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EMMY: TV Academy Calls Emergency Board Meeting To Resolve Telecast Deal Delay

Deadline TV contributor Ray Richmond files this urgent report:

UPDATE 7 PM: Deadline has just learned that a new deal to telecast the Primetime Emmy Awards is imminent and that Fox will host without any radical changes to the show. This is the reason for Wednesday night’s Academy of Television Arts and Sciences calling an emergency meeting of its Board of Governors at 7 PM. Sources also tell Deadline that ATAS lawyers are assuring the Writers and Directors Guilds staff that the Academy’s waiver agreements for free clips contractually in place with the WGA and DGA which expired with the last Emmys will be renewed and stay essentially the same. This means that ATAS won’t dare to even try to knock the writers’ and directors’ categories off the primetime Emmy show or else they’d have to pay through the nose for clips. Everyone in the TV community can breathe a sigh of relief…

6:30 PM: The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences’ Board of Governors has called an emergency meeting for 7 PM Wednesday. Sources tell me the confab is to resolve any remaining issues standing in the way of a new deal to telecast the Primetime Emmy Awards after nearly 9 months of protracted negotiations. The TV community’s patience is wearing thin for a new agreement to be finalized by ATAS and its chief negotiator, powerful showbiz lawyer Kenny Ziffren who did the last bargaining, and presented to the Academy board for approval. After all, it’s just 4½ months before the 63rd Primetime Emmys ceremony airs live on September 18th from Nokia Theatre, yet the kudosfest still remains an event in search of a television home. So what are the problems?

– Problem #1: The lack of a competitive cable network player stepping up to host the Emmys similar to HBO’s $10 million-a-year offer from 8 years ago. That wild card drove up initial lowball offers from the networks in the $3.5 million to $4.5 million range. HBO is said not to want to be a bidder this time, nor apparently TBS which a source confirmed to me had its own bid 8 years ago to beat any other offer by $1 million. So what prevents the TV Academy giving exclusive broadcast rights to a single network in the same way that the movie academy does to ABC? Only the inevitable outcry from the other networks. Because the Emmycast is still prestigious, and very much a marketing opportunity for fall shows, and still annually pulls in a tidy profit in the low 8-figures, as a network source confirmed to me. But as one insider close to the negotiations believes, “The longer they wait to get the deal done, the greater the likelihood of a fire sale.”

– Problem #2: I’ve learned that the deal on the table pretty much mirrors the most recent 8-year “wheel” deal that expired last August with broadcast networks NBC, ABC, CBS, and Fox taking turns hosting the show on a rotating basis and paying the TV Academy $7.5 million annually in rights fees. If nothing changes, then it’s Fox’s turn to carry the Emmys this September. But while the Academy is more than happy to keep the status quo, the networks aren’t. Stagnant ratings and the ATAS requirement that the primetime show must hand out 27 trophies in three hours isn’t sitting well anymore. As a source tied to the negotiations tells me: “The networks want to make it a faster-moving, more youth-skew show, which means taking out categories and adding entertainment elements more like the Grammys. They’re also sick and tired of hosting a show that annually turns into a big promotion of cable.” Last year’s Emmy telecast attracted 13.5 million viewers and a 4.1 rating in adults 18-49 on NBC (matching the 2009 numbers). By contrast, the Grammys earlier this year pulled in 26.7 million viewers, its biggest audience since 2001.

– Problem #3: But what categories do you cut? If the ATAS Board of Directors had its way, they’d buckle to the networks and reduce the primetime telecast by a third, to 18 categories. The Academy this year deep-sixed the Outstanding Miniseries stand-alone category and folded it into top Made-For-TV Movie, to the great consternation of those TVmakers. That, however, is seen as a Band-Aid at best on what needs to be a show re-cast. Right now, insiders report that the chief battleground is in the writing and directing and longform categories which both the networks and ATAS would like to delete from primetime. Read More »

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Cloris Leachman, Diahann Carroll, Peter Jennings And Tom Freston Inducted Into TV Academy’s Hall of Fame

Nellie Andreeva

North Hollywood, CA – The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame Committee has selected two iconic actresses, a ground-breaking comedy writer, an innovative cable executive, a trail-blazing TV game show producer, a universally respected journalist and television’s most beloved composer as the newest inductees into the Hall of Fame, announced Television Academy Chairman-CEO John Shaffner.

