Emmys Broadcast

Arts & Entertainment

  • Author Andy Mccarthy
  • Published April 21, 2011
  • Word count 600

In 1965, the sister organizations of both Los Angeles' Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and New York's National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences both aimed to boost the prominence of their Emmy Awards ceremony. They looked to Hank Rieger as publicist to establish each year's announcement of the Emmy Award nominees as a momentous annual event. That year, the Television Academy hosted the first morning event of its staged nominations announcement, in the American Room at the Brown Derby Restaurant in Los Angeles, where a press release was distributed and press was allowed to interview the Academy's president about the upcoming ceremony and its chosen nominees. In future years, this nominations announcement would go on to take place at other prominent locations including the Los Angeles Press Club and the Preview House in Hollywood, to incorporate celebrities as the announcers of the year's nominees, and to be released before dawn on the West Coast in order to render the announcement even more prestigious (as well as to make the morning news broadcasts on the East Coast).

In 1990, the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences gave in to a desire to boost revenues from the primetime Emmy Award ceremony even more by entering a multi-year deal to televise the award show on one network, rather than paying a tenth of the awards show's earnings each year to continue rotating between ABC, CBS, and NBC as it had in the past. Beginning that year, for $3 million per year, they would license the show to the Fox network, which was not even a year old at the time and was looking to raise its profile as a network. Entering in such a deal would thus be mutually beneficial, allowing the Academy to dramatically increase their yearly earnings from the awards show broadcast. In principle, it was a sound idea. In response, however, the Big Three networks threatened boycotts, and the ratings for the awards show decreased drastically that year. By the final year of the three-year deal with Fox, the ratings had plummeted even further, in part because since Fox was still a new network trying to establish itself, its audience reach and ratings potential were severely limited since the network did not have stations in as many markets as did the Big Three networks. Still, when that deal expired, the Academy's president still felt that committing to a single network would instill greater dedication to the success of the Emmy awards, so in 1993, the Academy entered into a four-year deal with ABC for $2.5 million per year. However, all three rival networks - Fox, CBS, and NBC - refused to purchase tickets to any of the Emmy events, causing so much financial damage that the Academy felt compelled to dissolve the agreement with ABC and return to their system of rotation, this time including Fox as a fourth rotating network.

In future years of telecast deals with the four rotating networks, the Academy was able to increase its revenues by boosting fees to $5.5 million per year, then to $7.5 million per year. HBO had once offered $10 million dollars per year, but the Academy had declined, having taken the lesson from the previous consequences of taking the awards show away from its "home" networks. However, the networks had taken a lesson from temporarily losing the event as well, and for that reason raised their bid to the current amount in order to remain competitive and retain the rotating rights to the event. All of these issues could quite possibly be the biggest insider controversy to ever rock the world of corporate and crystal awards.

Andy has over 10 years experience in the promotional product field, with a focus on crystal awards.

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