ATAS takes NATAS to task

The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences has asked a court to issue an injunction barring the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences from proceeding with an arbitration in New York over which of the orgs can honor TV commercials with an Emmy Award.

In a complaint filed Monday in L.A. Superior Court, ATAS, the L.A. based organization that awards the Primetime Emmys, is seeking to stop NATAS, the New York-based group that awards local, news and international Emmys, from arbitrating the dispute for the second time.

According to the lawsuit, ATAS and NATAS reached a settlement in June 1977 in an agreement that included a provision requiring future disputes to be settled by arbitration.

NATAS objected to a proposed ATAS “outstanding commercial” Emmy category earlier this year, and American Arbitration Assn. arbitrator Edward J. Costello Jr. ruled in ATAS’ favor in August, the lawsuit said.

ATAS then gave the commercial Emmy to a production called “HBO Chimps,” but on Sept. 9, NATAS began the second arbitration in New York, “seeking to relitigate the eligibility rules in a new forum,” the complaint alleges.

NATAS argued that “HBO Chimps” did not qualify for the ATAS Emmy because it was first aired between segments on NFL Sunday, a sports program not in primetime.

The ATAS lawsuit claims the arbitration issues are identical and the NATAS arbitration should be stopped to ensure “the integrity of the arbitration process.”

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