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WGA, other Emmy players blast 'time shift'

August 1, 2009 |  5:54 pm

"The Emmy time shift is a time shaft" to cable contenders, according to a top cable player who fired off an angry e-mail to Gold Derby that echoed growing industry fury against the TV academy's plan to shove eight categories out of the main Emmy ceremony and include them on the telecast in abbreviated form.

Emmys time shift

Cable nominees are upset because they feel like they're targets of unjust treatment. Only four of the 40 nominations in those eight races belong to the four TV networks (ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox) that telecast the Emmy ceremony in a rotating "wheel deal." CBS, which airs the show Sept. 20, has only one bid in the 40 that are affected.

Writers also feel like they're being treated unfairly. They have less than 6% of all Emmy categories, but 25% of all time-shifted ones: best drama-series writing and best writing for movies/minis.

The president of the Writers Guild of America East, Michael Winship, issued a statement on Friday denouncing the plan: "The writers are the storytelling stars of television, and we are disappointed that the Academy chooses to diminish our members' invaluable and essential contribution to the medium. We ask that they reconsider the decision for this and future Emmy broadcasts."

Patric Verrone, president of WGA West, also blasted the decision: "This action of the board of  governors is a clear violation of a longstanding agreement the writers guilds have with the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences regarding their awards telecast. It is also a serious demotion for writing and a fundamental misunderstanding of the importance of writers in the creation of television programs. Last year's Emmys suffered a tremendous decline in quality and ratings because of a lack of scripted material. That the Academy would then decide to devalue the primary and seminal role that writing plays in television is ridiculous and self-defeating."

Read more about the Emmycast "time-shift" plan here.

Photo: ATAS

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