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TV Group Dismisses Challenge

Television: Academy leaders say call for vote to overturn president's removal is unauthorized.

January 11, 2002|BRIAN LOWRY | TIMES STAFF WRITER

The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences dismissed a motion at its monthly board meeting Wednesday that would have prompted a vote on whether to overturn last month's decision to let go President Jim Chabin, informing dissident board members that such action wasn't authorized under the organization's bylaws.

Some board members of the nonprofit group, which presents the nighttime Emmy Awards, are angry because the academy's 15-member executive committee, led by elected Chairman Bryce Zabel, removed Chabin without consulting the board, which consists of 54 governors from various branches of the television industry.

Academy leaders did agree Wednesday to reexamine the group's bylaws and "take an overall look" at the relationship between the executive committee and board, Zabel said. However, academy legal counsel Dixon Dern told the group that reopening or overturning the vote was out of order under the existing rules.

Zabel, who was elected in August, would not discuss details of the meeting, but sources on the board say the discussion lasted more than three hours and that a handful of governors walked out.

A search committee is being formed to seek a replacement for Chabin, who had held the academy's top staff position since 1998. Insiders say morale among the paid staff has suffered since his exit, with financial officer Herb Jellinek overseeing those duties on an interim basis.

In a separate action, the academy altered its awards procedure to make prime-time quiz shows such as ABC's "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" eligible for nighttime Emmys. Because of a procedural quirk, such programs were previously relegated to the Daytime Emmys, which are presented by the New York-based National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

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