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Listen: Why New TV Formats Present Challenges for Awards Mavens

Adam Sharp had quite a first week on the job as president and CEO of the New York-based National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

Sharp was confronted with a controversy over the submission and judging process for the 2018 Daytime Emmy Awards. In the latest episode of “Strictly Business,” Sharp discusses how the digital revolution in television presents challenges for industry awards shows. Much of the issue came down to the definition of “episode” for digitally distributed programs.

With the benefit of hindsight, Sharp says the process of looking into what went wrong helped the organization develop uniform standards and best practices to protect the integrity of the Emmy statuette. NATAS developed a more rigorous set of procedures to govern the handling of the Daytime Emmys as well as the other Emmy awards that the organization administers: News and Documentary Emmy, Sports, Technology & Engineering, and local Emmy awards handled by 19 different chapters around the country.

“It gave us an opportunity to peel back the curtain and dig really deep into how we operate and ask serious questions and make fundamental changes in a much quicker or aggressive way that perhaps we wouldn’t have done if we didn’t have that fundamental spark,” Sharp says.

One of the reforms requires NATAS to publish a “transparency report” after each awards cycle detailing any questions that came up during the submission and judging process.

“Culturally right now there is this greater desire for transparency and accountability than perhaps the more insular form of these awards shows may have been in the past,” Sharp says.

“Strictly Business” is Variety’s weekly podcast featuring conversations with industry leaders about the business of entertainment. A new episode debuts each Wednesday and can be downloaded on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, Stitcher and SoundCloud.

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