After 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.
On July 30, show executive producer Don Mischer announced that eight of the prime-time Emmy Awards would be showcased in taped segments that encompassed the reading of the nominees' names and acceptance speeches by the winners. The eight categories to be denied live presentation were miniseries, movie, movie/mini supporting actor and actress, movie/mini directing, movie/mini writing, drama series writing, and variety directing.
The broadcast networks that rotate presentation of the Emmy ceremony – ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox – have only four of the 40 nominations in those races. This year's telecaster, CBS, has only one nomination (supporting movie actress, Marcia Gay Harden, "The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler").
Most of the bumped categories involve movies/minis, and those are races dominated by HBO, which was furious about this news. "For a show that has always recognized the best in the television industry, it now seems to be increasingly focused on recognizing broadcast network television," said a spokesman at the time. "That is unfortunate given the range and caliber of talent represented in these categories which are being singled out for time-shifting."
The Directors Guild of America demanded that the TV academy relent or be found to be in "material breach" of an agreement promising that all prime-time Emmy Awards presented to directors be part of the live ceremony. And both the East and West Coast branches of the WGA protested this second-class treatment of their members. Both guilds planned to revoke the Emmys' access to free TV clips to use during the telecast.
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."