Entertainment Industry

Category: Emmy Awards

The Morning Fix: It's all on Rupert! Box office blues. New life for Riley at ABC Family. Where will Emmys go next?

After the coffee. Before wondering what the deal is with those screaming crows outside my bedroom.

What's Rupert thinking? News Corp. Chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch will play a key role in whether Apple's desire to offer television shows for rent on iTunes at the low, low price of 99 cents per episode gains momentum. The Los Angeles Times looks at Murdoch's obsession for Apple's iPad -- he thinks it can save print media -- and how that is influencing his thinking when it comes to renting video content. While Disney, on whose board Apple chief Steve Jobs sits, is also likely to cut some sort of deal with Apple, other broadcasters and cable programmers are not yet sold and fear Apple's plans will benefit Jobs a lot more than Hollywood. Even within News Corp., not everyone is on the same page as Murdoch. By the way, the reason Apple is pushing so much for the 99-cent rental business is because it isn't having much luck selling digital downloads of TV shows. 

Good news and bad news at the box office. On the one hand, Hollywood can boast of record revenue at the box office this summer. On the other hand, the number of people actually going to movies was off dramatically. Of course, the reason for this was 3-D, as "Toy Story 3" and "Shrek Forever After" helped lift the totals and probably gave the industry an artificial sense of success. More on the summer movie season from Bloomberg.

Lions Gate is on a roll, but Icahn still looming. Although production company Lions Gate can smile about the success of "The Expendables" and "The Last Exorcism," its future remains in limbo as the cloud of investor Carl Icahn hangs over it. The Wrap looks at the studio's summer and the latest on Icahn's takeover plans.

What's the next home for the Emmys? Sunday night's awards show saw a slight growth in viewers and a dip in adults 18-49. The decision to air the show live coast to coast doesn't appear to have hurt viewership at all, and although the numbers might have been bigger if the show had aired in September, the competition would have been heavier. Now the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences needs to strike a new TV deal. Under the current pact, the license fee is about $7.5 million a year and that does not include production costs. Matching that figure will be a challenge. There is debate about whether the Emmys would benefit from a permanent home or should continue to rotate from network to network or even be expanded to cable. More on the numbers and the contract from the Los Angeles Times and Wall Street Journal.

Wanna play? The New York Times takes a look at GSN, otherwise known as the Game Show Network, and its challenge of making TV game shows in a video game era. The cable channel, which is co-owned by Sony Corp. and DirecTV, started as a home for reruns of old shows like "Password" and "Concentration" but now is making a big push into original shows that include remakes of classics ("The Newlywed Game") as well as new games.  So far, big success has eluded the channel, and industry analyst Derek Baine told the NYT that GSN "really needs to reinvent itself and find out how to boost the ratings."

Radio war. The radio industry's fight against paying for the music played on stations may be nearing an end as a compromise is in sight, reports Variety. The deal, per Variety, would establish tiered rates under which stations would pay 1% or less of their net revenue to the musicians. The National Assn. of Broadcasters, which has been vocal in its opposition to paying, is taking the pulse of its membership as this deal would be less onerous than previous proposals.

Life of Riley. Disney has filled Paul Lee's post as president of ABC Family with Michael Riley, a Canadian native who most recently was running Disney's radio operation. The post opened up earlier this month when Lee took over as head of ABC's prime-time entertainment in the wake of Steve McPherson's abrupt exit. Riley has TV experience, but most of it was overseas with Turner Broadcasting, and his specialty was corporate development and marketing, not programming so there might be a learning curve. At least he inherits a channel that has been on a creative roll as of late. More on Riley's new life from Broadcasting & Cable.

Inside the Los Angeles Times: Jimmy Fallon had a magic night hosting the Emmys; here's how he did it. The Los Angeles Forum is rapidly becoming a fading memory, and that's not good news to its owners. Another bunch of faux celebrities have signed up for ABC's "Dancing with the Stars," but hey, at least Jennifer Grey is giving it a whirl.

