TV Academys in Emmy tussle

Organization raises issue with statues

Yet another battle is brewing in the West Coast vs. East Coast TV Academy smackdown.

The New York-based National Academy of TV Arts & Sciences, which runs the Daytime Emmys, has announced that it will pay for only one statuette per category winner this year, meaning that those who share a victory would have to shell out $350 apiece for their own statuettes.

But the West Coast-based Academy of TV Arts & Sciences — even though it doesn’t administer the Daytime Emmys — plans to dig into its own pockets and reimburse any West Coast winners who are asked to pay for their statuette.

NATAS prexy Peter Price said the org’s other kudofests — news and information, sports and public service — already adhere to the rule; an exception had been made for daytime in the past. But with nonprofits like NATAS facing increased financial woes, Price said the group could no longer pay for so many statuettes.

“We wanted to make our policy consistent so there was no grousing between the various award shows,” Price said. “We’re a nonprofit, and our trustees mandate that we produce a breakeven budget. To do that, we have to pull in our horns on some luxuries we used to do. If ATAS feels that they have the deep pockets to do it, then that’s wonderful.”

In a letter sent over the weekend to ATAS members who are also Daytime Emmy nominees, the West Coast group took issue with NATAS’ belt-tightening.

“The Los Angeles-based Television Academy wants you to know that, as a matter of principle, we do not agree with this decision and do not believe that any Emmy winner should have to pay for their award,” the letter read.

ATAS recommends that winners who must pay for their Daytime Emmy statue go ahead and send the money to NATAS; ATAS will then arrange to reimburse the winner.

The two TV academies had worked more closely in recent years on the Daytime Emmys, but ATAS has been less involved this year. Unlike in past years, NATAS did not consult ATAS on the nomination process; also, ATAS will not produce or pay for this year’s nontelevised Daytime Emmy Creative Arts Awards, which had been covered by the West Coast org in past years.

The squabble over the Daytime Emmy statuettes comes just days after the rival TV academies went public with their battle over the proposed launch of a Broadband Emmy kudofest (Daily Variety, March 21).

ATAS late last week was to file suit against NATAS, accusing its New York counterpart of trying to launch a massive roster of Broadband Emmy awards without proper approval. NATAS denied the allegation and expressed surprise that ATAS walked away from ongoing negotiations surrounding the proposal.

ATAS and NATAS have battled off and on since the TV Academy split into two separate orgs in 1977.

The Daytime Emmys are set for June 15 in Hollywood.

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