TV Academy loses its PR agency

Lippin Group decides not to renew contract

Following a tumultuous past several months for the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, marked by a couple of major about-faces, the TV Academy's longtime PR agency, the Lippin Group, has opted to part ways with its client of 12 years.

The Lippin Group chairman Dick Lippin notified the academy about the decision Tuesday in a letter to ATAS chairman John Shaffner, which has been obtained by The Hollywood Reporter.

"For 12 years, through four administrations, we have represented the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences and are extremely proud of the role we have played in serving the academy and its Foundation," Lippin wrote.

"However, this is to notify you that we have no plan to continue in that role past the expiration of our current contract that ends December 31, 2009. We intend to fulfill all of our responsibilities under our agreement for the remainder of the year."

The Lippin Group routinely had to deal with leaks from the Academy on internal Emmy matters, which got exacerbated by the introduction of ribbon panels four years ago that led to confidential information on the finalists in the top categories trickling out.

The blue ribbon panels were scrapped this year as part of a major rule overhaul, but the Lippin staff had to navigate through a much bigger firestorm following the TV Academy's board of governors' vote in July to approve time-shifting of eight categories from the live Primetime Emmy ceremony.

After a wave of criticism from the creative community, the plan was dropped this month.

Also this summer, the Emmy ceremony was briefly moved from Sept. 20 to Sept. 13 before restored to its original date.

A rep for Lippin declined comment Wednesday.