×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Fathom Events Fires Back at Emmy Clarification of Theatrical Rule (EXCLUSIVE)

Fathom Events isn’t pleased with a Television Academy stipulation that may limit the number of TV properties that appear on its theater screens going forward.

As clarified earlier this week via its revised Emmy Rules and Procedures handbook, the Academy will disqualify a program for Emmy eligibility if it is seen in a Fathom theatrical release — in other words, via hundreds of theaters on one date. (The one exception: If it still meets the requirements for the Exceptional Merit in Documentary Filmmaking award.)

In a statement exclusively given to Variety, Fathom Events CEO Ray Nutt expressed concern at the new language, which clarified the ineligibility of Fathom screenings.

“We do not understand the motivation behind the Television Academy’s recent decision to put limitations on ‘Fathom’ and/or theatrical exhibition of television programming, making this content ineligible for awards consideration,” he said. “Television networks find success utilizing the Fathom Events platform to host premiere events; re-release popular content on the big screen; drive brand awareness, engagement and promotion; help increase TV ratings; and support unions/guilds, all through nationwide limited-engagement screening events.”

Fathom is probably best known for screening live events, such as concerts, stage plays, as well as classic movies (such as, up next, “The Wizard of Oz” and “Dirty Dancing”) on screens owned by chains such as AMC Theatres, Cinemark, and Regal Entertainment Group.

Most of Fathom’s non-live screenings are library titles, which wouldn’t impact the Emmys, as those awards focus solely on new content. But TV networks have occasionally used Fathom Events to market series as well.

This is the first time the TV Academy has addressed the Fathom Events practice of one-night, multiple-screen showings. But the Academy has traditionally barred shows from Emmy eligibility if they have been offered for general theatrical exhibition prior to air. The exception has been film festival or limited release screenings for programs looking to fulfill awards or foreign theatrical exhibition requirements.

“This is not a new rule,” said a TV Academy spokesperson. “The new language merely clarifies that the Television Academy considers a single-day, mass theatrical release a wide release which has always disqualified a program from Emmy eligibility if it precedes the day of that program’s television premiere.”

Part of the confusion — and need for clarification — comes from the fact that networks have considered theatrical screenings like Fathom Events to be more of a marketing tool than anything else. In April, AMC TV struck a deal to show commercial-free screenings of “The Walking Dead” Season 8 finale and the “Fear the Walking Dead” Season 4 premiere in theaters. Also that month, YouTube Premium featured an advance screening of the first two episodes of “Cobra Kai,” along side the classic “The Karate Kid” film, as a Fathom event.

Added Nutt: “These screenings act as a promotional vehicle for networks, bringing their content to new and existing audiences, and should not impact the program’s potential Emmy eligibility.”

Nutt and Fathom have been in contact with the Academy, and say they’re now in conversation “to discuss these new rules and how we can best continue working with our major network partners like BBC, AMC, TCM and others, without impacting award eligibility of their exceptional television programs.”

[Pictured: Poster for Fathom Events’ “Cobra Kai” screening last April.]

More TV

  • Ari Emanuel Endeavor

    Endeavor IPO Filing Offers Details of Company's Financials, Leadership Pay Packages

    Endeavor’s IPO filing Thursday offers a hard look at the company’s financial performance during the past three years during a period of rapid growth for the company that’s home to UFC, WME, Professional Bull Riders and a clutch of other assets. Endeavor is generating solid free cash flow from operations and healthy adjusted earnings for [...]

  • Blake Jenner What If TV Show

    'What/If' Star Blake Jenner on Creating Chemistry With Jane Levy, Renee Zellweger

    Blake Jenner first rose to fame in 2012 when he won “The Glee Project” and therefore earned a role on “Glee” proper. In the years since, though, he graduated from teen heartthrob status to meatier, edgier roles in films such as “American Animals” and now the Netflix limited series “What/If,” in which he stars opposite [...]

  • Mario Lopez Candy Crush

    Mario Lopez, Seth Kurland Set Latinx Family Comedy Series at Netflix

    Mario Lopez and Seth Kurland are teaming up for a new comedy series at Netflix. Variety has learned that the streamer has given a 16 episode order to the multi-cam comedy “The Expanding Universe of Ashley Garcia” co-created by Lopez and Kurland. In the series, when Ashley Garcia — the world’s only 15-and-a-half-year-old robotics engineer [...]

  • HBO logo

    TV News Roundup: HBO Announces Recipients of 2019 HBOAccess Writing Fellowship

    In today’s roundup, Fox Nation announces a fresh slate of programming for the summer and HBO announces the recipients of its HBOAccess Writing Fellowship. DEVELOPMENT: HBO has announced the recipients of its 2019 HBOAccess Writing Fellowship. The eight writers selected out of the 3,000 submissions will participate in an 8-month program of master classes and [...]

  • Big Bang Theory

    'Big Bang Theory,' 'Manifest' Among Top Live+7 Gainers of 2018-2019 Season

    With 2018-2019 broadcast season wrapping up, certain shows stand head and shoulders above their competition in the Nielsen Live+7 rankings. Live+7 data is currently available only through May 5, but the top dogs will likely see little change once the final numbers are in for the traditional September-May season. The top gainer in adults 18-49 [...]

  • Anna Kendrick Paul Feig

    Anna Kendrick, Paul Feig Team for Comedy Anthology Series at WarnerMedia Streaming Service

    Anna Kendrick and Paul Feig are coming to the WarnerMedia streaming service Variety has learned that the upcoming streamer has ordered the romantic comedy anthology series “Love Life,” the first season of which will star Kendrick with Feig executive producing. WarnerMedia has ordered a 10-episode first season of the half-hour series. Lionsgate Television and FeigCo [...]

  • Jon Feltheimer

    Lionsgate Posts Loss, Underperforms Wall Street Expectations

    Lionsgate has posted a quarterly loss and its revenues and operating income have come in under Wall Street projections, despite growth from its premium cable channel, Starz. The studio reported a net loss of $24 million, or 11 cents a share, with adjusted operating income of $103 million for its fourth fiscal quarter ended March [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content