Production designer John Shaffner has been elected to a three-year term as Chair of the Art Directors Council, effective immediately, replacing Thomas A. Walsh, who continues in the position of President of the overall Art Directors Guild (ADG, IATSE Local 800). Shaffner was formerly Vice-Chair of the Council, a position now filled by Corey Kaplan. Also elected to the Art Directors Council was Jack Fisk. The ADG has four craft councils: Art Directors; Scenic, Title & Graphic Artists; Set Designers & Model Makers; and Illustrators & Matte Artists. Shaffner has just completed four years as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. He presently works as Production Designer on Two and a Half Men, The Big Bang Theory and Mike & Molly.
Bruce Rosenblum’s Surprise Entry Into TV Academy Chairman Race: He Talks, Board Members React, & What His Opponent Says
A new day may be coming for the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences if Warner Bros Television Group president Bruce Rosenblum has his way. The high-powered exec — who also holds the title of Office of the President, Warner Bros Entertainment (along with Jeff Robinov and Kevin Tsujihara) — has essentially been recruited to run for chairman of ATAS in the upcoming November election to replace current chair John Shaffner, an Emmy-winning art director who ironically works for WBTV on several Chuck Lorre-produced sitcoms. Rosenblum will be opposed by at least one other candidate, Nancy Bradley Wiard, a veteran ATAS officer currently in her second term as first vice chair who confirmed to me in an exclusive interview today that she’s definitely in the race to stay, although she added, ”I guess I am going to have to get a publicist now.”
Rosenblum’s entry is a significant development both inside and outside the Academy because the position hasn’t had a big name since former Walt Disney Studios president Rich Frank served, first for a couple of years in the mid-1980s and later in a four-year term in the mid-90s. Since then, there has been criticism that ATAS has not had a true industry heavyweight to lead it through the ever-changing landscape of the business. “I think it’s great,” one veteran TV exec and longtime Academy member who once worked with Rosenblum told me today. “He’s an important guy, and it hasn’t been an important position for several years. If he gets it, it will instantly be an important position again. He employs a lot of the industry, and I think Bruce would bring dignity back to the Academy along with innovation and evolution.”
On the other hand, one board member who will be voting in the election expressed a little wariness today over Rosenblum’s entrance into the race: “To put an executive of this level, it could be a huge conflict. Everyone in that room could potentially work for him. Who’s gonna get in a big fight with him? Also, he has nothing to gain. Why would he want to do this with all the various headaches, personalities and convoluted structure he will have to take on? Who is dumb enough to step in to this pile of s***?”
Another board member welcomed the idea: “To get us through the transition that we need to make is gonna take someone of that stature and acumen to do that. I see this as a good development, a necessary one. It’s probably time for someone who hasn’t been an insider on the board to give this a fresh spin.”
Wiard, who actually once served on the executive committee with Rosenblum, touts her years of service and insider knowledge as a plus. She also says she realizes the importance of having major industry names appointed to the committee (she says she already has two of those commitments should she win) — just not running the whole show. Before Rosenblum jumped in the race, she says she was actually considering asking him to serve on the executive committee again. “We do need people with power that are willing to help the organization, to be able to put on another Super Highway Summit, to do those types of things,” she said. “I can’t reach out into that world, I don’t know that world well enough. It’s why our Foundation works; the big players are willing to serve, but I do not believe you need a president of a corporation to run the room. I do believe we are better off having one of our own.”
For his part, Rosenblum says he made the decision a couple of weeks ago and seems raring to go. “A couple of people came and approached me and asked if I would consider it,” he told me when we spoke earlier today.
ReelzChannel is expanding its foray into the TV awards show area. After televising the inaugural Critics’ Choice Television Awards in June, the fledgling cable channel has now picked up the Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards, which have aired on E! for the past 9 years. Here is the release:
NORTH HOLLYWOOD, CA, August 15, 2011 – The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences announced today that REELZCHANNEL will broadcast the 2011 Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards which will once again be produced by Spike Jones, Jr. The announcement was made by Television Academy Chairman and CEO John Shaffner. The awards will be taped on Saturday, September 10th and air on Saturday, September 17th at 8:00 PM ET and at 8:00 PM PT. While this marks the 17th year that Jones, Jr. has produced the awards, it is the first time REELZCHANNEL has broadcast the ceremony.
Diane Haithman is contributing to Deadline’s coverage of TCA.
Jane Lynch said that executive producer Mark Burnett surprised her on the plane back to L.A. from the TV upfronts in New York earlier this year by asking her to save a place on her dance card to host the 2011 Emmys. Burnett, the reality kingpin behind Survivor and The Voice, told her he didn’t have the authority to actually offer her the job, but she said yes on the spot. Lynch, an Emmy winner herself for Glee, has already poked fun at her upcoming hosting role Sept. 18 with TV spots in which she admits to saying to producers upon being asked: “You know I’m not Ellen DeGeneres, don’t you?”
On today’s lively panel with Lynch, Burnett and John Shaffner, chairman and CEO of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, Lynch said she would be sitting in the writers’ room throughout the development of the awards telecast (her friend Jill Soloway will be among the writers group). Of live hosting duties, Lynch said she brings “the necessary energetic cocktail of excitement, anticipation and fear.” And both she and Burnett say that viewers will be seeing Jane Lynch, not a version of her Glee character, no-nonsense coach Sue Sylvester, which Lynch used in her emcee duties at the Fox upfronts the last 2 years. “A little Sue Sylvester goes a long way,” she said. “We will probably leave her track suit on the Paramount lot.” She also said she hopes to avoid classic awards show disasters such as Rob Lowe’s Snow White number on the Academy Awards. For his part, first-time Emmy producer Burnett says he will use his reality TV experience to keep the show’s pacing clipping right along. “The most important thing, [because] the Emmys are three hours long, is pacing,” saying there would be a lot of comic bits to keep things moving along.”
Melissa McCarthy (Mike & Molly) and Joshua Jackson (Fringe) will announce nominations for the 63rd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards alongside ATAS chairman and CEO John Shaffner at 5:40 AM PT Thursday, July 14. The TV Academy made the announcement today. The Primetime Emmys are Sept. 18.
Ray Richmond in contributing to Deadline’s Emmy and TCA coverage.
Primetime Emmy executive producer Don Mischer expressed some frustration at a TCA session hyping NBC’s 62nd Primetime Emmy Awards telecast: so many awards and so little time. “We’ve got to hand out 27 of them in 2 hours, 6 minutes, and 54 seconds — and we’re already running over,” he said. Mischer was responding to questions about categories already moved from the primetime telecast to the Creative Arts Ceremony eight days before. This includes the top reality host competition as well as writers and directors of comedy, variety and music series. All had been included in 2009 but will now be out of the telecast in favor of writers and directors for specials.
“We also have included the Bob Hope Humanitarian Award for the first time in six years,” Mischer added, “which will take another five minutes during the telecast.” (George Clooney will be receiving it.) Mischer maintained that he and the telecast don’t have nearly as much flexibility as people imagine. “On the longform awards, for example, we didn’t have the option of shifting the writers and directors for contractual reasons. And we really didn’t want to think about taking the made-for-TV movie or miniseries award out. The reality host award was one we didn’t have a commitment to in terms of keeping it in the telecast.”