17 Top TV Execs Reveal How They'd Fix the Emmys (Hint: Serve Booze!)

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Jimmy Kimmel

"Get everyone drunk like the Golden Globes." Yep, many of the industry's best — including FX's John Landgraf, TNT/TBS' Kevin Reilly, Showtime's David Nevins and Netflix's Cindy Holland — say alcohol would enliven the ceremony when asked what it would take to make the big night as entertaining as the shows being honored.

TV executives may be hungry for Emmys — but by the end of a three-hour telecast, they’re often pretty thirsty too. THR polled more than a dozen network chiefs to find out how they’d make the TV Academy’s flagship awards show more pleasurable for both the people in the room and those watching at home. The executives did not hold back. The long running time, the relative absence of Golden Globes-style fun and the increasingly muddy definition of what qualifies as a “limited series” top the list of gripes. So with a little more than four months to go before the Jimmy Kimmel-hosted affair airs live (Sept. 18) on ABC, here is a collection of their top requests — the most popular of which, as Fox TV Group chairman and CEO Dana Walden so succinctly put it, is “alcohol.”

"Make it a celebration of TV in line with the Grammys." — Matt Cherniss, president, WGN America and Tribune Studios

"Better regulate what qualifies as a limited series versus a drama series. There's too much overlap in that area. I'd also separate the television movie and limited series actresses and actors into their own categories." — Rob Sharenow, executive vp, A&E and Lifetime

"An influx of new voters." — Cindy Holland, vp original content, Netflix

"Create more categories for scripted. There's so much great stuff, which gets funneled into very few categories. It would be nice to have a few more ways of recognizing the achievements." — Jana Bennett, president, History

"Make it a very large-scale group text." — Roy Price, head of Amazon Studios

"Take a page out of Ellen DeGeneres' book at the Oscars and deliver pizza to every seat in the audience." — Courteney Monroe, CEO, National Geographic Global Networks

"Everyone has to wear pajamas. And make it about two hours shorter." — Jennifer Caserta, president, IFC

"Cut out half the categories and serve booze." — Kevin Reilly, president, TBS and TNT, and chief creative officer, Turner Entertainment

"If a show wins a couple years in a row, I'd have a period of ineligibility to force [Emmy voters] to open their minds to new work." — John Landgraf, CEO, FX Networks and FX Productions

"Figure out a way to celebrate what's happening and illuminate what's happening instead of continually backing an increasingly reductive process that results in the same number of winners and a much longer list of 'losers.' " — Chris Albrecht, CEO, Starz

"How about we make the ceremony a casual Thursday lunch in New York City?" — Charlie Collier, president, AMC and SundanceTV

"They should include unscripted meaningfully on the big night and not [have it] just be a Creative Arts [Emmys] part of the puzzle." — Rich Ross, group president, Discovery Channel, Animal Planet and Science Channel

"Spend less time on the long-form categories." — David Nevins, president and CEO, Showtime Networks

"Have Steve Harvey host — I love some good drama!" — Sharon Levy, executive vp original series, Spike TV

"Get everyone drunk like the Golden Globes." — Kent Alterman, president, Comedy Central

"Put the clips of the shows back into the awards. That's the biggest selling tool for television … and all you see is people winning awards and giving acceptance speeches. We're not showcasing the actual content." — Frances Berwick, president, Lifestyle Networks Group, NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment

This story first appeared in the June 10 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

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