The broadcast networks took pity on the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences and agreed to a new eight-year broadcast deal on the nighttime Emmys, which gives us all until 2019 to find something else to worry about.
Still, the golden rule — as in "He who has the gold makes the rules" — is sure to prevail in the years ahead, which will inevitably force some alterations in the telecast.
Specifically, some of the categories the networks don't like are going to get crunched or relocated. It's just a question of when — and which broadcaster takes the reins in its teeth and makes that happen. (My money's on CBS, which is still irked about how the academy wussed out on its proposed "time-shifting" plan, which would have recorded some awards in advance in order to minimize their presence in the broadcast.)
As we've already seen, the Grammys have become a non-award awards show, handing out only 10 or 11 honors during the live telecast. And it's clear the networks would like more reality TV and less movies — an area in which they no longer compete, for the most part — in the show. Already, the movie and miniseries categories have been combined, and look for more changes down the road.
Whether this can stave off a planned rival TV awards — organized in concert with the Paley Center, and planned for 2012 — remains to be seen. That telecast grew largely out of frustration with the way the TV academy operates, and perhaps as leverage against the Emmy negotiations. Do we really need a second awards if the networks — in their eyes, anyway — can "fix" the Emmys?