Tonight’s announcement follows a 7 PM emergency board meeting by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences reported by Deadline to resolve what was seeming like an endless delay in setting this year’s Primetime Emmy Awards on Fox on September 18th. But Deadline learned last night that a new deal to telecast the show was imminent and that Fox would host without any radical changes to the lineup, like moving the writers and directors categories. Sources told Deadline that ATAS lawyers assured the Writers and Directors Guilds staff that the Academy’s waiver agreements for free clips contractually in place with the WGA and DGA would be renewed and stay essentially the same. That meant the TV Academy wouldn’t dare to even try mess with the writers and directors or else pay through the nose for clips. Now that it’s official, everyone in the TV community can breathe a sigh of relief. As for Mark Burnett’s selection as producer, I’d written after one especially rotten Oscarcast that he should have been brought in to fix the Movie Academy’s awful show. He can’t do worse for the Emmys.

Tonight’s TV Academy Board confab resolved any remaining issues standing in the way of a new deal after nearly nine months of protracted negotiations. The TV community’s patience wore thin for a new agreement to be finalized by ATAS and its chief negotiator, powerful showbiz lawyer Kenny Ziffren. After all, it’s just 4½ months before the 63rd Primetime Emmys ceremony airs live from Nokia Theatre, yet the kudosfest was still an event in search of a television home.

One probem was the lack of a competitive cable network player stepping up to host the Emmys similar to HBO’s $10 million-a-year offer from eight years ago. (That wild card drove up initial lowball offers from the networks in the $3.5 million-$4.5 million range.) HBO wasn’t a bidder this time around, nor was TBS. Which leaves only the networks, who still see the Emmys as prestigious, and very much a marketing opportunity for fall shows, and still able to pull in a tidy profit in the low 8-figures. So the deal on the table pretty much mirrored the most recent 8-year “wheel” deal that expired last August: broadcast networks NBC, ABC, CBS, and Fox take turns hosting the show on a rotating basis and paying the TV Academy $7.5 million annually in rights fees. It looks like the TV Academy’s requirement that the primetime show must hand out 27 trophies in three hours remains status quo with Burnett at the helm this year. But the announcement below says that will be reviewed in subsequent years of the 8-year deal:

NORTH HOLLYWOOD, CA, May 4, 2011 – The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences and representatives from ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC announced this evening that the Academy’s contract with the four broadcast networks to televise the Primetime Emmy® Awards has been extended through 2018. The Primetime Emmy® Awards will continue a “wheel rotation” with each of the four broadcast networks, beginning with FOX for the 2011 telecast and continuing with ABC, CBS and NBC, respectively. The networks will pay a license fee of at least $8.25 million for the program, for a guaranteed $66 million over the course of the eight-year deal.

In addition, it was announced that Emmy Award-winning producer Mark Burnett has been selected to executive produce the 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards, which airs Sunday, September 18, on FOX.

“We thank Ken Ziffren for his leadership, as well as all those involved from both the Television Academy and the broadcast networks in bringing the negotiations to this successful conclusion,” said Television Academy Chairman and CEO John Shaffner.  “We are excited about the continued collaboration with our broadcast partners, and look forward to working with FOX and — for the first time– with Mark Burnett on this year’s telecast.”

“As an Emmy Award winner, I know the excitement of standing on the Emmy stage before your peers and the American public to receive that statue,” said Mark Burnett.  “My mission in producing this year’s Emmys is to provide the absolutely most memorable television experience for the nominees, the winners and the viewing audience.”

The numbers and categories of on-air awards for the 2011 telecast will remain the same. For the subsequent seven years of the agreement, the designated network broadcasting the Primetime Emmys and the Academy will give due consideration to reviewing the award categories and the manner of presentation of the awards, taking into account the interests of various constituencies of the Academy.

The Academy’s negotiating committee was chaired by Kenneth Ziffren and included John Shaffner, Nancy Wiard and Alan Perris. Dixon Dern served as the Academy’s attorney.

The networks’ negotiating team consisted of Ira Kurgan (FOX), Deborah Barak (CBS), Marc Graboff (NBC) and Jana Winograde (ABC). Minna Taylor, a FOX attorney, acted as the contact person on behalf of the networks’ attorneys.

About Mark Burnett
Three time Emmy Award winner Mark Burnett has produced over 1,000 hours of television programming which regularly air in over 70 countries worldwide. His current airing series include “Survivor” (CBS), “The Celebrity Apprentice” (NBC), “Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader?” (FOX), “Shark Tank” (ABC) and “The Voice” (NBC); completing the milestone of having had a renewed series on each of the four US major networks. Burnett also produces “Expedition Impossible” (ABC) which is to premiere later this year, and has a strong presence in other award show franchises, producing the annual “People’s Choice Awards” and the “MTV Movie Awards.”

In April of 2011, Burnett and media conglomerate Hearst Corporation announced their new joint media, production and events-based venture which will focus on media content, producing events around that content, and spinning off television shows and other programming based on Hearst brands.

Mr. Burnett has been named one of the world’s most influential people by TIME Magazine and also TV Guide’s most valuable player. He has won BRANDWEEK’S Marketer of the Year Award, The Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Award, the PGA Norman Lear Award and the prestigious ROSE D’OR FRAPA Format Award.  Burnett was inducted into the Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame and was honored in 2010 with a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame.

Editor-in-Chief Nikki Finke - tip her here.