Time To Shift On Time-Shifting


Well, I would have preferred if the Emmys had made this decision yesterday, before the magazine went to press, but better late than never, I suppose: the Academy of TV Arts and Sciences has given up on the “time-shifting” experiment.

emmyAfter two weeks of mounting criticism over plans to “time-shift” eight of the Emmy Awards bestowed on the prime-time telecast, the TV academy and CBS have relented. Now all 28 Emmys will be presented live during the Sept. 20 awardscast.

In a statement released today, TV academy Chairman/CEO John Shaffner said, “This decision was made to mend relationships within the television community and to allow executive producer Don Mischer to focus his full attention on producing the creative elements in the telecast. Our goal is to celebrate the year in television, honor excellence and this year’s great achievements with the support of our industry colleagues and our telecast partner, CBS.”

Translating Shaffner’s statement into English from press-release-ese, he’s saying (surprisingly bluntly, considering that this is a press release) that they’re doing this because everybody now hates them and Shaffner for this decision, and they decided it was better to leave the boring awards in the live telecast rather than keep answering questions about why the entire industry is mad at them.

I tend to agree with those who say that they would have gotten away with this if it hadn’t been for those meddling kids the decision to cut the award for writing in drama while leaving in the award for comedy writing. If they had stuck to dropping the movie and miniseries awards, they would not have gotten slammed the way they were slammed for snubbing Mad Men. That show is too beloved, and series TV writers are too sensitive to slights, for such a decision to be uncontroversial.

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Time To Shift On Time-Shifting

  1. Absolutely – I don't think there would have been the same pressure at all if it weren't for the drama writers slight. This whole thing is like a case study of bad PR. They picked the wrong award, and even in trying to sell the changes, Mischer did the Academy and CBS no favours. I don't think the outcry has as much to do with Mad Men itself. It was more the too-obvious slant towards broadcast vs cable, but mostly getting on the bad side of showrunners, especially so soon after the writers strike. It was kind of like poking a wounded bear. I think a PR person would say that's a bad idea.

  2. The real question, of course, is: will anyone tune in to watch? To me, these award shows are such a colossal waste of time. I merely read about the result the next morning, and that's all I need to know.

  3. 12 million+ watched last year. Bet it'll continue to decline this year and now they'll be able to say "well, we tried to make it more entertaining, but …" So this solution is win win! WGA/DGA/etc. get their way, CBS gets an excuse. As the TV audience gets more fragmented, the Emmys are inevitably screwed as a mass appeal show, even to those few of us who like both TV and awards shows.