December 05, 2023
Academy

From the Chair

Frank Scherma, Chair

As my tenure as Television Academy chair comes to end, it is with humility and gratitude that I take this opportunity to reflect on the past five years. During that time, we have encountered unprecedented challenges and witnessed remarkable transformations in our industry.

As we embarked on this journey together, little did we know that the world would soon be grappling with the Covid-19 pandemic, a crisis that would touch every corner of our lives. For those of us who work in television, it marked a period of profound uncertainty and disruption, as production was halted, and we had to confront a new reality. I commend the resilience and creativity of our industry as we overcame these obstacles.

As we innovated and adapted in response to the pandemic, we continued to serve our members by providing resources, knowledge and support in the face of the unknown. The industry created new guidelines to ensure the safety of all involved in production, and the Academy played an important role in helping our members navigate this uncharted territory. While it was a challenging time, it also revealed the unwavering strength and solidarity of our community.

Faced with the task of reimagining the Emmy Awards ceremonies, we embraced change, creating a virtual presentation in 2020 and a live show with limited attendance in 2021, allowing us to continue to celebrate excellence in television without interruption. While we yearned for the traditional gathering, these unique experiences allowed us to connect with a global audience and showcased our industry's indomitable spirit — and it was a thrill to return to a full theater in 2022.

Our long-awaited 75th Emmy Awards celebration, originally scheduled for September of this year, was delayed by another significant challenge — the strikes by the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) as they negotiated new agreements with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP). It was wonderful news when the WGA strike came to an end in late September. Happily, in early November, shortly before this issue of emmy went to press, SAG-AFTRA also agreed to terms with the AMPTP.

With the labor issues resolved, the Creative Arts shows will go forward on Saturday and Sunday, January 6 and 7, with the Emmy Awards telecast airing live on Fox on Monday, January 15. And, of course, television and film production, which had stalled during the work stoppages, can now resume, allowing our colleagues in every facet of television to return to what they do best, creating world-class programming.

Indeed, among the high notes in our industry during my years as chair has been what I refer to as the Platinum Age of Television — the vast array of extraordinary programming that has expanded the possibilities for storytelling and given creators new avenues to share their art with the world.

A high note here at the Academy has been the strides we have made in the realm of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility (DEIA). To amplify our voice in this area, we forged a relationship with DEIA consulting firm ReadySet, whose expertise has been invaluable as we have actively worked to promote diversity both on and off-screen. Initiatives such as our semi-annual DEIA Summit have made a tangible impact, and we have celebrated underrepresented voices and perspectives, advocating for change in the industry to make it more inclusive for all. While there is still much work to be done, I am proud of the progress we have made to foster a more equitable and diverse television landscape.

Thank you for entrusting me to lead this organization. Through every challenge and opportunity, the Academy leadership and staff have remained steadfast in our commitment to our valued members, the industry at large and, of course, the art and science of television. I cannot thank all of them enough, as this journey would have been impossible without their dedication, resilience and passion, and I am excited to see where the next chapter of the Television Academy story will take us.

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