Bruce Rosenblum Reveals His Plans for the TV Academy
The Warner Bros. executive and new ATAS chairman and CEO talks to THR about the Emmys, his idea to create industry "summits" and how to reduce political infighting.
One big idea on the mind of the new chairman and CEO of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, Bruce Rosenblum, is to hold a television industry "summits," modeled after those put on in the 1990s by the last top TV executive to lead the group.
Rosenblum, who is a member of the office of the president at Warner Bros. and oversees all TV at the busiest studio in Hollywood, is the first high-level studio executive to head the TV Academy since Richard Frank, who was president of Disney TV during his tenure.
In 1994, Frank was the vision behind a summit that the organization calls “one of the most notable events in the Television Academy’s history," a daylong conference at Royce Hall on the UCLA campus, titled “Information Superhighway Summit.”
Then-VIce President Al Gore provided the keynote address, and participants included the chairman of the FCC, Bill Gates of Microsoft, John Malone (then head of the largest cable company), Brian Roberts (now of Comcast, which now owns control of NBC Universal), DreamWorks Jeffrey Katzenberg, Disney heads Michael Eisner and Robert Iger; and others.
“I hope we can put together a summit similar to what Rich Frank did during his tenure that I think elevated the visibility of the academy,” Rosenblum told The Hollywood Reporter in an interview shortly after his election Wednesday night. “We’re at a wonderful moment in time when technology is so dramatically influencing our business in a positive way that we can bring together a lot of the influential people in the industries to talk about where technology is taking our business.”
What Rosenblum does not want is to play the political games that have dogged the academy in the past or to dwell only on the Primetime Emmy Awards while ignoring everything else the group does.
“If you look at the results of the election tonight, I think you will see a group of new officers who are expressing a desire to work past the politics of old,” said Rosenblum. “I think we have a unified desire to bring new voices to the table and move the academy forward, not to retain the status quo. If the new group of officers can be successful at that agenda I think you’ll see a diminishment of the politics of old.”
Rosenblum wants to improve the diversity of the group, address piracy concerns and bolster the work done by the Academy Foundation, in part by bringing this new attitude into play.
“A lot of the focus of the academy is traditionally around the Primetime Emmy Awards,” Rosenblum said. “Yet the academy provides a lot more functions though out the year that are not as well known. I think we can elevate the brand of the academy, elevate the awareness of the academy and certainly elevate the stature of the academy through things like professional development, and creating opportunity for there to be more relevance for the members other than just getting to vote for the Emmys. We can push forward a diversity initiative within the peer groups and governors. I think the philanthropic work of the foundation is terrific and the Academy can generate more revenue through digital opportunities or sponsorships. All of that will benefit the great work of the philanthropic foundation.”
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