Will Emmys split into two shows next year?

Tue Aug 31, 2010 2:36am EDT
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By Alex Ben Block

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Will the Primetime Emmys be divided into two shows?

That was just one of the ideas circulating Monday, a day after the 62nd Primetime Emmys Awards show drew an on-par 13 million viewers for NBC.

The four major TV networks have broached the idea with the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences of expanding the number of networks that share in the rotation of the Primetime Emmy awards show to include cable networks and possibly to split it into two separate shows, one for broadcast and another to air on cable or pay TV.

These and other ideas came up in a meeting of executives of CBS, NBC, Fox and ABC in early August, according to a report on the Wall Street Journal's web site Monday.

While the audience for Sunday's show was up from 2008, it was still down by nearly a third from 2002, the last time the major networks negotiated a license agreement with ATAS to carry the show in a rotating "wheel," which has seen each of the four air the program twice over the past eight years.

The broadcast networks compete fiercely in the series category, both for scripted and reality programing, but have all but abdicated the movie of the week, long-form and miniseries type of programs to cable and especially to pay TV. The most notable log-form player is HBO, which again was the top overall winner at the Emmys, both on Sunday and a week earlier at the Creative Arts Emmys, where most of the technical awards were handed out.

The idea seems to be having one Primetime Emmys show for the series categories, which would air on a broadcast network, and another for the long-form programs, which would air on a cable or pay TV service. If it was on pay TV, based on past discussions, the pay wall -- which would exclude nonsubscribers -- would be dropped for that night, so all cable subscribers could see the show.

Broadcast executives, in off-the-record conversations with The Hollywood Reporter, have previously expressed their frustration with airing a show that is mostly a huge promotional postcard for HBO and cable. Having separate shows could solve that problem.   Continued...