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TV Academy Plans Expansion, Major Fundraising Push

The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences is planning a major makeover in advance of its 70th anniversary in 2016 – breaking ground on an ambitious expansion of its facilities, initiating a $40-million fundraising drive and simplifying its name to the more colloquial “Television Academy.”

The effort is being advanced under the stewardship of elected Chairman Bruce Rosenblum, who is expected to discuss the details in remarks at the organization’s Hall of Fame event Tuesday evening in Beverly Hills.

Rosenblum, as the president of TV and digital media for Legendary Entertainment – and before that a senior exec at Warner Bros. – is in his second two-year term. He holds the distinction of being the highest-ranking executive to lead the organization since then-Disney Studios chief Richard Frank in the 1990s, and thus might be better equipped to engage in the kind of arm-twisting needed to champion such an agenda at the often-fractious group.

According to the plans, the academy intends to break ground in August – immediately after this year’s Emmys – on an expansion and renovation of its North Hollywood facility, promising a state-of-the-art theater and media complex designed to host more events and provide real-time streaming to allow students and the public greater access and participation.

In addition to the construction, the fundraising will go toward enhancing the academy’s educational efforts, including a scholarship program.

Securing such support from the industry historically hasn’t been easy for the academy. While TV pros relish receiving Emmy Awards, they haven’t always been willing to ante up for such peripheral activities, and there are obviously competing enterprises, such as the Paley Center.

The fundraising effort will seek to skirt that by reaching out to philanthropic interests, as well as creating sponsorship and naming opportunities.

In that regard, Rosenblum’s connections could be an asset in gaining high-level industry backing, and fulfilling the frequently discussed goal of turning the academy into a forum for discussing the future of a fast-changing medium.

Beyond simplifying its name, the TV academy has also retained a brand-strategy firm, Siegel+Gale, to revise its logo and look.

While Rosenblum will be able to initiate the program, he actually won’t be in that position when all these efforts come to fruition. The academy’s bylaws cap chairmen at two consecutive terms.

Here’s the full text of Rosenblum’s letter to academy members:

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