In a move to quell network animosity over who gets to broadcast the annual prime-time Emmy Awards, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences and the four major broadcast networks have agreed to rotate the awards show beginning next year.
"We spend 364 days a year beating up on each other and we decided we could take one day to unite and pay tribute to television," Ted Harbert, president of ABC Entertainment, told a news conference Tuesday.
The announcement came in response to the protests of executives at CBS, NBC and Fox, who were outraged at the TV academy's four-year exclusive telecast agreement signed last year with ABC. At the time, the academy went for the money, as ABC's bid for exclusive rights was about $2 million more than what the academy would have received with a rotating arrangement.
In response, the other three networks boycotted last year's Emmy show and each network refused to buy ads in the academy's Emmy magazine. They also scheduled competitive programs opposite ABC's Emmy broadcast in an effort to dilute its ratings.
"The Emmys are a celebration of television and common sense dictates that they should be presented by all the networks," said Rich Frank, president of the academy. "Taking ABC's offer last year was very good for the academy, but not very good for the industry."
Frank would not disclose the financial terms of the new deal, saying only that the academy can live very well with it.
ABC will broadcast the Emmys this year, on Sept. 11, under the deal signed last year. The rotating schedule will begin in September, 1995--moving from Fox to ABC to CBS to NBC.