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TV show runners blast 'time-shift'; Emmys play defense

August 4, 2009 |  5:37 pm

"We are trying to keep the Emmys alive as a major television event," Emmycast producer Don Mischer told members of the Television Critics Association yesterday in response to growing protests over plans to "time-shift" eight categories. "It's best for the industry for the Emmys to be seen by as many people as possible.

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"It may drift away from that and become a niche event. It may come to that," he added. "The writing is on the wall, and every other award show knows it."

Emmycast host Neil Patrick Harris also piped in: "There's a bit of miscommunication. We're just trying to edit down the standing and the hugging. We'll be able to highlight (winners) more (by cutting out) the boring parts. I hope that they won't be (upset) when they see what we're doing. It's so we can have the best show possible."

Just hours earlier more than 150 show runners, who are members of the Writers Guild of America, issued a vehement protest, including Marc Cherry ("Desperate Housewives"), Vince Gilligan ("Breaking Bad"), Seth McFarlane ("Family Guy"), Carol Mendelsohn ("CSI"), Shonda Rhimes ("Grey's Anatomy") and Matthew Weiner ("Mad Men").

Their protest declared, "This decision conveys a fundamental understatement of the importance of writers in the creation of television programming and a symbolic attack on the primacy of writing in our industry. We implore ATAS to restore these awards to their rightful place in the live telecast of the 2009 Emmy Awards."

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