Bored with the Emmys? The Paley Center for Media may have a viable alternative. The organization announced today that it has scheduled its first awards program for May, 2012 in New York City. Earlier this year, a committee of TV executives — which included Sony Pictures TV president Steve Mosko and Fox Networks Group CEP Tony Vinciquerra — began discussing the creation of a new awards show that “would take a fresh and distinctive approach” to giving away trophies that would also “attract a broad and diverse viewing audience to a televised event.”
“We believe the awards committee has made significant progress in identifying the ways to achieve our objectives, and we will continue to carefully refine our plans to leverage those assets as we further define the nominations process, voting, judging and award categories in the months ahead,” said Pat Mitchell, president and CEO of Paley, in a statement.
Added Mosko: “We have already received considerable interest from television networks and advertisers, and now that we have announced the time and location of our first show, we will begin right away to translate this interest into substantive discussions.”
The plan is to televise the show, which will coincide with the upfront presentations to advertisers by the broadcast networks. “The networks, advertisers, and much of the top talent will already be in New York at that time, and this venue should make it easier for top talent and industry leaders to participate in the show,” said Vinciquerra. The organization has yet to secure a network that will air the show, but it’s still early.
It’s also unclear what categories will be included in the Paley show, which comes at the time when the broadcast networks are renegotiating with the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences about airing future Emmy telecasts. (Each season, the networks switch off airing the awards show, and every four years, the contract is revisited.) As expected, the TV Academy will want to seek a higher license fee from the broadcast networks to air the Emmys, but CBS, NBC, ABC, and Fox are balking at the idea of paying a premium for a show that continues to (heavily) honor cable. This year, for example, the show that won for Outstanding Drama was AMC’s Mad Men, while HBO dominated all of the made-for-TV movie categories.
For years, the broadcast networks have tried to make the Emmys more accessible for TV fans, but the Hollywood guilds have been resistant to changes, like limiting the amount of time that’s spent honoring directors. (How much do viewers really care about the person who helms an episode of their favorite show?) There’s also been talk of relegating the made-for-TV movie categories to cable and just featuring the major categories on broadcast, but its hard to say whether the Big Four will succeed in making major changes to the show. In the meantime, Emmy ratings continue to decline, though this year’s telecast hosted by Jimmy Fallon was, at 13.5 million, the highest-rated telecast in four years.