March 04, 2024
From the Chair

From the Chair: Beginning My Tenure

Cris Abrego, Chair

It's an honor to begin my service as chair of the Television Academy, especially with an event as momentous and memorable as the 75th Emmy Awards.

And after a tenure unlike that of any previous chair — during which he guided the Academy through the challenges of a pandemic and lengthy strikes by two of our industry's major guilds — it was wonderful to see my friend and predecessor, Frank Scherma, culminate his experience with a ceremony as spirited and celebratory as the one we all enjoyed on January 15. I am grateful to Frank for his contributions and wish him the very best as he closes this chapter of leadership and service to the Academy.

The 75th Emmy Awards benefited from exceptional talent onscreen and behind the scenes. Anthony Anderson was a fantastic host, and executive producers Jesse Collins, Dionne Harmon and Jeannae Rouzan-Clay of Jesse Collins Entertainment charmed audiences and critics alike with a procession of tributes to classic series from the past seven decades. From I Love Lucy — which aired from 1951 to 1957 — to Grey's Anatomy — which will launch its 20th season in March — it was a perfect throughline for the 75th Emmys and a reminder that, even in an on-demand world, no medium can match television's unique ability to create and reflect memorable and meaningful cultural moments.

Unfortunately, as we all read the following day in the trades and saw in the news, the ratings did not match the quality of the telecast. While there are certainly a number of factors that contributed, including an inevitable 16-week delay of the Awards, the significant decline in ratings calls for reflection and renewed perspective as we approach another Emmys telecast in September. Our service to our members and relevance within the industry are crucial, but so, too, is our relevance with the public, which drives their engagement with the medium. I look forward to working with our partners to ensure we are doing everything possible to capture as large an audience as possible in our yearly recognition of excellence within our industry.

Television has changed drastically in the 75 years since the first Emmys ceremony, and it's changing faster than ever today. The accelerated evolution can seem daunting, especially as significant contraction gives way to job loss and economic uncertainty, which deeply affects our membership body. In moments like this, it is incumbent on organizations such as the Academy to consider how the seismic shifts in the ecosystem create new opportunities for us to lead.

The next two years must be a time of evaluation and renewal for the Academy — for the prestige of our awards programs, for the impact on, and service to, our members, and for the cultivation of the next generation of television leaders. This is still the greatest creative industry in the world — what our members make, and how they make it, drives our local and global economies and has a deep and abiding impact on our culture. As television's leading professional membership organization — and the steward of its most respected symbol of excellence, the Emmy — the Academy must be at the forefront, helping to chart the future. I invite you to join us on this journey and look forward to where we will go together.

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