The Primetime Emmy Awards, sponsored by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, honors the best in primetime television every year. On average, 20 million people watch the awards show, which brings together all the stars of television in a glamorous setting while celebrating the ingenuity of TV.
Now, the average TV watcher who enjoys the Emmys may be denied the chance to revel in 4 1/2 hours of celebration. HBO, the pay cable channel that has swept the awards in past years, is bidding to televise the show.
ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC have rotated the honor of the telecast in the past decade, and to move the broadcast to HBO would be a slap in the face for the networks, as well as a major revenue loss for the big four. Also, HBO has figured heavily in the past years due to such powerhouse shows as Six Feet Under, The Sopranos and Sex and the City, and the showing of the telecast could be seen as a conflict of interest.
It has often been considered by viewers and industry insiders alike that the consideration of HBO shows is unfair to regular network staples. HBO can present shows without interruption and censure-free, allowing content and boundaries to be pushed to the limit, something the regular networks cannot do without the threat of FCC regulations and fines. Also, a majority of the TV viewing public does not get HBO and has never the seen the shows that often win the biggest awards.
While it has been speculated that, should HBO broadcast the awards, it will unscramble its signal in order to let other cable stations, such as TNT and TBS carry it, this would still exclude 15 percent of U.S. households who do not have cable or satellite TV.
The Emmys should stay on one of the major networks. The exposure is better for HBO, and it’s more fair to millions of American TV viewers who faithfully tune into ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC every night to catch up on their favorite shows.