Organizers drop plan to change Emmys format
By Jill Serjeant
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The Television Academy and broadcaster CBS on Wednesday reversed a plan to drop live presentations in some categories during the September 20 Emmy awards ceremony after a backlash within the industry.
In a bid to boost ratings and focus the three-hour show on big stars and popular shows, organizers planned to tape award handouts for writing, directing and supporting actor and actress in the best TV movie and miniseries categories.
The idea infuriated TV writers, directors and broadcasters, including cable channel HBO, whose shows were among those most likely to be affected.
After two weeks of criticism, Academy chairman John Shaffner said the plan had been dropped.
"This decision was made to mend relationships within the television community and to allow executive producer Don Mischer to focus his full attention on producing the creative elements in the telecast," Shaffner said in a statement.
"Our goal is to celebrate the year in television, honor excellence and this year's great achievements with the support of our industry colleagues and our telecast partner, CBS."
Awards for all 28 categories will be presented in the live broadcast hosted by Los Angeles actor Neil Patrick Harris of the "How I Met Your Mother" television show.
HBO, home of critically-acclaimed shows like polygamy drama "Big Love" and the "Entourage" comedy series, leads this year's pack with 99 nominations. Its made-for-TV movie "Grey Gardens" got 17 nominations alone.
The NBC satire "30 Rock" starring Tina Fey has a leading 22 nominations overall, followed by the 1960s advertising drama "Mad Men" on AMC with 16. Both shows and their stars were big winners last year.
Only 12.2 million viewers -- the lowest in the awards' history -- watched last year's televised ceremony.
(Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte and Paul Simao)