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Mischer bows out of Emmys

Producer sites Olympian duties pulling him away

Emmy held hostage, Day 25. In the latest blow to the twice-delayed kudocast, exec producer Don Mischer has bowed out of the event.

Mischer, citing prior commitments to executive produce the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2002 Winter Olympics, made the announcement Thursday. He’ll continue as a consultant for the Emmy awards once the telecast is rescheduled.

“We’re only 15 weeks away from the opening ceremonies on Feb. 8,” Mischer said. “And while we regret not staying the course with the Emmys … we must now concentrate on the Olympics. The opening ceremonies in Salt Lake City will be the first opportunity since the war on terrorism began for a worldwide gathering of countries, and it’s a very high-profile event that is important to our country and the world.”

TV academy chairman Bryce Zabel said the org had already anticipated that Mischer wouldn’t be able to continue producing the show.

“It’s a calendar issue,” Zabel said. “We knew on Oct. 7 when we had to postpone the Emmys that Don would have to take over as a consultant. We wish him good luck.”

Plenty of postponements

Mischer, who has produced seven previous Emmycasts, had already put the finishing touches on a three-hour event when the Sept. 16 kudofest was postponed following the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, D.C. He then put together a new, more somber telecast for Oct. 7 — only to see the show postponed again in response to U.S. military action in Afghanistan.

Sources said portions of Mischer’s Oct. 7 show may still be recycled when the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and broadcast partner CBS try another incarnation of the Emmys.

As for when, where and how the Emmy Awards will take shape, academy and CBS insiders say a decision probably won’t be announced until Monday. The academy’s new executive committee met Thursday morning to hash out potential scenarios for a third try at pulling off the show, but nothing has been finalized.

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