Twenty television bigwigs have come together to start up a brand new awards show as a rival to the annual Emmy Awards. But do we really need to replace TV's biggest night?
The Paley Center for Media is interested in getting a show up and running by 2012, according to reports. The planning committee is being chaired by Steve Mosko, president of Sony Pictures TV; Tony Vinciquerra, the CEO of Fox Networks Group; and Dick Lippin, chairman of the entertainment marketing firm the Lippin Group. That's some major muscle behind the initiative. Potentially the new ceremony would take place in New York in May during the annual "upfronts," when the networks show their fall schedules to potential advertisers.
The idea of a new awards show is said to be a reaction to the Emmys' habit of handing out statues to programs that appear on ABC, NBC, Fox, and CBS. The networks are pissed, it seems, that they aren't living in the old days when Ted Danson could win for 600 years in a row for his hilarious turn on Cheers. (It's hard to compete with the niche programming of cable and the swear words of HBO, apparently.) But the execs working on the new awards show are also tossing around the idea of letting viewers pick some of the winners. This is a bad idea.
First of all, the last thing we need are any more awards shows. Viewers aren't tuning into the ones we already have, and adding another televised spectacle of masturbatory congratulations isn't going to serve anyone but people who work in the television industry. And letting viewers pick is not the answer. Rewarding excellence should not be left up to the idiot masses. If that were the case, Two and a Half Men and CSI: Omaha would sweep every category. And Justin Bieber would probably get a special award for his Proactiv commercial. We already collectively ignore the stupid People's Choice Awards, so why would we pay attention to this new red carpet rodeo?
Maybe it's the networks' fault they aren't winning more Emmys. ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, and the CW don't even make original movies or miniseries anymore, so it's no wonder that HBO is practically guaranteed all those victories. As for dramas, the only hour-long programs that networks seem willing to make are cookie-cutter procedurals that are practically indistinguishable from one another. The networks are still tops in comedy and took home all but one of the Emmys last year (Showtime's United States of Tara netted Toni Collette a golden lady). If the networks want to see their names on the inside of some envelopes, maybe they should make some good movies or work on producing a drama with a bit of edge?
It's not like the Emmys are perfect. They still tend to give out nods to the same shows and performers year after year, but they're getting better. Without the Emmys, it's unlikely we would have been treated to the prolonged life of Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Damages, or, famously, Arrested Development, which, mind you, was a network sitcom. And while there is always room for improvement, it's hard to see how adding a competitor to the mix is the solution. It's just going to give us all one more awards show to complain about.