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New Acad chief wants the org to influence TV’s multiplatform future

The transformation of the TV biz that is underscored by Netflix’s foray into the Emmys is big news in one sense, but a mere milepost on the medium’s long evolution.

Newly appointed TV Academy prexy and COO Lucy Hood not only knows this, she’s beating the drum for it.

“One thing that brought me back to the Television Academy and (had me) really excited about taking this job was our ability to be thought-leaders in the innovation and expansion of television,” Hood said. “That may not be what the industry thought of the Academy 10 years ago, but I believe that’s what the Academy can be.

“There’s no lack of reverence for the traditional, (but) I believe traditional excellence and innovative excellence exist side by side.”

Tapped in June to replace the retiring Alan Perris, Hood comes by her love of innovation honestly, having served as exec director for USC’s Institute for Communication Technology Management and as Fox Mobile Entertainment prexy. Her mission at the Academy includes oversight of digital strategy — and if you think the Academy plans to be a bystander for the medium’s technological revolution, think again.

“We have to evolve as viewers evolve,” Hood said. “I believe we’re in a new golden age of television.”

Hood spoke of the need for the Academy to reach out to new groups, particularly in Silicon Valley.

“They’ve got the technology, but they need the content,” Hood said. “You see that at YouTube, you see that at Twitter, you see that at Amazon, all of which are fielding major content production initiatives — and what better forum in which to partner than the Television Academy.”

It does raise the question of how the Emmys themselves will accommodate the increased diversity of content the industry is fostering, something that Hood called “our never-ending challenge.” Already, between the Creative Arts Emmys and the Primetime Emmys, the Academy hands out more than 100 awards.

Netflix’s “House of Cards” won three kudos, including one for David Fincher’s direction of the pilot. While the digital distributor would have liked to have cashed in on more of its 14 nominations the wins represented a significant benchmark for multiplatform programming at the Emmys.

Other Emmy triumphs for digital content this year went to Disney.com, BravoTV.com, ComedyCentral.com, History.com, Oprah.com and YouTube.

But though there are no plans to increase the breadth of the main ceremony, rest assured that the Academy won’t scrimp on overall awards, and instead will go wherever the industry takes it. Hood believes, for example, it is all but inevitable that someday there will be a shortform program “that takes everyone by storm” the same way “House of Cards” did in 2013.

“We are able to honor excellence wherever it is found,” Hood said. “It would be hard to do fewer awards.”

In the meantime, Hood — along with Academy chairman and CEO Bruce Rosenblum and the rest of the org staff and board — have a number of other items on their plate. To make more people inside and outside the Academy aware of its role in the industry, including its staging of 50-plus non-Emmy events each year — Siegel+Gale has been contracted to spearhead a rebranding effort.

Additionally, there are murmurs of expansion of the North Hollywood-based Academy’s physical footprint.

“We are really seriously looking at how the facilities can serve this future vision,” Hood said. “We’re maxed out in terms of capacity now, so I think there may be (expansion) in the future.”

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