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Editorial: Dear TV Academies: Heal the Emmys Rift

Mar 29, 2009  •  Post A Comment

The silly rift that has chopped up the Emmy Awards between two groups may be set to heal, and we urge the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences and the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences to accelerate that process.
The two bodies split in 1977. Since then ATAS, based on the West Coast, and NATAS, based in New York, have shared the Emmy brand. NATAS has handed out the statuettes for daytime programming, news and documentary and other categories. ATAS has owned primetime.
It’s an East Coast-West Coast beef that’s about as productive as the one carried out between New York rapper Biggie Smalls and West Coast local Tupac Shakur (may they rest in peace).
Mr. Smalls’ and Mr. Shakur’s posses aired their respective grievances with drive-by shootings. ATAS and NATAS took a more corporate approach.
Last week, ATAS won the latest round in the groups’ legal disputes, landing jurisdiction over broadband content. The groups’ announcement of the end of hostilities included a line hinting at future cooperation.
There is little or no chance that the groups ever will merge. Their history of living apart, entrenched interests and different structures make that virtually impossible.
But both sides hint that they’d like to explore the creation of an umbrella organization that could facilitate more coordination of awards and the Emmy brand.
Now is the time to build on the momentum created last week. We urge ATAS and NATAS leaders to unify the brand.
SyWhy, May We Ask?
It’s dreadfully easy to Monday morning quarterback a cable channel’s branding. So advance apologies.
But when the Sci Fi Channel this month said it would rebrand to Syfy, a collective groan rose from the TelevisionWeek newsroom and comments on the TVWeek.com story about the change ran strongly to the negative.
If the strategy was to solidify Sci Fi’ s base audience, one might predict little success given initial reaction.
If the strategy was to broaden the brand to something that more viewers—and advertisers—could relate to, one could generate a dozen ideas before the neologism Syfy moved to the fore.
Some alternative names, gratis from the branding department at TVWeek: Beyond TV, THE NETWORK or Unreal TV.

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