Media Notes

ATAS Reverses Restrictions on Emmy Speeches
James Hibberd, TV Week

The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences board of governors voted Monday night to not restrict the speeches of writers and directors winning awards during the Sept. 18 Primetime Emmy Awards telecast.
The decision reverses an April announcement that nominees in the six prime-time writing and directing categories would have to prepare pre-taped remarks, which would be played as the winner walked to the stage. Sources said writers and directors upset about the decision had made threats, including not preparing tapes, preparing tapes that mocked the Emmys and boycotting the telecast.
“Some of the initial assumptions were not accurate in light of the way the show was being constructed,” the academy said in a statement. “In effect, the amount of time being saved was not as much as originally thought, and the costs incurred would be in excess of original projections.”
The reversed plan was the result of viewer focus-group research seeking ways to make the awards more exciting.
The 2004 broadcast was seen by 14 million total viewers, the second-lowest-rated Emmy awards in history. Last month, Grammy Awards producer Ken Ehrlich was tapped to executive produce the ceremony, taking the reins from veteran Emmys producer Don Mischer.
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Peter Jennings: Reporter, 8-10 p.m. (EDT), Wednesday, August 10 on ABC-TV.
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David Brickman will be doing his fifth art criticism spot on WAMC (90.3 fm) Thursday, August 11 at 11:07 a.m. The topic will be the local art scene as represented by several summer art shows in Albany. By the way, for the out-of-towners it is possible to listen online at wamc.org (live only – not archived)

Jennings

I was content to post not too much today, I really was, but then I heard that Peter Jennings had died.

When I was growing up, it was Huntley/Brinkley in our household (the reason I know the 2nd movement of Beethoven’s 9th), then Walter Cronkite. When Cronkite retired in the early 1980s, I tried a number of folks: Chancellor then Brokaw, Rather. But eventually I found myself gravitating towards this Canadian fellow.

I think I found him more credible because he was somehow more the observer. I think his disastrous first shot at the anchor in his 20s made him work harder. Perhaps my favorite moment was on September 15, 2001 when he was talking to kids about the attacks, compassionate, yet not jingoistic.

When he said he’d be back when he went off the air in April, I figured, for a while, that maybe he would be.

The network has no clear choice to replace him. The folks who have been substituting for him already have a job (Elizabeth Vargas on Prime Time) or two (Charles Gibson on Prime Time and, more importantly for ABC’s bottom line, Good Morning America.) Koppel is set to leave Nightline soon to do his own thing.

As I’m sure all the news analysts are saying, the triumvirate is over, which is neither here nor there for me. But the passing of Peter Jennings is one that fills me with some sorrow. It’s strange that when you “invite someone into your home” electronically, you can get feelings of sadness when they’re gone.