-- Joe Flint

Follow me on Twitter; it'll make the day go by faster. Twitter.com/JBFlint

Jimmy Fallon and a host of new winners keep Emmy viewership from falling

FALLON

A slew of new winners and an energized performance by host Jimmy Fallon was enough to boost the audience slightly for the 62nd Primetime Emmy Awards on NBC Sunday night.

About 13.5 million people tuned in to watch AMC's "Mad Men" and ABC's "Modern Family" walk off with the top honors in the drama and comedy category, respectively, according to Nielsen. That's a tiny improvement over the 13.47 million that caught the 2009 Emmys on CBS. But among the coveted 18-to-49 demographic, ratings were down, with last night's program averaging a 4.1, compared with 4.2 for last year's program. Each ratings point in that demographic equals about 1.3 million viewers.

That the Emmys managed to stay relatively flat with last year's numbers is impressive given that this year's show ran at the end of August, a time when many families are grabbing their last chance at a summer vacation and television viewing is typically lower than in September when the show usually runs. NBC moved the show because it carries NFL football on Sunday nights in the fall.

However, because the Emmy Awards ran in late August, a case can also be made that the competition was lighter than it would be in September, thus the numbers should have reflected that. Last year, for example, the CBS telecast of the Emmy Awards went head-to-head against NBC's coverage of a New York Giants-Dallas Cowboys football game. Sunday night's viewership was down 16% compared with NBC's 2006 telecast of the show, which also took place in late August.

Even though it's late August, none of NBC's rivals threw up a test pattern. Fox ran a preseason football game featuring the Denver Broncos and Pittsburgh Steelers, and CBS carried its popular show "Big Brother. Cable also didn't take the night off, with AMC's "Mad Men" and "Entourage" and HBO's "True Blood" airing new episodes.

For the first time in over 30 years, the Emmy Awards aired live on the West Coast, which didn't seem to help or hurt overall viewership.

That so many new shows were nominated and in the running for top prizes may have helped keep Emmy viewers glued to their TV sets. Aside from "Modern Family," Fox's "Glee" took home a couple of Emmys in the comedy category, including a trophy for Jane Lynch in the best supporting actress category. Jim Parsons of the CBS hit "The Big Bang Theory" was also a newcomer to Emmy glory with a win in the best acting in a comedy category. Those three managed to shut down NBC's "30 Rock," which had dominated the comedy category for the last few years.

On the drama front it was the same old story for the most part as "Mad Men" won for the third year in a row, as did Bryan Cranston, the star of AMC's other big series, "Breaking Bad."

With the Emmys over, the next priority for the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences is reaching a new television deal. The current deal, which was signed eight years ago, ended Sunday night, and talks for a new contract between the broadcast networks and the Academy are dragging.

At issue are the fees for the show. In the last deal, Fox, CBS, NBC and ABC agreed to share the awards and paid a high price for those rights. The annual cost has gone from $3 million a year in 2002 to more than $7 million this year, according to people familiar with the deal. On top of that, the network that has Emmys also covers the production costs, which runs into the millions of dollars.

Part of the reason the academy was able to get such a big increase from the broadcast networks was that pay cable channel HBO made a run for the Emmy Awards the last time the deal was up in 2002. Not wanting to see the television industry's biggest event end up on a commercial-free pay cable channel available in less than one-third of all television homes, broadcasters opened up their wallets to hold on to the show.

These days the broadcast networks are increasingly looking to trim costs. Furthermore, HBO has expressed little interest in going after the Emmy Awards show. After all, it takes home plenty of Emmys already without having to pay for the program itself.

Whether a commercial cable channel such as TNT will step up and make a bid remains to be seen. If the show did move to cable, there is a risk that the broadcast networks would be less eager to support the program.

At the same time though, the awards matter greatly to the creative community, so the networks could risk alienating their own performers if they were to stop supporting the academy and the broadcast. Also, since many of the major cable networks are part of media conglomerates that also own a broadcast network, that may lessen the sting of the show moving.

However, the most likely cable bidder for the Emmys, Time Warner's TNT and TBS channels, do not have a tie to a big-four broadcast network; it only has the CW, which is a joint venture between Warner Bros. and CBS. A spokesman for the academy said there would be no comments on the status of negotiations.

