A New TV Awards Season

Emmy statue courtesy of Academy of Television, Art & Science

Will Emmy rivals add or dilute interest in the annual telecast?

Emmy season is starting to look a lot like Oscar season: really long. With the Broadcast Film Critics Association announcing plans to launch the Critics’ Choice TV Awards, the run-up to the television academy’s annual late-summer kudocast is getting crowded. For TV, the season begins with January’s Golden Globes, which will now be followed by Critics’ Choice (or “Betcha” awards) June 20 and July’s untelevised TCA critics awards. Starting in 2012, the field will be joined by the Paley Center for Media’s possibly televised event.

Recognizing the power derived from its film awards show being seen as an Oscar predictor, the Broadcast Critics has timed its new event — which has not secured a TV deal — to take place as academy members are filling out their ballots. “I always wondered why TCA didn’t make their voting applicable to the Emmys,” BFCA president Joey Berlin says. “There does seem to be a hole we hope the Critics’ Choice TV Awards will fill.”

Emmy organizers officially agree, telling THR in a statement, “The Television Academy supports the addition of the [Critics’ Choice] awards and welcomes any organization that celebrates and brings acknowledgment to the creative work of the television community.” Some feel the new Emmy rivals could dilute interest in the show in the same way Oscar viewers complain that the Academy Awards is merely another parade of winners from the Globes, SAG Awards and other stops on the three-month awards-season circuit. Still, an annual awards-season narrative could end up benefiting everyone. “This really builds up to even more significance for the Emmys,” Paley president Pat Mitchell says. “That buildup from the Globes to the Oscars really seems to enhance both awards programs. Wouldn’t it be great if we all did that for each other in television?”

And, as former Academy of Television Arts & Sciences chairman and CEO Bryce Zabel notes: “At the end of the day, the most treasured award in television will still be the Emmy. That won’t change.”           

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