Showbizreporting's Blog

August 13, 2009

Emmys on schedule?

Emmy ceremony to proceed in real time

TV Academy, CBS ditch plan to time-shift eight categories

By Nellie Andreeva

Aug 12, 2009, 02:13 PM ET

Updated: Aug 12, 2009, 11:04 PM ET

 
More Emmy coverage  

It has been a season of reversals for the Primetime Emmy Awards. First, the ceremony was shifted from Sept. 20, only to be returned to that date two weeks later. Now, in an even bigger about-face, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences has scrapped a plan to time-shift eight categories on this year’s broadcast after a firestorm of criticism from the creative community.

As a result, all 28 categories slated for the CBS broadcast will be awarded live.

“This decision was made to mend relationships within the television community and to allow executive producer Don Mischer to focus his full attention on producing the creative elements in the telecast,” TV academy chairman and CEO John Shaffner said. “Our goal is to celebrate the year in television and honor excellence and this year’s great achievements with the support of our industry colleagues and our telecast partner.”

Last month, Mischer proposed and ATAS’ board of governors voted to approve a time-shift of eight awards.

The proposal included mostly longform categories: best movie and best miniseries; writing for movie/miniseries; directing for movie/miniseries; supporting actor and actress in TV movie/miniseries; writing for drama series; and directing for variety, music and comedy series.

“We try to make the Emmys more relevant to mainstream viewers while honoring the choice of the academy properly and appropriately,” Mischer said at the time.

But the move drew criticism from the WGA, DGA, SAG and several networks, including HBO, which dominates the longform field. More than 100 writer-producers, including Shonda Rhimes, Seth MacFarlane, Matthew Weiner and John Wells, signed a letter protesting the decision.

That petition was the wake-up call for the Academy that created the momentum to scrap the plan, WGA West president Patric Verrone said.

“It’s important that the TV Academy appreciates the power that writers and showrunners wield when they work together and they are a force to be reckoned with,” he said.

A main point of contention was that the plan had been drafted without input from the guilds.

After the ill-fated time-shifting announcement, there have been phone conversations between the Academy and WGA.

“There will be more going forward to prevent unilateral decisions like this being made without consulting with a very important part of the creative process — writers,” Verrone said.

The creative community’s public outcry over the plan spilled into the recent Television Critics Assn. press tour, where talent and executives univocally condemned the idea and CBS execs were forced to defend it.

With the backlash showing no signs of subsiding, ATAS, after consulting with CBS, decided to back off.

Mischer said the decision to keep all Emmy categories live “was made because ultimately it is in the best interest of the show” and “in the best interest of the entertainment industry.”

“We had attempted to make room in the show for more live performances. However, our community did not embrace the plan, which is a very important consideration,” he said.

This year’s Emmycast is a crucial one for the academy coming off last year’s ceremony, which hit an all-time ratings low, and entering the final year of its contract with the broadcast networks.

With ratings for other main awards shows rebounding, the academy and CBS have been looking for ways to liven up the telecast, which includes more categories awarded live than its counterparts.

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August 4, 2009

Writer’s Protest Emmys

August 3, 2009, The Hollywood Reporter

UPDATED: More than 100 current TV writers are protesting the TV Academy’s announced changes to its primetime telecast format this year.

Top showrunners such as John Wells (“Southland”), Ron Moore (“Battlestar Galactica”), Victor Fresco (“Better Off Ted”), Ed Bernero (“Criminal Minds”), Carol Mendelsohn (“CSI”), Clyde Phillips (“Dexter”), Doug Ellin (“Entourage”), Seth MacFarlane (“Family Guy”), Jason Katims (“Friday Night Lights”), Shonda Rhimes (“Grey’s Anatomy”), David Shore (“House”), Damon Lindelof & Carlton Cuse (“Lost”) and others have signed a statement opposing shifting two TV writing categories out of the live Emmy telecast (writing for a dramatic series and writing for a movie/miniseries).

The TV Academy announced changes to the show’s format Thursday in an attempt to make the program more expedient by time-shifting eight of the 28 categories out of the live telecast. The moves will cut about 15 minutes from the three-hour program.

