Guild winnows producers eligible for nods

The Producers Guild of America, kicking off its campaign to tighten standards on producer credits, announced Wednesday that it has pulled two dozen names from previously announced television nominations for its Golden Laurel Awards next week.

The moves affect such industry heavyweights as manager Brad Grey for “The Sopranos,” Imagine Entertainment chiefs Brian Grazer and Ron Howard for “Sports Night” and actress Amy Brenneman for “Judging Amy.”

The PGA did not, however, exclude any producers for the five movies up for the Golden Laurel.

The move is PGA’s first step toward its launch of the PGA credit determination process, under which an anonymous three-member arbitration panel was appointed to review each TV program and movie.

Guidelines out

The guidelines, developed along the lines of the Writers Guild of America system, were first disclosed nearly a year ago (Daily Variety, March 26, 1999) and include a voluntary certification program under which the org will allow producers to include the PGA certification mark — a laurel with the PGA initials — in producer credits that the PGA has reviewed.

PGA executive director Vance Van Petten, appointed to the post two months ago to succeed the retiring Charles FitzSimons, said the moves reflect the org’s desire to ensure that producer and executive producer credits are given only to the primary producers.

He stressed that the PGA’s exclusions from the nominee lists for the March 2 awards, which can be appealed, will not change how the credits are listed on the shows.

Panel scrutiny

“These decisions are the outcome of careful examination by individual panels of producers experienced in the particular category of production under consideration,” Van Petten wrote in Tuesday’s letter to nominees.

The PGA’s rules included limiting the number of producers in each category to three, with an established team counted as a single executive producer. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences has taken a similar step, limiting to three the number of producers honored for each movie in the best picture category.

PGA president Thom Mount, whose credits include “Bull Durham” and “Tequila Sunrise,” admitted that the exclusions — disclosed to those affected late Tuesday — had produced some unhappy reactions.

“All it means is that they can’t walk up on stage and get the award,” he said.

Non-episodic TV

Those excluded for non-episodic TV include executive producers Abbe Raven and Charlie Maday and producers Justin Sturken, Diana Frank, Mi Ling Tsui, Michael Plante and Glenn Silber for “The Century: America’s Time”; executive producers Antony Root, Delia Fine, Scott Siegler, Jon Cowan and Robert Rovner for “Dash & Lilly”; executive producers Marilyn Lewis and Irwin Meyer for “The Passion of Ayn Rand”; and producer Leanne Moore for “Pirates of Silicon Valley.”

Those excluded for episodic TV, in which only executive producers are eligible for the award, include Brenneman and Connie Tavel for “Judging Amy”; Grey for “The Sopranos”; and Grazer, Howard and Tony Krantz for “Sports Night.”

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