Fox Broadcasting, the fledgling network created last year to serve independent TV stations, has stolen into the chicken coop of the big three networks and carried away the prime-time Emmy Awards show.
By an overwhelming vote, governors of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences agreed late Tuesday to negotiate a three-year deal with Fox to telecast not only the Emmies for prime-time programming, but also the Television Academy Hall of Fame shows, beginning this year.
In recent years, the three major networks have rotated the Emmies telecast, negotiating as a group every three years to establish the fee paid to the academy. But negotiations reached an impasse when the nonprofit academy objected that the most recent offer of $875,000 was too low, academy sources said.
Members were further dismayed by one network official's suggestion that as many as 10 of the 32 awards be eliminated from the three-hour show.
Topped Other Offers
Los Angeles-based Fox, whose first program went on the air just last October, not only topped the offer with a $1.25-million proposal, but offered to pay an additional $250,000 to telecast the Television Academy Hall of Fame, a 4-year-old show honoring lifetime achievements in the broadcasting industry. The show faced an uncertain future at ABC, CBS and NBC, which had refused thus far to negotiate its next telecast, industry sources said.
In a prepared release, academy President Richard H. Frank said Wednesday that Fox Broadcasting's proposal "satisfactorily addressed" the academy's concerns about protecting both programs' "integrity and presentation . . . while the other proposals did not."
Final negotiations with Fox are expected to conclude this week, Frank said, with the 39th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards scheduled for a Sept. 20 telecast from the Pasadena Civic Auditorium.