Emmy resentments surface in TV industry

Wed Sep 1, 2010 7:53am EDT
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By Alex Ben Block

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - The major broadcast networks are serious about splitting the Primetime Emmys into two shows, and they have support among cable networks who share a frustration about HBO so thoroughly dominating the longform categories.

One ceremony would honor all series and air on broadcast, while the other would recognize the TV movies and longform projects that run on cable, like HBO's "Temple Grandin," which ended up with seven Emmys this year. The broadcast version would use the time gained to become a more entertainment-oriented program.

The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences' contract with the Big Four broadcasters to air the Emmys expired with Sunday's telecast.

Supporters of the status quo counter that without HBO, the Emmys would lose such marquee talent as Al Pacino, Claire Danes and Tom Hanks -- film stars who attended the Emmys this year only because they worked on HBO telefilms.

"It's a little bit like crying over your own inadequacies," said Barry Levinson, who directed Pacino to an Emmy in "You Don't Know Jack" for HBO. "(Broadcasters) used to do longform. They stopped. So it's hardly fair for them to say, 'Gee, now that we don't get our Emmys, we're upset.' It's hard to have any sympathy over things they abandoned because they're charting another course."

"Jack" executive producer Steve Lee Jones also is against a split.

"HBO is spending serious theatrical budgets on cable TV movies," he said. "Instead of people pointing a finger at them and trying to exclude them, (HBO) should be rewarded for it. If others would follow suit, we'd have more quality programs."

An HBO spokeswoman would say only that the network will "let the work speak for itself."   Continued...

<p>Dozens of Emmy Awards are lined up on the trophy table in the media center at the 62nd annual Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles, California August 29, 2010. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok</p>