There is a school of thought that like the Oscars, which has a permanent home on ABC, the Emmys might benefit from a fixed address. At a time when all of broadcast television is dealing with increased competition and viewer erosion, live event programming is still a draw. If the show were to be based at one network, there might be more incentive to put some marketing muscle behind it and viewers would also be able to stop having to figure out who has the show in any given year.

A potential dark cloud for the Emmy Awards is a rival awards show in the works from the Paley Center for Media. Formerly the Museum of Television & Radio, the Paley Center's board includes several television industry heavy hitters from the broadcast business. Although no potential date has been set for any Paley Center Awards show and there is no television deal, it would probably take place in May, around the time that the networks present their new schedules to advertisers in New York.

-- Joe Flint

Photo: Emmy host Jimmy Fallon does his Elton John impersonation. Credit: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times

The Morning Fix: Court swears off indecency regulations. Piers Morgan headed to CNN. Lions Gate makes pitch to MGM

After the coffee. Before buying my advance tickets for "Inception."

Court swears off indecency regulations. A U.S. appeals court has tossed the Federal Communications Commission's indecency regulations, and the decision calls into question the FCC's clout to regulate broadcast TV and radio for content overall. The case grew out of the FCC's threats to fine Fox television stations for live telecasts in which there was inadvertent swearing. In the Fox case, Nicole Richie and Cher had sworn during live TV events, and a few years later, U2 singer Bono swore during an NBC telecast of the Golden Globes. The FCC can rewrite its rules or appeal the decision all the way to the Supreme Court. In the meantime, don't expect broadcasters to suddenly take their hands off the mute button or do away with seven-second delays just yet. More on the decision from the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Broadcasting & Cable.

Morgan to take King's throne. Piers Morgan, the British host of NBC's "America's Got Talent" is closing in on a deal to succeed Larry King at CNN. Although he's seen as a talent show host here, Morgan has a strong track record interviewing newsmakers in his native Britain. For several weeks, CNN denied it was talking with Morgan or even interested in him when reports first surfaced that he was the pick to succeed King. It was not long after those reports that King announced his retirement. More on the Morgan deal (he'll keep doing "America's Got Talent") from the New York Times and Los Angeles Times.

"Nailed" director bails. David O. Russell has left "Nailed," the political comedy that has had something approaching nine lives. The Hollywood Reporter has the back story on this one, which frankly sounds like one big soap opera that's impossible to follow.

Paramount committed to another mission. Despite disappointing box office for "Knight and Day," Paramount reiterated its desire to make another "Mission Impossible" movie with Tom Cruise. The Hollywood Reporter looks at what is at stake for the studio and Cruise with the next installment and seems to suggest that perhaps the franchise will go on without the star. Or maybe I'm doing too much reading between the lines.

Steinbrenner's legacy. Variety looks at how Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, who died Tuesday, changed the game. Besides becoming one of the first larger-than-life owners, featured in beer commercials and hosting "Saturday Night Live," his wide-open wallet played a big part in turning athletes into brands. The owner rivals loved to hate, the image of Steinbrenner was no doubt softened somewhat by the parody of him on NBC's "Seinfeld." Variety also credits Steinbrenner with being the first owner to create his own cable network to carry the team's games. Although the YES network is a big success, the Red Sox actually were ahead of the Yankees in owning their own cable network.

Does Bruckheimer need some magic? Tracking for producer Jerry Bruckeimer's "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" is not encouraging and could be his third miss. Of course, miss for him means it's not a mega-blockbuster. The The Wrap does some analysis on Bruckheimer's current track record.

And the Emmy Awards go to ... Deadline Hollywood looks at the upcoming talks between the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences and the broadcast networks over a new deal for the Emmy Awards. Could last week's nominations, which seemed to feature more broadcast shows in high-profile categories, encourage the networks to pony up for a new contract? There have been grumblings from the networks about the current deal and whether the awards wouldn't be better served by having a permanent home. Of course, that creates its own set of problems. The current deal is up at the end of August.