Actresses Diahann Carroll and Cloris Leachman, cable executive Tom Freston, composer Earle Hagen, writer and producer Susan Harris, broadcast journalist Peter Jennings, and game show producer Bill Todman will be honored in the 20th Annual Hall of Fame Induction ceremony held at the Beverly Hills Hotel on January 20th. The event will be produced by Lee Miller. Earle Hagen, Peter Jennings, and Bill Todman will be inducted posthumously.

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2010 Creative Arts Emmy Winners (LIVE)

BREAKING NEWS… LIVE COVERAGE… Keep refreshing…

The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (ATAS) today awarded the 2009-2010 Creative Arts Primetime Emmy Awards for programs and individual achievements at the 62nd Emmy Awards presentation at the NOKIA Theatre L.A. LIVE in Los Angeles. HBO’s epic $100 million-plus miniseries The Pacific earned the most Emmys at Saturday’s technical category ceremony for its casting, sound mixing, sound editing, makeup, art direction and visual effects. The freshman ABC comedy Modern Family paced series for its casting, sound mixing and editing. HBO led with a total 17 awards and its miniseries The Pacific led all programs with 7 awards. ABC received 15 awards, followed by Fox 9, CBS 7, NBC 7, PBS 7, Showtime 5, Cartoon Network 4, AMC 2, Discovery Channel 2, and A&E, Comedy Central, Disney Channel, History, Nickelodeon, USA one each:

Outstanding Writing For A Variety, Music Or Comedy Series
The Colbert Report • #5076 (in Iraq) • Comedy Central • Hello Doggie, Inc. with Busboy Productions and Spartina Productions
Barry Julien, Head Writer
Stephen Colbert, Writer
Allison Silverman, Writer
Tom Purcell, Writer
Rich Dahm, Writer
Michael Brumm, Writer
Rob Dubbin, Writer
Opus Moreschi, Writer
Peter Gwinn, Writer
Jay Katsir, Writer
Frank Lesser, Writer
Glenn Eichler, Writer
Peter Grosz, Writer
Meredith Scardino, Writer
Max Werner, Writer
Eric Drysdale, Writer

Outstanding Special Class Programs
63rd Annual Tony Awards • CBS • White Cherry Entertainment
Ricky Kirshner, Executive Producer
Glenn Weiss, Executive Producer
Neil Patrick Harris, Host

Outstanding Nonfiction Series
The National Parks: America’s Best Idea • PBS • A Production of Florentine Films … Read More »

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Is This Any Way To Judge Emmy Awards?

Ray Richmond is contributing to Deadline’s 2010 Emmy coverage:

emmyThe Primetime Emmy screeners and ballots for at-home judging are in the mail. It happens that the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences is one of the last organizations in the land to depend wholeheartedly on the U.S. Postal Service in the Internet Age. The first of two mailings have been going out this week from the Academy offices in North Hollywood to those judging the creative arts (or technical) categories for this year’s Emmys. Next week, those assessing the categories being announced during the August 29th telecast on NBC receive their packages that include DVD nominee discs and a Scan-Tron voting sheet for marking choices. Yes, the TV Academy is still utilizing the same technology that we all used in high school and college to take multiple choice tests.

So here’s a question that needs to be asked: Is the Emmy judging process itself as antiquated as the Academy distribution and technological procedures?

Both to its credit and detriment, the TV Academy has kept the Emmys in a near-constant state of retooling to supposedly remain relevant. But, clearly, that doesn’t always work. Much of the Academy’s futzing is done in the interest of keeping the telecast fresh and the competition open. But for a lot of the categories, that hasn’t much mattered — as we’ve seen with the seven consecutive wins of both The Amazing Race and The Daily Show and the three in a … Read More »

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