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TV Academies Talking Again

Mar 29, 2009  •  Post A Comment

How deeply might cooperation grow between the two television academies that until last week were at each other’s throats?
The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, which hands out the Primetime Emmys, and the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, which handles the daytime, news and other Emmys, last week began to heal the rift between their organizations by settling a legal dispute over who can present Emmys for broadband content.
Both organizations are in the mood for détente, people with knowledge of each group said. While a formal merger is off the table, creation of an umbrella organization that would foster better coordination is possible, said the people, who asked not to be identified so as not to compromise their negotiating positions.
That possibility is still a long way off, as ATAS and NATAS are taking baby steps to work together in the wake of last week’s settlement. In announcing the agreement, the two sides said they’d form committees to examine areas of shared concern.
That language spawned speculation as to how close they might grow. In actuality, that line referred to forming joint committees to study working on specific awards, people familiar with the deal said.
Rapprochement between ATAS and NATAS is important for the Emmy brand but has eluded the groups since their 1977 split. That divorce created a fissure that is incomprehensible to the viewing public.
The dual ownership of the brand also creates the potential that the two groups’ different methods for selecting winners will muddle the public’s understanding of the awards. As history has shown, it also sows the possibility of expensive and fruitless litigation over the awards.
The settlement last week ended a fight that started when NATAS moved to create Emmys for broadband content. ATAS filed to block that move, preferring Emmys for Internet content to be awarded through a special-class category for short-form programming. That means Web programs will compete head-to-head with short-form content created for TV.
ATAS has no plans to tweak its eligibility rules to let Web shows compete only against Web shows, said ATAS Senior VP of Awards John Leverence.

4 Comments

  1. Too late. Streamy Awards snatched the bone they were fighting over.
    http://streamys.org

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