Inside the Los Angeles Times: John Horn looks at a battle between Chevron Corp. and director Joe Berlinger over his documentary "Crude," about the oil company's legal battles in Ecuador. Lions Gate has made a merger presentation to MGM. Starz President Chris Albrecht learned a valuable lesson about paying attention when answering e-mails.

-- Joe Flint

Follow me on Twitter and I'll stop writing these little reminders. Twitter.com/JBFlint

The Morning Fix: Emmy loves broadcast. Disney may really have sold Miramax! ESPN-LeBron backlash

After the coffee. Before avoiding all the reviews of "Inception."

Is it really over? Walt Disney Co. has struck a deal to sell Miramax to an investor group led by construction executive Ron Tutor with backing from Colony Capital, a private equity firm, and James Robinson, chief executive of production company Morgan Creek. If this deal actually closes, it will bring to an end to months of high-stakes negotiations and a battle among three potential suitors, including Miramax founders Bob and Harvey Weinstein. Former Disney executive Richard Nanula, now with Colony, is expected to oversee operations at Miramax for its new owners. More on what may be the final chapter from the Los Angeles Times and the Wrap.

Explaining Emmy. When hundreds are nominated for awards, it can make finding a trend difficult. But try we must, and with some new shows on broadcast television -- "Glee," "Modern Family," and "The Good Wife" -- doing very well, the verdict seems to be that network television is back. Well, certainly it was a good season, but it's not like HBO, Showtime, AMC and other cable channels were overlooked by Emmy voters. I'm still wondering how the voters could snub Khandi Alexander of HBO's "Treme." And why do they keep ignoring FX's "Rescue Me." Analysis on the nominations from the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Variety and Hollywood Reporter.

Fleeing Sun Valley. Friday is when the media stalkers exit Allen & Co.'s Sun Valley mogul gathering after three days of chasing executives and being escorted by security to the bathroom. So here are the wrap-up stories from the New York Times and Wall Street Journal that, quite frankly, could have been written before the conference started. No digs at my media pals intended; I've been there and know the drill. You do the best you can with what few morsels you can get. At least the Idaho setting is beautiful and there are some good restaurants in town.

The 10% factor. The Hollywood Reporter's Matthew Belloni takes a look at the verdict against Walt Disney Co. in its battle over profits from the game show "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?" with the show's creator, Celador Productions, and the role that agents played in the relationship between the two companies. William Morris agents were put in an awkward position throughout the trial, and the verdict may have some rethinking the way packaging fees for shows are doled out to agencies.

ESPN and LeBron: The Aftermath. ESPN's deal with LeBron James, in which the basketball superstar got to handpick his interviewer and sell the network's ad time (for charity) in return for telling the cable channel where he was signing, has been heavily criticized in the media. Here's our Thursday story and a take from Friday's New York Times. Ex-ESPN analyst Dan Patrick said on his radio show Friday that the Thursday night program was "an infomercial" and that the network covered this "like it's 'American Idol.'" Not everyone is ganging up on Disney's ESPN though. Here's a defense from the Daily Beast. Meanwhile, super-agent Ari Emanuel is taking credit for helping put together the show, which, given the reviews, may not be something to boast about.

Inside the Los Angeles Times: "Eclipse" is expected to rule the weekend again at the box office, but its pacing is trailing its predecessor, "New Moon." More bad news for Mel Gibson.

-- Joe Flint

Follow me on Twitter and I won't abandon you for Miami: Twitter.com/JBFlint

Paley Center taps industry big-shots Mosko and Vinciquerra to explore possible awards show

Will there be a C. Montgomery Burns award for outstanding achievement in the field of excellence?

The Paley Center for Media, the television industry's think tank, library and historian, is moving ahead with exploring the possibility of creating its own awards show that could end up competing with Emmy Awards.

