Leverance addresses nomination controversy at bash
HOLLYWOOD — At the reception the TV Academy had Friday for its performer nominees, Showtime entertainment prexy Robert Greenblatt took a stab at expressing the collective pre-kudocast sentiments.“If we win I’m thrilled,” said Greenblatt, “and if we don’t win I’m a sore loser.” Party was held at Wolfgang Puck in the Pacific Design Center where ATAS awards veep John Leverence defended this year’s nominating process by saying there were people at the party “who would not have emerged as nominees with the standard popular vote.” Leverance said the “hot, swirling molten center of Emmy controversy” is in giving awards to series, which is inherently problematic with shows getting nominated, but lead actors being passed over. And while Leverance said having the kudocast in August “accelerated” the voting process, Sony Pictures TV prexy Steve Mosko said it also worked in favor of Thursday’s golf tournament benefiting the TV Academy Foundation. “It’s not a slow time of year but it’s also not busy,” said Mosko. “So it’s easier to get people out to play golf.” Just north on the Strip, the Gersh Agency was celebrating with a party on the Sunset Tower’s poolside deck for nominees Debra Messing, Megan Mullally, Elizabeth Perkins, Kelly Macdonald and Christopher Meloni. As for the nominating process, co-prexy Bob Gersh said the Academy’s “intentions were good but they threw things out of whack.” “It was time to shake things up,” said guest Warren Littlefield. “Have they created too many blue ribbon committees? Maybe. Have they discovered the secret sauce? Not yet. But at least they’re trying.” On the other hand, Kevin Nealon‘s viewpoint on the Academy’s action was: “They must be watching ‘Weeds’ too much.” On Saturday afternoon, ATAS and BAFTA/LA held their annual tea party at the Park Hyatt for UK and Commonwealth nominees. BAFTA/LA chairman Peter Morris said there’s been more Blighty interest in the Emmys because “the Brits love to do stories about Brit nominees. They love the recognition in a market the size of America.” On hand was TV Academy topper Dick Askin who said the earlier Emmy broadcast date was “difficult, but you play the cards you’re dealt.” Aside from the rules changes and earlier date, Askin has had to deal with the Internal Revenue Services’ new rules on swag, which he called “not a big thing. This is not curing cancer. This is the government stepping in to stake a claim for something that’s been under the radar.” As for the modest gift bags given out at the tea party, Morris described them as “IRS safe.” That night, Entertainment Weekly had a lavish bash at Republic where Sequoia Prods. extended the restaurant into the alley to accommodate the 800 guests. According to the glossy’s managing editor Rick Tetzeli, the TV kudocast is a growth stock. “The Emmys have room to ascend,” he said. “Movie stars don’t own the public the way they used to.” Meanwhile, in BevHills, Hugh Laurie and the cast of nominated drama “House” munched on Wolfgang Puck fare at NBC Universal’s soiree at Spago, where they mingled with Peacock power brokers and the likes of Tony Shaloub, Jeffrey Tambor and (don’t ask us why) legendary astronaut Buzz Aldrin. (Josef Adalian contributed to this story.)
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