CBS, NBC and Fox Broadcasting Co., still miffed about the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences’ exclusive broadcast deal with ABC, are essentially boycotting the 45th annual Primetime Emmy Awards.None of the three services has bought tickets for the Sept. 19 Emmy presentation at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium, they confirmed. By contrast, NBC said it purchased roughly 100 seats last year. The deadline to purchase tickets is today. The three irked networks also have declined to provide publicity personnel to staff the event, traditionally a multinetwork effort; haven’t bought ads in Emmy magazine, as previously reported; and haven’t taken out ads in the trades recognizing nominees. NBC Entertainment prez Warren Littlefield sent a letter to NBC talent saying why the web chose not to participate in the awards, other than allowing in-house production to submit programs for Emmy consideration. NBC Enterprises prez John Agoglia, one of the most vocal critics of the ATAS-ABC deal when it was announced last February, confirmed the steps take by NBC and said he can’t foresee the web changing its policy unless the Emmys “become a wheel again”– i.e., air on a rotating basis on all the networks. Such a four-network offer was on the table when the Academy instead accepted the four-year individual bid from ABC for an estimated $ 2.6 million annually. The pact immediately prompted cries of foul by the other webs, who accused ATAS of negotiating in bad faith and warned of repercussions, including the possible mounting of a rival awards show. Agoglia, who called the initial negotiating process “bizarre at best,” said the Emmys are no longer “a celebration of television” but rather “a signature piece of ABC”– which, by televising the event literally on the eve of the fall season, is using the show as a platform to promote its primetime lineup. Richard Frank, newly elected president of the Academy and chief negotiator of the ABC deal, called the NBC-CBS response “an unfortunate circumstance,” saying he will “continue to try and mend fences.” An ATAS spokesman added that it is “a privilege, not a requirement” to buy seats to the Emmys and that the other networks’ decision not to participate would make more tickets available to ATAS members. The Academy doesn’t anticipate having any trouble filling the 2,200-seat Pasadena Civic. Although the Emmys aired for six consecutive years on Fox, Agoglia said that deal was easier to accept because the organization was suffering “a financial crisis” at the time and the fledgling Fox network was willing to pay a premium to help establish the service. By contrast, the other networks maintained the Academy established a $ 2.1 -million-a-year asking price as the Emmy license fee for a “wheel,” then at the last minute took the higher ABC offer.
Want Entertainment News First? Sign up for Variety Alerts and Newsletters!