TONYV Overseeing the planning committee for the awards are industry big shots Steve Mosko, president of Sony Pictures Television, and Tony Vinciquerra, chairman and chief executive of the Fox Networks Group. Also on the committee is Dick Lippin, chairman of the Lippin Group, which used to handle media strategy for the Television Academy of Arts & Sciences, which produces the Emmy Awards. Both Mosko and Vinciquerra have ties to the Paley Center, serving on various boards for the institution. Lippin also serves on the Center's West Coast board.

“The formation of this planning committee is to explore the opportunities that we believe exist to create an awards program or franchise of programs,” said Pat Mitchell, president and chief executive of The Paley Center for Media.

Whether there is room for another awards show remains to be seen. However, while there are several awards shows that cater to the film industry, television only has one exclusive awards show. Yes, the Golden Globes also includes television, but it is primarily seen as a movie awards show.

“We will look closely at what is in the best interests of our industry and the public and make our committee members an integral part of our discussion and planning,” said Mosko.

Key for the Paley Center will be finding a network willing to help foot the bill for a telecast. The Emmy Awards rotates among the four broadcast networks, a strategy that some feel holds back the show because not one network is tied to its long-term viability. Other awards shows have deals with particiular networks -- CBS has the Grammy Awards, NBC has the Golden Globes, ABC has the Oscars. The thinking with the rotation was that it would make all of the industry support the show as well as limit networks from competing against the telecast.

The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences had no immediate comment in response to the Paley Center's announcement.

For the Paley Center, getting an awards show off the ground might be a way to create a much-needed new revenue stream. A nonprofit institution that got its start as the Museum of Television & Radio, it changed its name to the Paley Center a few years ago and has tried to distance itself from being seen as a library for TV fans to more of an intellectual thought leader for the industry. That was done in part because the boom in DVD business and the growth of online video made it possible for people to find their favorite old television shows without having to trek to the Paley Center's New York or Los Angeles locations which has resulted in fewer people visiting the facilities.

Disclaimer: I worked at the Paley Center for three years as director of industry programs.

-- Joe Flint

Photo: Fox's Tony Vinciquerra. Credit: Francine Orr/ Los Angeles Times.

HBO felt snubbed by Emmy song 'Put Down the Remote'

HBO executives were apparently a little miffed that the network was not included in the lyrics of "Put Down the Remote," the song sung by Neil Patrick Harris that opened the Emmy awards show Sunday night on CBS.

The lyrics, which pleaded with viewers not to turn away from the broadcast and from television in general, featured plugs for practically every network nominated except HBO, which had 99 nominations. Considering that the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and CBS tried to restructure the Emmys this year by eliminating the presentation of awards for movies and miniseries from the broadcast -- two categories usually dominated by HBO -- in favor of just clips of awards being given, one can understand why HBO might be a little sensitive to slights both real and perceived. 

A CBS spokesman dismissed any controversy over the lyrics to the song, saying the network had not heard any complaints from HBO about it. "They had a great night, the spokesman said, adding, "I can't possibly imagine that complaint from a network so well represented on the broadcast."

-- Joe Flint

Though the audience grew this year, all still is not well in Emmyland

That CBS' telecast of the Emmy Awards managed to end three years of ratings declines against a huge football match on NBC is something of a minor miracle.


According to preliminary numbers from Nielsen, the Emmys averaged 13.3 million viewers, an 8% gain from last year's telecast on ABC, which was the lowest-rated on record. The broadcast was also up 11% among viewers ages 18 to 49 and 9% among adults ages 25 to 54. Not bad, considering that NBC's coverage of the Dallas Cowboys vs. New York Giants match drew 22 million viewers.



CBS' accomplishment aside, all is not well in Emmyland. Next year's awards are on NBC (the show rotates among the networks each year), which means the Peacock will likely push the broadcast back to August so it doesn't interfere with its NFL coverage. That could mean lower ratings. The last time NBC had the show and ran it in August, viewership fell by almost 2.5 million viewers compared with the previous year. A case can be made that NBC and the Emmys might be better off airing the awards on a Monday in September than on a Sunday in August.

