellite provider to see if they carry the network. E! is available on Fubo TV, Hulu with Live TV, Sling TV and YouTube TV.

People and Entertainment Weekly are also teaming up for Red Carpet Live: Emmy Awards 2021, which will stream from 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT to the start of the show via People TV,, and EW’s YouTube, Facebook and Twitter accounts. 

How to watch the 2021 Emmys in the U.K.

The 2021 Emmys will be available for international audiences as well. CBS has provided the details on multiple international broadcasts, including Africa (M-Net Channel 101), Canada (CTV), France (sericlub), Indonesia (CATCHPLAY+), Japan (U-NEXT), New Zealand (Vibe) and Russia (Amedia Premium). 

As for the U.K., the ceremony will air live on Sky Showcase starting at 11 p.m. BST.

How to watch the 2021 Emmys from anywhere

If all of the above methods to watch the 2021 Emmys fail, there is always a virtual private network, or VPN. A VPN is designed to route network traffic through a specific set of servers in a specific country, allowing viewers to watch content on an encrypted feed over a computer.  


ExpressVPN is one of the easiest and affordable ways to watch what you want from anywhere you want to watch it. Plus it'll help keep your network traffic away from any prying eyes on public networks.

And it's a great way to keep up with action from anywhere in the world.

Michael Balderston

Michael Balderston is a DC-based entertainment and assistant managing editor for What to Watch, who has previously written about the TV and movies with TV Technology, Awards Circuit and regional publications. Spending most of his time watching new movies at the theater or classics on TCM, some of Michael's favorite movies include Casablanca, Moulin Rouge!, Silence of the Lambs, Children of Men, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest and Star Wars. On the TV side he enjoys Only Murders in the Building, Yellowstone, The Boys, Game of Thrones and is always up for a Seinfeld rerun. Follow on Letterboxd.