Open Mic

Paley Awards a Good Idea as Emmy Competition

Hillary Atkin Posted December 23, 2009 at 6:45 AM

Still pondering the surprising news that the Emmys could be in for some competition—and after the initial knee-jerk reaction of “Oh, great, another awards show,” coming around to the notion that it’s probably a good idea.

The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences is one of the few award-granting entities that have an open field with no other awards competition anywhere near its time slot. The show has been airing in recent years anywhere from late August to late September, making it the first major kudo-fest of the season—by a long shot—and the only one to occur in summer.

It’s invariably 90+ degrees at Emmy time, and the red carpet is full of cocktail-length dresses—and sweat stains.

But the hottest accessory is taking home a golden statuette, and without a doubt, the Emmys are definitely the king of the castle in TV-land. There can be no other true contender, just as Oscar has no peer, only prestigious friends like the various guilds and critics’ circles awards—and its rowdy cousin, the Golden Globes, with its mix of television and film prizes, part of what makes it so much fun.

Word is the Paley Center, formerly the Museum of Television and Radio, is thinking about handing out its own awards in what a spokesperson said would be a more fun environment, like the Globes, which has been known for some boozy unscripted moments that have gone down in television lore.

Sony Pictures Television president Steve Mosko, who formerly ran the ATAS Foundation, is leading the charge.

"We're in very exploratory stages of setting up awards for excellence on TV, called The Paley Awards," a Paley Center spokeswoman told The New York Post. "We're not envisioning it as competition for any other existing awards. That's not part of our agenda."

Notwithstanding the prestige level of the Paley Center, which puts on various television festivals and events featuring top shows and broadcast and cable movers and shakers at locations in New York and Los Angeles, there’s an indication that there would be a bit of a People’s Choice element to the awards show, along with an industry insider component.

Any one of a number of hosting candidates—Jon Stewart, Ellen DeGeneres, Steven Colbert and, gulp, David Letterman, could be a fit. And if Ricky Gervais knocks it out of the park when he hosts the upcoming Globes, he could soon have another gig lined up.