Guilds oppose Emmy moves

ATAS proposes alteration of acting awards

The leaders of the DGA and WGA West have warned the Academy of TV Arts & Sciences against overhauling its Primetime Emmy telecast.

In a letter sent Tuesday to ATAS chairman Dick Askin, DGA president Michael Apted and WGA West prexy Daniel Petrie Jr. asserted they strongly oppose a proposed move of awards for supporting actor and actress in a TV movie/mini, as well as writing and directing for longform and variety programs, to the Creative Arts Emmy ceremony.

“For the Academy to deny the role of the key creative talent in genres which have traditionally offered some of the best programs on television would seem to be an abdication of the Academy’s raison d’etre,” Apted and Petrie said. “This action hurts all writers and directors by ignoring our contributions and hurts all the people involved in making longform and variety shows – producers, cast and crew – by minimizing the significance of their genres.”

The TV academy’s board of governors is expected to discuss the issue at their meeting tonight. Under the proposal, Emmys for outstanding movie and miniseries, as well as top actor and actress in a longform, would remain in the Primetime Emmy telecast.

ATAS decided to look at ways to revamp the Primetime Emmys after the kudofest suffered ratings declines in September.

“Declining ratings is a legitimate and understandable concern but it should not be a pretext for the Academy to abandon its responsibilities to the industry,” Apted and Petrie said. The prexies also noted the Guilds have supported ATAS for many years in an apparent allusion to the practice of granting waivers for use of clips on the telecasts.

An ATAS spokeswoman said Tuesday, “We have many constituencies that are of great importance to the Academy. We are doing everything possible to evaluate potential changes in the most responsible ways, but this is a long process. Any premature speculation is counterproductive.”

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