Turns out Emmycast producer Don Mischer prays for such moments as well. As he said in a recent Variety interview, such surprises drive Twitter traffic, which in turn drives viewership.
Of course, the problem with depending on such moments is that you can't plan them. All you can do is make room for them to happen. For the rest of the August 25 show, however, here's what you can expect to see, courtesy of Mischer and Emmy emcee Seth Meyers.
Gentle jabs. Meyers will open the show with a monologue in which he'll likely lampoon many of the nominees and other bigwigs among the crowd at Hollywood's Nokia Theater. But don't expect the "Late Night" host to offer sharp barbs à la Ricky Gervais. In his recent Reddit AMA, Meyers said his rule about making fun of people is, " I try hard not to tell any jokes that, were I to see the person I told them about, I wouldn't feel so bad that I couldn't say hello." Since he'll be seeing nearly all of those people while he's telling jokes about them, expect him to go pretty easy on TV's biggest personalities. Also, don't expect him to sing or dance; thankfully, that's also not his style.
Movie stars. Such Oscar-winning big-screen luminaries as Halle Berry, Matthew McConaughey, Octavia Spencer, and Julia Roberts will be among the presenters this year. Past Oscar nominees Viola Davis and Woody Harrelson will also be handing out Emmys. Of course, all of these folks either had prominent roles on TV this year –- some are up for Emmys on Monday night –- or are starring in network shows about to debut this fall. Their presence is a reminder that TV is so good now that it's routinely attracting such prestigious film thespians for major roles.
Faster pacing. Last year's show broke several times to memorialize noteworthy TV personalities who had died that year. Mischer (who wasn't involved with last year's broadcast) has said that Monday's Emmy show will be a lot more upbeat and funnier. Plus, it'll move award-winners on and off the stage faster. After all, the Emmys already hand out more trophies (27) than any other primetime awards show. There's actually one more award this year than last year, since Best Movie or Miniseries has been split in two. And the show is contractually bound not to exceed three hours. So winners won't be allowed to remain on stage long enough to bore you with all the thank-yous to their agents and stylists. After 40 seconds, the orchestra will start to play them off. Sorry, winners.
Late-night hosts. Meyers' fellow wee-hours funnymen Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Fallon, and Jimmy Kimmel are all scheduled to present. Consider their appearances a preview of 2015, when they'll be the three guys running late-night on the major networks. Will the Emmys provide a rare moment of détente that sees all three of them appear in a bit together? Cross your fingers.
In-jokes. As fervent as the fanbases are for cable hits like "Game of Thrones" or "True Detective," it's worth remembering that they're still watched by only a small minority of the TV audience at large. Then again, so are the network shows. So expect a lot of bits that pay homage to particular shows and their stars that leave a majority of Emmy viewers at home scratching their heads. Mischer has said there won't be many pre-taped comedy bits, but don't be surprised if the ones that do air look like this one, an Emmy promo made earlier this week that features Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Bryan Cranston, and Aaron Paul, and whose humor depends a lot on the viewer's knowledge of "Breaking Bad" and junk-collector reality shows.
NBC plugs. The Emmy ceremony rotates every year among the Big Four networks. This year, it's NBC's turn, which is why Meyers is hosting, and why you'll see among the presenters such NBC stars as Debra Messing (whose "The Mysteries of Laura") debuts this fall and new "The Voice" coach Gwen Stefani. Longtime "Voice" star Adam Levine will present as well, and so will "Parks and Recreation" star (and Meyers' former "Saturday Night Live" news desk co-anchor) Amy Poehler.
Suspense. Lots of tight races this year, which is good. It drives up rooting interest in seeing who wins, and it means you won't be too disappointed if your favorite gets beaten by a worthy fellow nominee. Hard as it is to predict who'll win and who'll go home empty-handed, I'll go out on a limb and say that no star from "Mad Men" will win anything. As many times as the show has been named Best Drama, none of its stars has ever taken home a trophy, and they won't this year, either. Maybe next year, which will be the show's last eligible year, but not this Monday. Tough break, martini-swillers.
Heartfelt tributes. The recent death of Robin Williams means that the "In Memoriam" segment will draw extra scrutiny this year. Sara Bareilles will provide the music, and in addition to the usual slideshow of departed TV greats, the show will make special mention of Williams, with his pal Billy Crystal offering a eulogy. There may also be a special homage to legendary TV announcer Don Pardo, whose 70-year career (including 38 years as the voice of "Saturday Night Live") ended with his death earlier this week at age 96.
Technophobia. Despite Mischer's admission of the importance of live social media in the Emmy broadcast's success, and despite the ongoing evolution of television into a more mobile, interactive, user-programmed medium, don't expect the Emmy show itself to acknowledge any of this. No Ellen DeGeneres Oscar-style mass selfies for Meyers, who joked to Variety that the closest he'll get to cutting-edge digital technology during the broadcast might be a bit where, "at one point, I'm going to take out my Blackberry and try to download an app. We'll see how long that takes." Multitasking Emmy viewers who crave a simultaneous second-screen experience can partake of the Emmys' "Backstage LIVE" coverage, where they can toggle back and forth among 15 backstage camera feeds, streaming live at Emmys.com, NBC.com, and Yahoo.com. (There will also be live feeds of backstage Tweets and Instagram photos.) Emmys.com will also host a live moderated Twitter chat (use hashtags #EmmysChat or #EmmysCongrats). So while Meyers and company are paying homage to the top TV achievements of the past year, you can take a gander at TV's possible future.