The Television Academy is changing the way members can RSVP for Emmy screenings, which may also address one of the biggest gripes about who shows up to For Your Consideration events.
Rather than a first-come, first-served RSVP, the TV Academy’s member and FYC events will move to a lottery system. The goal is to shake up who attends each event (so it’s not all the same people who manage to sign up first), and allow for a wider mix of members to make it into sold-out functions.
“Last year, Member and For Your Consideration events frequently ‘sold out’ before all members had an equal opportunity to RSVP,” the Academy wrote in a memo to members. “In response to member feedback, the Academy began testing a new RSVP procedure for select activities — an RSVP lottery — in hopes of providing all interested members a fair chance of attending Television Academy events.”
Network and studio execs have grumbled for years that the same people seem to show up at every event, and not necessarily for the right reasons. Most FYC events are catered affairs, and the concern has been that people more interested in the food might be blocking others interested in the screening and panel discussion from attending.
Now, members will enter an RSVP lottery in the first 48 hours after an event is announced. After those first two days, members will be randomly registered to attend. If it’s sold out, members who don’t make the cut will be put on a waiting list. After 48 hours, if it’s not sold out, all interested members will be registered, and additional RSVPs will be first come, first served. Members will be notified of their status for each event via email.
One publicist told Variety that she welcomed the change, calling it a major improvement. “I did a handful of events last year and it was the same core group of members who came, and then really were either on the hunt for free food or to track down other members and ask for them to vote for their web series,” she sad. “[This change will] allow greater access to more of the membership.”
For event planners, the RSVP system has been imperfect, with some events facing severe drop-off in attendees, and others being overbooked. The publicist added that the Academy has promised to start tracking no-shows, which can be a problem in predicting and planning for how many people will actually be in the audience.
Meanwhile, the new RSVP lottery has also provoked the TV Academy to make another eco-friendly change: It will no longer send out FYC “save the date” postcards to members.
“They seemed wasteful, and by the time they got delivered, most of the events they were promoting were full,” said one Academy source. With the RSVP switch, members will have more time to check in on events and sign up to attend — and members who have opted out of email communications can still regularly check the Academy’s website for new postings.
The postcard change comes a year before the TV Academy makes its biggest eco-friendly move of all: Eliminating DVD screeners, which the org announced last week would be banned starting in 2020.
(Pictured: A 2018 Showtime Emmy FYC screening of “Shameless.”)