NEW YORK — The National Academy of TV Arts & Sciences forced a scarlet-faced HBO to renounce two Emmy nominations that its feature-length docu “Paradise Lost” had earned last week in the NATAS-sponsored news-and-documentary category.
Sources say the reason for the embarrassment is that HBO failed to coordinate its Emmy submissions with the producers of “Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills,” Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky. While HBO’s L.A. office was offering the docu in the primetime-informational category, where its three nominations helped to swell HBO’s total to a record 90, the N.Y.-based producers were putting it forward in the news/docu competition. The L.A.-based Academy of Television Arts & Sciences hands out Primetime Emmys; NY-based NATAS does the news-and-docu awards.
A NATAS spokesman says the Academy wrote a rule two years ago that prevents a network from submitting the same work in the two separate competitions. When “Paradise Lost” harvested the two news/docu nominations a week after it chalked up three noms in primetime/informational, HBO had to decide which cluster to give up.
The decision was a no-brainer, because primetime has the higher visibility. And if HBO declined the three in primetime, its total number of nominations would’ve fallen to 87, shoving it behind NBC’s 89 and ending HBO’s status as the first cable network ever to collect more nominations in a given year than any of the broadcast networks.
The noms HBO had to decline were “special classification for outstanding news and documentary program” and “outstanding background/analysis of a single current story.” It keeps “outstanding informational special,” “outstanding achievement in informational programming: editing,” and “outstanding achievement in informational programming: photography.”