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ATAS’ Emmy Plan: A Game of Fumbles and Punts

Given that this year’s Emmys — even if they manage to produce a great show — will very likely get their clock cleaned in the ratings up against a Dallas Cowboys-New York Giants football game, the recent handling of this year’s presentation seems rather appropriate.

A fumble, followed by another punt.

After all, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences board agreed to change the ceremony in February. But when members of the TV movie community protested, they punted the problem down the road — insisting that no decisions had been made, and wouldn’t be until CBS named an executive producer. That was, at best, parsing words.

A lot of people weren’t completely happy about it, but finally, the board overwhelmingly approved the idea to “time-shift” eight of the 28 awards. When the plan was officially announced in late July, ATAS President John Shaffner punted again — this time to said executive producer, Don Mischer, who was left to outline the changes.

On Wednesday, the academy announced that it was retreating from the original plan back to the status quo, but nobody representing the academy was willing to discuss the matter beyond a cursory canned statement. Granted, this is an honorary organization, but its leadership needs to take at least some ownership of their actions.

Then again, perhaps we should just be happy that this gang isn’t responsible for trying to reform the health-care system.

Update: Although I normally wouldn’t bother quoting an anonymous comment from another site, couldn’t resist the one on deadlinehollywooddaily.com that said the reporting on this issue has helped ruin the Emmy telecast and told Nikki Finke to “go sit in the corner with Brian Lowry.”

First off, that’s really unfair, since DHD didn’t do much reporting on this story other than to occasionally print the statements issued by the guilds and call the TV academy folks “dumbasses.” So let’s give credit (or blame) where it’s due.

Fortunately, the new administration is taking steps to outlaw torture, so such punishment for either side of that equation, thankfully, is unlikely to occur.

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