It has been confirmed that September's Emmy Awards show in the US, which includes Irish stars Paul Mescal, Andrew Scott and Fiona Shaw on the shortlist, will be a virtual affair in the wake of the Covid-19 emergency.

Entertainment trade publication Variety has obtained a letter sent by host Jimmy Kimmel and his fellow executive producers to the nominees, outlining plans for the television industry's biggest night of the year next month. 

The letter reads: 

"Dear Nominees,

"The producers of Emmys 2020 congratulate you on this incredible recognition of your work.

"We're delighted and honored to be producing the event on September 20th and have every intention of not only making sure that it is not compromised by this crazy moment in our lives, but that it is the most memorable Emmys ever and that you have a wonderful night. As you've probably guessed, we're not going to be asking you to come to the Microsoft Theatre in downtown LA on September 20th. This year, it's still going to be TV industry's biggest night out… but we'll come to you!

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"At a time like this, we're taking the opportunity to create a moment that is more relaxed, more entertaining, more enjoyable not only for you, but for the millions watching at home. It's still television's highest honor, and we never want to lose the significance of being nominated for, and maybe winning, an Emmy, but we're going to do in a way that is appropriate to the moment (and guarantees you a memorable night).

"But we cannot ignore the circumstances, and aside from NOT being able to come together in one place, we also acknowledge that our world is going through a challenging moment in many ways. We'll be producing an event that is filled with warmth and humanity, which celebrates the power of television to bring us together and to help us shape our world. You are an essential part of that story.

"So, what does this all mean for September 20th?

Andrew Scott is shortlisted for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series for Black Mirror

"We are assembling a top notch team of technicians, producers and writers to work closely with Jimmy Kimmel and with you and your team, to make sure that we can film with you (and loved ones or whomever else you choose to be with) at your home, or another location of your choice. We're going to make you look fabulous – we're exploring the cutting edge of technology to allow to use good cameras and lighting and look forward to working with you to produce your unique 'on screen' moments.

"So, what are you wearing??? Our informal theme for the night is 'come as you are, but make an effort!'

"If you want to be in formal wear, we'd love that, but equally if you're in the UK and it's 3am, perhaps you want to be in designer pajamas and record from your bed! We want to work with you to style your moments, but want you to guide us on your levels of comfort – where you want to be, who you want to be with, what you want to wear etc.

Normal People's Lenny Abrahamson is among the directing nominees

"In the forthcoming days, Jen Proctor, our Talent Producer and her extraordinary team at Cultivated Entertainment will be reaching out to you to start talking through the details.

"Once again, congratulations."

The letter is signed "With respect and admiration" by host Kimmel and fellow executive producers Ian Stewart, Reggie Hudlin, Guy Carrington and David Jammy.

Normal People, which was made by Dublin company Element Pictures for the BBC and streaming service Hulu, has been nominated for four Emmy Awards.

Its Co Kildare star Paul Mescal has been nominated for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series; Lenny Abrahamson for Outstanding Directing for a Limited Series; Normal People author Sally Rooney and screenwriter Alice Birch for Outstanding Writing for a Limited Series and Louise Kiely for Outstanding Casting for a Limited Series.

Andrew Scott's performance in Black Mirror has earned him a place on the Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series shortlist while Fiona Shaw is nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actress, Drama for her role on Killing Eve.

Watchmen has received the most nominations of any show with a total of 26 nods. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel has earned 20 with Succession and Ozark getting 18 nominations each.

The awards take place on Sunday, September 20.

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