“Our job is to make an entertaining show that appeals to the maximum number of people but, most importantly, maintains the integrity of the Emmy brand,” executive producer Don Mischer said at a teleconference last week. 

Though the axed categories were split among directing, writing, acting and producing, writers point out that there were only four writing categories in the primetime telecast to begin with.

The news comes as CBS presents its press tour lineup in Pasadena today, which includes a TV Academy panel to talk about this year’s Emmys.

“I don’t think we’re being unfair to the creative community,” said CBS entertainment president Nina Tassler when asked about the issue Monday. “I think coming out of the telecast last year everybody knew we had to make a change and change is not easy. Even with the time shift, which is done in a very respectful way, it will have no impact on the integrity of the program. If ratings are up, more people are going to be watching the shows.”

Here’s the protest letter signed by more than 100 TV writers:

“We, the undersigned showrunners and executive producers of television’s current line-up of programs, oppose the Academy of Television Arts and Science’s decision to remove writing awards from the live telecast. This decision conveys a fundamental understatement of the importance of writers in the creation of television programming and a symbolic attack on the primacy of writing in our industry. We implore ATAS to restore these awards to their rightful place in the live telecast of the 2009 Emmy Awards.”

On Friday, the WGA issued a strongly worded statement of its own:

 “This action of the board of governors is a clear violation of a longstanding agreement the Writers Guilds have with the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences regarding their awards telecast. It is also a serious demotion for writing and a fundamental misunderstanding of the importance of writers in the creation of television programs. Last year’s Emmys suffered a tremendous decline in quality and ratings because of a lack of scripted material. That the Academy would then decide to devalue the primary and seminal role that writing plays in television is ridiculous and self-defeating.”
UPDATED: More showrunners joining the protest: Marc Cherry, David Chase, David Milch, Phil Rosenthal, Shawn Ryan, Al Jean, Shane Brennan, Carol Barbee, Jenji Kohan, Rene Balcer, Hart Hanson. Statement will be released by end of the day…

UPDATE II:

