ATAS Extends Primetime Emmy Contract With Big Four Networks Through 2018

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The new eight-year deal is worth $66 million; Mark Burnett has come on board to produce this year's show, which airs Sept. 18 on Fox.

The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences said Wednesday night that it has reached an agreement with the Big Four networks over the Primetime Emmy Awards telecast.

ATAS' contract with ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC to televise the ceremony has been extended through 2018.  The new deal continues the "wheel rotation" among the four networks, starting with Fox this year.

In addition, Mark Burnett (Survivor, The Celebrity Apprentice) will executive produce this year's show, which airs Sept. 18 on Fox.  

The networks will pay a license fee of at least $8.25 million for the program -- up from $7.5 million last year -- for a guaranteed $66 million over the course of the eight-year deal.


ATAS and the networks have been negotiating a new deal for more than eight months, ever since the previous eight-year contract ran out after the last show in August.

In the face of rating declines, the networks have expressed a desire to shorten the show, which would mean cutting categories, especially those for writing and directing. But moving the writers or directors out of primetime and onto the Creative Arts Emmys, which air on cable, would violate the current contracts the academy has with the WGA and DGA.

ATAS said Wednesday that the numbers and categories of on-air awards for the 2011 telecast will remain the same. However, for the following seven years of the deal, the network airing the show along with the TV academy will "give due consideration to reviewing the award categories and the manner of presentation of the awards, taking into account the interests of various constituencies of the academy."

"We thank Ken Ziffren for his leadership, as well as all those involved from both the Television Academy and the broadcast networks in bringing the negotiations to this successful conclusion," ATAS chairman and CEO John Shaffner said. "We are excited about the continued collaboration with our broadcast partners, and look forward to working with Fox and -- for the first time -- with Mark Burnett on this year's telecast."

Added Burnett: "As an Emmy Award winner, I know the excitement of standing on the Emmy stage before your peers and the American public to receive that statue. My mission in producing this year's Emmys is to provide the absolutely most memorable television experience for the nominees, the winners and the viewing audience."

Nominations for the 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards will be announced July 14.