Carnegie Mellon University
September 18, 2015

67th Primetime Emmy Awards


Carnegie Mellon University alumni have been honored with more than 100 Emmy Awards.

So it's no surprise that seven alumni and two honorary degree recipients were nominated this year for Creative Arts Emmys, which were announced Sept. 12.

Brian Stonestreet (A 1988), Alana Billingsley (A 2004) and Kristen Merlino (A 2005), were jointly nominated with Scott Welborn (A 1998) for Outstanding Production Design for Variety, Nonfiction, Reality or Reality-competition Programming for their work on the "57th Annual Grammy Awards." The three-hour show can have around 20 different performances, each with its own look.

Stonestreet has been working on the Grammys for more than a decade, first as an art director and now as production designer. He said there was excitement in working on the production, with the added challenge of not only creating a visual overall statement but also 18–20 individual performance moments.

"There's some magic about working on the Grammys," Merlino added.

The team, led by Stonestreet, works not only with the Grammys on the overall production but also works with performers and their creative teams to develop unique looks that reflect the music artist's creativity as well as work logistically with the Grammys.

"I wouldn't be in the position I am today if I hadn't been given some of the early opportunities granted to me by generous CMU alumni." — Kristen Merlino (A 2005)

Past president of CMU's West Coast Drama Alumni Clan (WCDAC), Merlino said that CMU connections are an easy reminder of just how powerful the alumni organization can be. "I wouldn't be in the position I am today if I hadn't been given some of the early opportunities granted to me by generous CMU alumni," she said.

Billingsley, who oversees the construction and installation of the main awards show set, echoed the sentiment. John Shaffner (A 1976) and Joe Stewart (A 1977) encouraged her to move to Los Angeles and then introduced her to Stonestreet. As a way to give back, she has served on the WCDAC board in the past and tries to encourage and support new graduates.

"I look forward to the annual New Member Showcase hosted by WCDAC every spring, where I have a chance to meet the recent graduates and talk with them directly about their plans," Billingsley said.

Stonestreet, who serves as production designer, has won three Emmy Awards, one of which was shared with Billingsley and another with Welborn. He said it was awesome to work with so many CMU alumni, in that each comes with a sound knowledge base in the work, a keen aesthetic, good drafting and design skills and the ability to communicate effectively.

"What is not known is picked up quickly and remembered," Stonestreet said. "And although there are years, even a decade between our times at CMU, there is still that connection."

In addition to the Grammy Awards team, the CMU alumni nominees are:

Pablo Schreiber (A 2000)
Outstanding Guest Actor In A Drama Series
"Orange is the New Black"

Steve Arnold (A 1989)
Outstanding Production Design For A Narrative Contemporary Or Fantasy Program (One Hour Or More) — 2015
"House of Cards"

John Shaffner (A 1976)
Outstanding Production Design For A Narrative Program (Half-Hour Or Less) — 2015
"Big Bang Theory"

Two CMU honorary degree recipients also were nominated.

Alan Alda, who was the 2015 commencement speaker, was nominated as the outstanding guest actor in a drama series for "The Blacklist" and won an Emmy for outstanding children's program for "Alan Alda And The Actor Within You: A YoungArts Masterclass."

Robert Dickinson, who received an honorary degree in 2005, was nominated twice in the category for outstanding lighting design/direction for a variety special, once for the "57th Annual Grammy Awards" and once for "The Oscars."

Catch a glimpse of CMU alumni at the 67th Emmy Awards, hosted by Andy Samberg, airs live at 8 p.m. EST, Sunday, Sept. 20, on FOX from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.


CMU Emmy Awards