NPH

Furthermore, the TV deal that the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences has with ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox — in which each shells out about $7 million a year for broadcast rights to the show — expires after next year's broadcast. There is some debate about whether the show would do better if it had a permanent home instead of bouncing from network to network. ABC is the home of the Oscars and CBS has been successful with the Grammys and Tonys. A case can be made that stability might help buffer against viewer erosion.

Of course, that has been tried before. Fox had the Emmys for six years, from 1987 to 1992, and ABC also had the award show exclusively briefly in the 1990s.

The problem in the past has been that if one network has the awards on a permanent basis, the other networks will go after them guns-a-blazin'. HBO attempted to make a run for the award show in 2002, and the other networks said if they did, then good luck getting stars to show up. At the time, a CBS spokesman said their network would "no longer participate in the Emmys in any way, shape or form."

"Watch how fast all the others make an extraordinary effort to knock it down," says Tom O'Neil, our resident award expert whose blog Gold Derby is on our sister site The Envelope

Isn't that already happening? Rival networks no longer lay down against the Emmy Awards. NBC has football and, while it's true that ESPN used to have football on Sunday night, it was not as big a threat because it was on cable and the NFL is giving NBC better games than it gave ESPN. HBO ran its lineup last night that included "Entourage" and "Curb Your Enthusiasm," while AMC ran a new episode of "Mad Men."

"There was an honor among thieves; those days are gone," observed one network executive. 

O'Neil suggests that, instead of finding one home, the academy should open the bidding to everyone. There would probably be a lot of interest from some cable networks for the awards. While they have the money, odds are the ratings would take a big hit if the show ended up rotating around a bunch of cable networks and broadcast networks. O'Neil argues that award shows should not be judged by their ratings performance, but without a large enough audience, then advertising dollars fade. And without ad dollars, there goes the show.

— Joe Flint

Photo: Neil Patrick Harris. Credit: Kevin Winter / Getty Images.


Now the actors are griping about the Emmy changes

Changes aimed at jazzing up the Emmy Awards aren't going down too well with the Screen Actors Guild, the big labor union that negotiates contracts on behalf of actors. Their complaint? Actors -- who love the limelight, after all -- wouldn't get the "recognition they deserve" under the award show's format tweaks, the guild says.

The board of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences recently approved changes that would shorten the presentation of many movie and miniseries awards by allowing producers to air edited versions of acceptance speeches during the Sept. 20 telecast.

But the move has drawn fire from the Writers Guild of America, a number of leading TV writer-producers and the Directors Guild of America, which called the proposed changes a "material breach" of its agreement with the academy.

Now, the Screen Actors Guild has weighed in. David White, interim executive director of the union, highlighted its concerns in a letter Thursday to John Shaffner, chairman and chief executive of the academy.

"The Screen Actors Guild remains concerned about the recommended modifications which, if enacted, would reduce the level of recognition that our members, and other talent, have come to expect and appreciate through your program," White wrote.

White urged the board to review further changes with "input from the guilds" to "arrive at a mutually agreeable solution to this situation."

A spokesperson for the academy didn't have any comment.

-- Richard Verrier

'For your Emmy consideration' plugs hit the valet ticket

BigBang It's either the ultimate example of Hollywood insider marketing or awards fever run amok.

In a car-centric city like Los Angeles, valet parking is as much a part of life as cellphones and sycophantic assistants for Hollywood power players jetting between lunches, meetings, drinks and parties.

Ads on the back side of the valet ticket stubs drivers use to reclaim their cars, of course, have been around for a few years. And "For your consideration" ads promoting movies and TV shows for awards have been a staple in Variety, the Hollywood Reporter and, yes, parts of the L.A. Times much longer (since the recession hit, however, not so much).

Emmy But when I was handed my valet stub at a party last night related to the E3 video game conference and saw a "for your Emmy consideration" ad from Warner Bros. for the CBS comedy "The Big Bang Theory" on the back side of it, I had to admit: It's the first time I've seen parking and promotion melded together.

Even at an industry party, the vast majority of attendees are unlikely to be Emmy voters, raising questions just how efficient the ads are at reaching their target audience. Warner Bros. must be really eager for "Big Bang" to drive away with one of those golden statues.

-- Ben Fritz

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