Over 100 current TV writers and showrunners are protesting the decision to remove two writing categories from the televised portion of this year’s Emmy Awards, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Writing for a Dramatic Series and Writing for a Movie/Miniseries are two of the eight previously broadcast categories that will be time-shifted out of the program in an attempt to cut 15 minutes from the three-hour telecast, the TV Academy announced Thursday. Although the shifted categories were split evenly among mediums, the writers are complaining that they only received four (out of 28) awards to begin with, and that coming on the heels of last year’s strike, this sends the wrong message.
The writers’ full protest letter:
We, the undersigned showrunners and executive producers of television’s current line-up of programs, oppose the Academy of Television Arts and Science’s decision to remove writing awards from the live telecast. This decision conveys a fundamental understatement of the importance of writers in the creation of television programming and a symbolic attack on the primacy of writing in our industry. We implore ATAS to restore these awards to their rightful place in the live telecast of the 2009 Emmy Awards.
The Writers Guild of America has also released the following:
This action of the board of governors is a clear violation of a longstanding agreement the Writers Guilds have with the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences regarding their awards telecast. It is also a serious demotion for writing and a fundamental misunderstanding of the importance of writers in the creation of television programs. Last year’s Emmys suffered a tremendous decline in quality and ratings because of a lack of scripted material. That the Academy would then decide to devalue the primary and seminal role that writing plays in television is ridiculous and self-defeating.
At this morning’s TCA executive panel, CBS entertainment president Nina Tassler responded, “I don’t think we’re being unfair to the creative community. I think coming out of the telecast last year everybody knew we had to make a change and change is not easy. Even with the time shift, which is done in a very respectful way, it will have no impact on the integrity of the program. If ratings are up, more people are going to be watching the shows.”