TV Academy Topper Bruce Rosenblum on Emmy Changes, What’s Ahead

The Emmys this year got a thumbs-up from most onlookers, due to the breadth of contenders. Just before the Sept. 18 ceremony, TV Academy chairman/CEO Bruce Rosenblum told Variety, “Everything about this year’s process worked well for the Academy,” with a number of records being set. Rosenblum’s five-year term ends in December (he was just named president of business operations for Disney/ABC Television Group), but he’s confident that the officers elected in November will take over a healthy organization.

What was the highlight of this year’s Emmy changes?

A lot of things. The spreading of nominations across traditional platforms and new media; the continued recognition of broadcast network content; the great year FX had from a creative standpoint; and the inclusion of our shortform content and expansion of our awards to include non-traditional formats.

Why the huge jump in voting?

We believe it’s due to a couple of factors. First is access to online voting, as members become more comfortable with the process. We anticipate voting participation will continue to increase. The other element was great excitement about the quality of content that was produced.

Could the Academy go to 10 nominees per category?

There will be a new board of governors in 2017, and it would not be a surprise if the leadership took a fresh look at the number of nominees in the program, writing, directing, and acting categories. There is so much wonderful work. While the cream does rise to the top, it becomes a game of numbers as you have more programs. It’s reasonable to expect the organization to look at the number of nominees in each of those categories. This is a great problem to have.

What should people know about the Academy?

I wish our community had a better understanding of the philanthropic work done by the Television Academy Foundation. The internship program, our college television awards, faculty outreach, the scholarship program, our archives — the work is underappreciated and underutilized. We have a responsibility to help the next generation get their start and get an education. We believe the foundation can play a larger role there.

You’ve accomplished a lot in five years. 

From a professional-leader standpoint, what we’re most proud of is the transformation at the Academy, from the expansion of membership, to our new programs and our new campus. We’ve increased membership, we’ve embraced distribution platforms beyond the traditional broadcast and cable, and we’ve completed a successful $30 million campaign to build the Saban Media Center. The next generation of Academy leadership will be taking over a healthy, vibrant, and relevant organization.

Emmy records broken this year

NUMBER OF VOTERS: 20,764 (total membership is at 22,235) NUMBER OF CATEGORIES: 113 JUMP IN FINAL VOTING OVER LAST YEAR: 41%

Emmy records broken this year
Number of Voters: 20,764 (total membership is at 22,235); NUMBER OF categories: 113; jump in final voting OVER LAST YEAR: 41%;

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