Emmy War: Both Sides Need to Chill

The TV Academy is finally fighting back against those voices opposed to its planned Emmy changes.    Academy CEO John Shaffner and Emmy executive producer Don Mischer defended the slated tweaks today during a powwow with reporters at the TCA press tour. Neil Patrick Harris, host of this year’s show, also begged dissidents to take […]

Last Updated: August 3, 2009 @ 6:38 PM

The TV Academy is finally fighting back against those voices opposed to its planned Emmy changes. 

 

Academy CEO John Shaffner and Emmy executive producer Don Mischer defended the slated tweaks today during a powwow with reporters at the TCA press tour. Neil Patrick Harris, host of this year’s show, also begged dissidents to take a step back and consider the big picture.

 

The full story is here.

 

My two cents: Both sides need to stop the press releases and pronouncements. Shaffner told me after his panel that he hoped today’s session would mark the beginning of a process that would lead to more writers (and directors and HBO executives) embracing the changes. 

 

That’s fine, but the press is not the proper vehicle for explaining these changes. 

 

Likewise, the WGA really doesn’t accomplish much by having showrunners publicly dis an idea they may not fully understand. 

 

It’s important to realize these shifts weren’t made in a rush. And despite what some wags think, CBS is not dictating these changes.

 

The fact is, the TV Academy has been quietly mulling the reinvention of the Emmys from almost the moment last year’s disastrous Emmycast ended. Panels of dedicated Academy members have been quietly studying the issues, soliciting a range of ideas and voices in an attempt to make a better show– and a show more likely to secure a rich license fee when the Academy’s deal with the networks expires next year.

 

Sure, CBS execs don’t like the fact that their shows don’t get a lot of nominations. And yes, the Eye is no doubt pushing to make the show more populist.

 

But the TV Academy didn’t just bow to the whim of Leslie Moonves. It made these changes only after careful consideration and debate.

 

That doesn’t mean writers or others who disagree with their decision have to sit back and accept their verdict. Protest is fine.

 

But can both sides please stop negotiating in the press and start talking to each other? A lot is at stake here, and everybody needs to be open to the idea of compromise.

 

If not, as Mischer suggested, the Emmys might just end up turning into a fancy dinner, closed to live coverage, with highlights shown on HBO.