Prep for this 12 months’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on NBC had already been basting for months when the COVID-19 pandemic pressured organizers to prepare dinner up a brand new method to pull it off.
“Now we have to plan this factor about 18 months out, as a result of we do issues like choose the bands, we design and construct our floats, our balloons and every little thing,” stated government producer Susan Tercero. “As you possibly can think about, once we obtained to March of this previous 12 months, we’d already had a parade plan.”
Lots of these components nonetheless stay: Musical performances, balloons, floats and a Santa Claus finale. However because the months went on and it turned obvious that the world nonetheless wouldn’t be again to regular within the fall, producers got here up with a brand new recipe for this 12 months’s occasion.
The largest change: This 12 months’s 94th annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade shall be for tv audiences solely. There received’t be the conventional 2.5-mile parade route or crowds alongside the way in which; as a substitute, the occasion shall be tied solely to the cameras in entrance of the Macy’s Herald Sq. flagship retailer on thirty fourth Avenue in New York Metropolis.
“Yearly we now have two parades: There’s the one for New Yorkers who line the parade alongside the streets, and we knew that couldn’t occur, we couldn’t march from uptown to downtown,” Tercero stated. “The opposite parade is the one which occurs on tv for 50 million folks. We knew that was going to be our most secure manner of transferring ahead.”
As a result of the producers are treating this 12 months’s parade like a film set, they’ve been capable of work with the town of New York and the New York Police Division in figuring out areas to dam off, in order that crowds don’t attempt to crash the parade.
Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb and Al Roker of NBC’s “Right this moment Present” will host the three-hour telecast, produced by Brad Lachman Prods. Jimmy Fallon and the Roots are scheduled to open the present.
Different performers embrace Lauren Alaina, Sofia Carson, Tori Kelly, Patti LaBelle, Matthew Morrison, Leslie Odom Jr., Keke Palmer, Dolly Parton, Pentatonix, Bebe Rexha and Jordin Sparks. The casts of “Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Occasions of The Temptations,” “Hamilton,” “Jagged Little Capsule” and “Imply Ladies” are additionally set to be showcased.
“We discovered methods to have a steadiness of each [live and pre-tape],” Tercero stated. “We are going to nonetheless be doing it dwell as a result of there may be some magic in that. I believe that individuals are lacking dwell leisure, a type of issues the place you by no means know what’s going to occur. And folks will wish to tune in to see how we put all of it collectively.”
The manufacturing shall be aired seamlessly in order that viewers received’t essentially be capable of inform what’s dwell and what’s not. Among the balloons, for instance, shall be dwell, whereas others shall be pre-taped. In response to Macy’s and NBC, “the general variety of contributors have now been lowered by roughly 88 p.c, and break up over three days.”
Amongst different modifications: No highschool or faculty marching bands (which have been pushed to 2021), because the parade received’t embrace anybody below 18 this 12 months resulting from well being and security issues.
“We realized that faculties weren’t certain the place they had been going to be [in fall],” Tercero stated. Most faculties had been closed. They didn’t know in the event that they had been even going to have a marching band program within the fall. We needed to make that call rapidly for them as a result of there was loads of unknown of their world.”
As an alternative, this 12 months’s parade will depend on performances and parts from different New York Metropolis parades that didn’t get an opportunity to march this 12 months, such because the Puerto Rican Day, St. Patrick’s Day, NYC Delight, West Indian Day and Coney Island USA Mermaid parades.
“We invited them to return and be a pleasant illustration, actually of what New York is and what everyone knows New York to be,” she stated. “And we get to share it with folks throughout the nation. So whereas they didn’t get to have their parade dwell and in individual this 12 months, they’ll get to do a chunk of it for 50 million viewers on TV.”
Additionally, as a substitute of the practically 100 individuals who normally function every balloon, Toro tractor autos shall be towing them.
“You’re nonetheless going to see them flying excessive,” Tercero stated. “It’s simply the way in which that they’re being carried down the road is completely different. Now we have achieved many, many iterations of this and coaching to try to be sure that that is the correct method to go. I believe it’s going to nonetheless get the identical essence and the balloons flying excessive amongst the buildings that we’re used to seeing.”
Macy’s additionally received’t maintain its regular balloon inflation public occasion in New York, which normally takes place the night time earlier than Thanksgiving.
Tercero stated Macy’s obtained a style of the way to pivot throughout the pandemic when it produced a special model of its Fourth of July Fireworks this 12 months. However the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade was a much bigger problem, notably not too long ago as COVID-19 instances have grown and issues over gatherings have grow to be extra acute in latest weeks.
“We tried to construct a plan to have an occasion, primarily based on what we knew on the time and loads of our selections had been made in June and continued to evolve after that,” she stated. “Each week has introduced a special concern for us within the metropolis on this nation of the place we’re when it comes to pandemic. And we now have needed to make changes in keeping with that… We’re simply actually excited that we’re nonetheless capable of ship this this 12 months to all people in a secure manner. That’s actually our purpose.”
Apart from airing at 9 a.m. ET on NBC, NBCUniversal has additionally partnered with Verizon for the fifth 12 months to livestream the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on YouTube.com/Verizon, on Twitter by way of @Verizon and different Verizon Media properties, together with Yahoo.
One other vacation particular that needed to swap gears this 12 months was ABC’s “The Fantastic World of Disney: Magical Vacation Celebration,” which airs on Thanksgiving at 9 a.m. The fifth annual version of the particular options hosts Derek and Julianne Hough, in addition to Trevor Jackson (“Grown-ish”) from Walt Disney World. However past that, a lot of the particular will function efficiency highlights from earlier years, together with Ciara (2017), Kelly Clarkson (2016), Jason Derulo (2017), Meghan Trainor (2018), Boyz II Males (2016) and Shaggy (2019).