US TV networks in spat over Emmies telecast

LOS ANGELES:The US telecast rights for the prestigious Emmy Awards hang in the balance. 

The problem stems from the fact that the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences wants the four major broadcasters of American television to cough up more money which they are refusing to do.

According to a Reuters report, officials of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences have said that HBO had agreed to pay $10 million a year for exclusive rights to carry the Primetime Emmy Awards for the next five years.

If the deal gets the nod at a meeting of the Academy board of governors tonight, the organisation would get more than triple the $3 million paid to the Academy annually for the past four years under a licensing "wheel" by which the networks namely CBS, ABC, Fox and NBC took turns airing the Emmys. A network executive however indicated that an offer in the six to seven million dollar range could be considered.

So far, Academy officials have expressed dissatisfaction at the offer the networks put on the table and this could lead to a situation where the awards could shift to cable television. CBS has already threatened to withdraw support to the ATAS if the deal with HBO comes into effect. 

Another possibility, says the Reuters report, is that the four spurned broadcasters could organise an awards show of their own, excluding cable, if the Academy moved the Emmys to HBO. Networks could also refuse to submit nominations for the awards and insist that their stars not pay attention. However, both parties have stated that they want to avoid an ugly skirmish which could have a long term adverse effect on the industry.

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