Magazine article Variety

Topper Peers into Peak TV Future

Magazine article Variety

Topper Peers into Peak TV Future

Article excerpt

ON JUNE 2, the Television Academy will unveil its media center on its North Hollywood campus at a star-studded gala, the culmination of a multi-year capital campaign. It's been the primary mission of Academy chairman and CEO Bruce Rosenblum, who last year extended his term at the helm of the organization to see the initiative through.

But that's not only the issue on his plate as Emmy season kicks into gear, with nomination voting set to begin on June 13 - and more competition than ever in an ever-crowded marketplace.

Here, Rosenblum offers Variety insight into the key decisions he and the board of governors made going into this year's race.

Let's start with a state of the state. From your perspective, how does this year's race compare to years past?

We're just at the starting gate. Emmys submissions were due earlier this month. We're expecting to have a record number of submissions across all of our categories for the 2016 competition. There's never been more wonderful content being produced by our membership throughout the industry for all platforms on a global basis. We had around 6,000 submissions during 2015, and we anticipate around 7,000 submissions for 2016. The number of members who will be eligible to vote will be up around 1,000 from around 18,000 to around 19,000. We have a handful of new categories in the short-form area. So overall the competition itself is expanding, it's the reflection of an expanding television landscape. While we all just returned from New York and the premiere of the broadcast and cable network upfronts, we're really now looking at yearround business, pilot season is really year-round. Production is year-round. Launch of original series is year-round. And each of the networks, whether they're broadcast, cable or over the top, are looking at opportunities to bring new programming to viewers throughout the year.

What about the awards show itself? How's the planning coming?

We're excited to be in business with ABC. They're terrific partners when it comes to broadcasting the Primetime Emmy show. Ben (Sherwood) and his team will do a terrific job. They've identified Jimmy Kimmel as the host. All of us at the Academy are excited to have Jimmy back as the host of our program. Don Mischer is also on board to executive produce. Don and his terrific team have done an extraordinary job with the Emmys the last few years, and all of us at the Academy are excited to be working with Don once again.

You announced earlier this year you'd be splitting the Creative Arts Emmys into two shows. Why make that choice?

Because of the breadth and volume of work that is worthy of creative excellence recognitions, our Creative Arts Emmy show became longer than the board of governors felt comfortable with. And our governors for the last couple of years have been looking for a solution to facilitate a more user-friendly Creative Arts awards ceremony. After a lot of deliberation, the decision was made to split the show into two and create a Creative Arts Emmy weekend. It will be the exact same experience on Saturday and Sunday from both an awards show standpoint and a Governors Ball standpoint. We will be awarding obviously different categories but from an audience standpoint, it will be the exact same experience. This gives our producer, Bob Bain, a little more breathing room to produce a show that not only is one award after another, but also has a little more entertainment and also has more air to recognize the great creative work that's being done by our members across all of our peer groups.

What has the response from the industry been?

Our sense is once our members have an experience that's not a threehour plus show, and still are able to enjoy the overall experience, it'll be nothing but positive, but anecdotally we've heard that it was well-received, and our members are looking forward to the Creative Arts weekend as well as the primetime show the following weekend. …

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