As a one-time member of the TV Academy's Board of Governors, "Rescue Me" exec producer Peter Tolan made a case for tossing out the org's Emmy voting process.
Tolan's idea: Get the nation's TV critics to choose Emmy winners.
"Most of us are too damn busy to watch TV, and we're making uneducated decisions," said Tolan, explaining why Emmy nominations and winners usually contain several head-scratchers. "TV critics, their job is to watch this stuff."
Tolan took on the TV Academy — and even more brutally, eviscerated the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. and its rival Golden Globes kudos — at the Hollywood Radio and TV Society's "Hitmakers" luncheon, which he moderated.
Panelist Kurt Sutter, who famously trashed the Emmys after his FX drama "Sons of Anarchy" wasn't nominated this summer, mostly held his punches this time out. But Sutter argued that the award is more a popularity contest than a true exhibit of TV's top creative achievements.
"Which shows are my friends working on? That's how I vote," he said.
"Burn Notice" exec producer Matt Nix was a bit more opimistic that voting patterns would change over time, but added that he didn't think there was a perfect solution — there will always be debate over TV Academy picks.
"I don't think there is a voting system that will reflect what we want them to reflect," Nix said.
For his part, Sutter said he was more satisfied with his nomination from the TV Critics Assn.
Tolan said his proposal didn't go anywhere during his time on the TV Academy board. And his critics idea probably wouldn't find many fans among execs at the broadcast networks that televise the Emmys.
As negotiations continue to renew the org's "wheel" deal with ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox, network execs continue to complain that the Emmycast is increasingly awarding shows that aren't broad hits. In recent years, that has meant shows like "Mad Men" and "30 Rock," both of which are critics faves but don't attract large audiences.
According to insiders, a new wheel deal is likely to be worked out — but the TV Academy isn't expected to receive a license fee bump. Actually, should the Acad maintain its current $7.5 million annual license fee from the nets, that would be seen as a victory for the org.
Back at the HRTS luncheon, Tolan didn't hold back on his comedic disdain for the Globes, calling the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. "a group of whores. They can be bought." A Globe, he added, "means $#*! at this point. F*** the Globes."
Coincidentally, the panel discussion was being held at the Beverly Hilton, in the same ballroom where the Globes show is annually held.
The outspoken Tolan began the lunch by lamenting that his two favorite executive punching bags — former ABC Entertainment prexy Steve McPherson and outgoing NBC U boss Jeff Zucker — were out of a job.
"Two of the biggest clubs have been taken out of my bag," he said.
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Photo Credit: Chyna| Chyna Photography
(Left to right: Peter Tolan, Rescue Me; Shane Brennan, NCIS and NCIS: Los Angeles; Matt Nix, Burn Notice; Roberto Orci, Fringe; Kurt Sutter, Sons of Anarchy; Dan Schneider, iCarly.)