TV Acad topper looks ahead

Shaffner to begin prep for Emmy contract talks

After triumphing in a run-off election, Academy of Television Arts & Sciences chairman John Shaffner says his goals are to unify the organization and begin preparations for negotiating a new Emmy TV contract.

Shaffner won a second term, defeating a challenge from Brian Seth Hurst, who came from the TV Academy’s new-media branch. The results were close enough in December to warrant a runoff, but Shaffner said that the TV Acad is moving forward.

I think the board is really ready to be reunified,” he said, noting that the governors — two from each of 28 branches — and executive committee will hold their annual retreat in February.

The most pressing matter on the TV Academy’s docket is securing a new deal to televise the Emmys: The awards are entering the final leg of an eight-year agreement that saw the ceremony rotate among the four major networks. Formal discussions can be triggered by either side 90 days before the next Emmys, which will air on NBC in August.

The TV Academy is hoping that attorney Ken Ziffren will again lead the negotiating effort, as he did in 2002, though Shaffner acknowledged that Ziffren’s official role in the process has not been finalized.

Shaffner becomes the fifth of the last six elected chairmen to serve a second two-year term in that voluntary role. He and his partner are production designers whose credits include the CBS series “Two and a Half Men” and “The Big Bang Theory.”

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