Both branches of the Writers Guild of America have blasted the TV Academy’s decision to pre-tape eight of the 28 award presentations during the live Primetime Emmycast.
“The writers are the storytelling stars of television, and we are disappointed that the Academy chooses to diminish our members’ invaluable and essential contribution to the medium,” said Michael Winship in a statement issued Friday. “We ask that they reconsider the decision for this and future Emmy broadcasts.”
The TV Academy’s plan to “time-shift” the presentations was outlined Thursday by Don Mischer, exec producer of the Sept. 20 show on CBS.
The plan calls for pre-taping the award presentations in eight categories in the 45 minutes leading up to the 5 p.m. PT start of the live telecast. Video clips of those presentations, including a listing of nominees in each category, will be interspersed into the live broadcast.
WGA West president Patric Verrone also issued a statement dinging the decision, saying it’s a “clear violation” of a longstanding agreement the guilds have with the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.
“It is also a serious demotion for writing and a fundamental misunderstanding of the importance of writers in the creation of television programs,” Verrone said. “Last year’s Emmys suffered a tremendous decline in quality and ratings because of a lack of scripted material. That the Academy would then decide to devalue the primary and seminal role that writing plays in television is ridiculous and self-defeating.”
On Thursday, the acad said it had not finalized the list of awards that would be moved to the taped format.