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TV Academy ‘Confident’ in Emmy Procedures Following Oscar Flub

The Television Academy isn’t shaken by the historic debacle that its film counterpart suffered at the Oscars Sunday night. The organization expressed assuredness Tuesday in the process by which it identifies and announces winners for the Primetime Emmy Awards.

“The Television Academy has hired Ernst & Young to oversee this part of the process and is confident with their safeguards,” a Television Academy spokesperson said in a statement. “Awards shows are very complex productions and we certainly sympathize with a problem like this. Ultimately, it shouldn’t diminish the remarkable work being honored.”

On Sunday, Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway mistakenly announced “La La Land” as the winner of the Oscar for best picture — before it was revealed two minutes later that “Moonlight” was the actual winner. The error has since been attributed to Brian Cullinan of accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, which has handled vote tabulation and the winners list for the Oscars for 83 years.

Ernst & Young has performed those same duties for the Primetime Emmy Awards for 29 years. In a press release issued prior to the 2015 Emmys, the firm described the measures it takes to ensure security and accuracy around voting and the winners’ list: including transporting multiple sets of sealed envelopes to the ceremony in separate cars, and printing winners envelopes internally so that no envelope is ever unsealed outside of the Ernst & Young’s Los Angeles office.

“The security and accuracy of the voting process is paramount to everything we do,” Ernst & Young lead partner Andy Sale said in a statement at the time. “As new voting technologies are introduced, it becomes critical to make sure every possible safeguard is in place to ensure the results adhere to the strict standards we have been enforcing on behalf of the Television Academy for more than a quarter century.”

Ernst & Young declined to comment on whether or how its procedures would be updated in the wake of the Oscars flub. The company also handles voting and results for the Golden Globe Awards.

PwC and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences issued apologies Monday for the mistaken best picture announcement. But uncertainty remained about what led to the mistake, which PwC said stemmed from a system that employs one set of winners’ envelopes and another duplicate set meant to be a backup — which Cullinan mistakenly drew from.

Beatty on Tuesday asked the Motion Picture Academy to provide clarity around the events that led to the error. “Rather than for me to respond to questions from the press about the Academy ceremony, I feel it would be more appropriate for the president of the Academy, Cheryl Boone Isaacs, to publicly clarify what happened as soon as possible,” Beatty said in a statement.

The Emmy Awards will be held on September 17.

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