Carter Covington, 10 Things I Hate About You
David Fury, 24
Alex Gansa, 24
Evan Katz, 24
Robert Carlock, 30 Rock
Michelle Nader, 100 Questions
Rebecca Sinclair, 90210
Claudia Lonow, Accidentally on Purpose
Mike Barker, American Dad
Jeff Melvoin, Army Wives
Ronald D. Moore, Battlestar Galactica, Caprica, Virtuality
Victor Fresco, Better Off Ted
Bill Prady, Big Bang Theory
Mike Kelley, The Beautiful Life, Swingtown
Mark V. Olsen, Big Love
Will Scheffer, Big Love
Hart Hanson, Bones                  
Stephen Nathan, Bones
Vince Gilligan, Breaking Bad
Molly Newman, Brothers & Sisters
Matt Nix, Burn Notice
Tom Kapinos, Californication
Jane Espenson, Caprica
Andrew W. Marlowe, Castle
Chris Fedak, Chuck
Matt Miller, Chuck
Scott Rosenbaum, Chuck
Robert Munic, The Cleaner
Rich Appel, The Cleveland Show
Jennifer Johnson, Cold Case
Greg Plageman, Cold Case
Garrett Donovan, Community
Neil Goldman, Community
Ed Bernero, Criminal Minds
Carol Mendelsohn, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation
Naren Shankar, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation
Peter Lenkov, CSI: New York
Pam Veasey, CSI: New York
Rick Eid, Dark Blue
Doug Yung, Dark Blue
Matt Berry, Desperate Housewives
Marc Cherry, Desperate Housewives
Bob Daily, Desperate Housewives
Clyde Phillips, Dexter
Melissa Rosenberg, Dexter
Charles H. Eglee, Dexter
Maggie Friedman, Eastwick
David S. Rosenthal, Eastwick
Doug Ellin, Entourage
Thania St. John, Eureka
Jill Franklyn, Failure to Fly
Steve Callaghan, Family Guy
David A. Goodman, Family Guy
Mark Hentemann, Family Guy
Seth McFarlane, Family Guy, The Cleveland Show, American Dad
Chris Sheridan, Family Guy
Marc Guggenheim, Flash Forward
Luke Reiter, The Forgotten
Jason Katims, Friday Night Lights, Parenthood
Jeff Pinkner, Fringe
J.H. Wyman, Fringe
David X. Cohen, Futurama
Ira Ungerleider, Gary Unmarried
Michelle King, The Good Wife
John Altschuler, The Goode Family
Dave Krinsky, The Goode Family
Patrick Sean Smith, Greek
Shonda Rhimes, Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice
Steve Peterman, Hannah Montana
Michael Poryes, Hannah Montana
Glen Mazzara, HawthoRNe
Adam Armus, Heroes
Garnett Lerner, House
David Shore, House
Brad Kern, Human Target
Jon Steinberg, Human Target
Colette Burson, Hung
Dmitry Lipkin, Hung
Michael B. Kaplan, I’m In the Band
Neal Baer, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
Rene Balcer, Law & Order, Law & Order: Criminal Intent
Walon Green, Law & Order: Criminal Intent
Samuel Baum, Lie to Me
Shawn Ryan, Lie To Me
Daniel Voll, Lie to Me
Janet Leahy, Life UneXpected
Kathleen McGhee-Anderson, Lincoln Heights
Carlton Cuse, Lost
Adam Horowitz, Lost
Edward Kitsis, Lost
Damon Lindelof, Lost
Matt Weiner, Mad Men
Holly Sorensen, Make It or Break It
Glenn Gordon Caron, Medium
Todd Slavkin, Melrose Place
Darren Swimmer, Melrose Place
Michael Royce, Men of a Certain Age
Gretchen Berg, Mercy
Aaron Harberts, Mercy
Liz Heldens, Mercy
Jeffrey Lieber, Miami Trauma
Steven Maeda, Miami Trauma
Eileen Heisler, The Middle
DeAnn Heline, The Middle
Steve Levitan, Modern Family
Shane Brennan, NCIS; NCIS: Los Angeles
Jeff Astrof, The New Adventures of Old Christine
Kari Lizer, The New Adventures of Old Christine
Andrew Dettman, Numb3rs
Ken Sanzel, Numb3rs
Greg Daniels, The Office, Parks & Recreation
Paul Lieberstein, The Office
Michael Schur, The Office, Parks & Recreation
David Hudgins, Past Life
Ellen Kreamer, Plummer
Jon Cowan, Private Practice
Stan Zimmerman, Rita Rocks
Michael Rauch, Royal Pains, Love Monkey
Shaun Cassidy, Ruby & the Rockits
Marsh McCall, Ruby & the Rockits
Tom Hertz, Rules of Engagement
Matthew Carlson, Sons of Tucson
Nancy Miller, Saving Grace
Neil Goldman, Scrubs
Al Jean, The Simpsons
Matt Selman, The Simpsons
Kurt Sutter, Sons of Anarchy
Michael Feldman, Sonny with a Chance
Steve Marmel, Sonny with a Chance
Steve DeKnight, Spartacus: Blood & Sand
Ann Biderman, Southland
John Wells, Southland
Danny Kallis, Suite Life on Deck
Eric Kripke, Supernatural
James Duff, The Closer
Jay Kogen, The Troop
Thomas W. Lynch, The Troop
Carol Barbee, Three Rivers
Eric Overmyer, Treme
Michael Hirst, The Tudors
Susan Beavers, Two and a Half Men
Lee Aronsohn, Two and a Half Men, Big Bang Theory
Jill Soloway, United States of Tara
Jeffrey Bell, V
Scott Peters, V
Jack Kenny, Warehouse 13
David Simkins, Warehouse 13
Roberto Benabib, Weeds
Jenji Kohan, Weeds
Todd J. Greenwald, Wizards of Waverly Place
Peter Murietta, Wizards of Waverly Place
Matt Dearborn, Zeke & Luther
Tom Burkhard, Zeke and Luther
Patric M. Verrone
John F. Bowman
David Chase
David Milch
Phil Rosenthal

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