An Emmy for your webisode?

Posted on July 17, 2006 
Filed Under Uncategorized

From the LATimes.com

The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences has changed its bylaws, making broadband programming eligible for its Emmy Awards beginning in 2007.

“The implications, in my mind, are pretty huge. We used to be the redheaded stepchildren, and now we’re a legitimate part of the business,” said Brian Seth Hurst, a member of the board who has led efforts to recognize “new” media programming at the academy.

Academy officials said this week that they haven’t worked out the details but that drama series, reality shows, sitcoms and other video programs designed specifically for websites may seek to compete in all 27 prime-time categories.

This summer AOL plans to launch “Gold Rush!” as a Web-only reality program produced by Burnett. It’s also signed an agreement with Ashton Kutcher’s production company, Katalyst Films Inc., to develop five programs, each with at least 20 “webisodes.”

MTV, Nickelodeon and Bravo have broadband channels for TV and Web-only shows. Broadcast networks, meanwhile, are experimenting with digital platforms show by show. ABC and Fox have made some prime-time shows available online, and NBC.com began airing a 10-webisode series of “The Office” Thursday.

The academy’s decision to elevate broadband television programming for prime-time Emmy eligibility was largely driven by the success of AOL’s broadcast of “Live 8” last year. More than 5 million people visited AOL Music to watch the fundraising rock concerts as they were broadcast from cities around the world on July 2, 2005.

Indeed, although the Television Academy is eager to bring the Internet into the Emmy community, it’s not quite ready to make room for YouTube entries.

“You’re not going to get user-generated content competing with network television programming,” Hurst said.

But he added, “If you developed a really compelling seven-minute piece that aired daily or once a week and had compelling characters and a good story, I’d say it might have a shot.”

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