Mr. Price is right for NATAS’s future

Feb 18, 2002  •  Post A Comment

A merger of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences is not in the stars.
“It never will be one organization. We do the same things, but we do different things,” said NATAS Chairman Stanley Hubbard last week after overseeing the trustees’ unanimous approval of publishing and television executive Peter Price as president of NATAS.
Mr. Price succeeds longtime NATAS leader John Cannon, whose death in June 2001 had led many to hope that a deep and sometimes bitter decades-long schism between NATAS (which oversees daytime, news and sports Emmys) and ATAS (which oversees the more glamorous prime-time Emmys), might finally be dissolved.
“I think you will see the collaboration ramp up,” said Mr. Price, who already has begun conversations with his ATAS counterpart, Bryce Zabel, and begun a tour of NATAS chapters across the Southeast. He hopes to visit a couple of NATAS chapters each week until early June, when he will have touched base with all 18 across the country.
Mr. Price cannot forge a new national agenda to bring NATAS into the digital and Internet age and attract younger people-and raise, of course, the stature of NATAS’s Emmys-without the support of local chapters that often have their own very different priorities. The advice he received from Mr. Hubbard, the head of Hubbard Broadcasting, was: “Be patient.”
Mr. Price had already shown patience and other attributes that put him in good stead when taking the four-hour battery of psychological and aptitude tests over the months since his name became one of the more than 230 collected by the NATAS search committee and the recruiting firm of Korn/Ferry International.
Mr. Price had been a high-profile publisher (the New York Post and The National) before taking his portfolio into the TV industry as president of Liberty Cable from 1990 to 1997 (the year he joined the New York chapter of NATAS), then as president of Television USA and most recently president of Television Tonight.
Talk show host and NATAS Vice Chairman Maury Povich was anchoring “A Current Affair” in the late ’80s when Mr. Price was at the Post and a fellow member of the boisterous and growing News Corp. empire.
“I thought that Peter could kind of energize us,” said Mr. Povich.
Already, Mr. Price is sending signals that say something about his style (Mr. Cannon haunted Le Bernardin; Mr. Price prefers lunch at Michael’s) and his energy. “Hopefully, we’ll get consensus by midyear and some pilot projects [under way] by fall,” he said.”