November 14, 2019

From the Chairman

Frank Scherma, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

When I woke up on the Monday after the Emmys telecast, I was still euphoric, thinking about all of our Emmy shows this season and how entertaining they were.

This year we had to figure out how to present the Emmys in ways like never before.

For the Creative Arts Awards, that meant five nights of shows — four streaming and one broadcast — and for the September 20 telecast, it meant launching a global production on an unprecedented scale. Remote transmission across even a short distance requires careful planning, so the prospect of managing more than 130 live feeds across continents on Emmy night was fraught with risk.

As the unflappable Jimmy Kimmel quipped at the start of his three-hour live gig on ABC, “What could possibly go right?” A lot, as it turned out.

In fact, if the logistical demands of the 72nd Emmys were the broadcasting equivalent of a high-wire act, the production crew at L.A.’s Staples Center was staffed by high-tech Wallendas, seamlessly switching to New York, London, Berlin, Tel Aviv, Melbourne and some twenty other international locales.

This worldwide screen-swapping was an apt metaphor for television itself, which brings people together like no other medium can. From the earliest planning stages, ABC and Jimmy — with his fellow executive producers, Guy Carrington, Reginald Hudlin, David Jammy and Ian Stewart — were committed to upholding the Emmys’ mission of honoring excellence.

But they were equally determined to keep the focus on our current historical moment, in which we’re witnessing a public health crisis and a reckoning with racial bias and social injustice.

I was thrilled by the choice of Tyler Perry for this year’s Governors Award. With all that he has done to entertain, to educate and to extend a hand wherever it’s needed, it is no surprise that the Academy’s board of governors unanimously approved his selection.

In his very poignant remarks from the stage, Tyler described a long-ago gift from his grandmother — a quilt she had made — and likened each of our lives to a similar patchwork representing our memories and experiences.

I also can’t stop thinking about the show’s presenters. Of course, we’re used to seeing our favorite stars announce nominees and winners on Emmy night. This year it was our privilege to engage a group of real-life stars — some of our country’s selfless essential workers, who keep us healthy, keep us safe and keep us fed.

Keeping our nation fed — especially our children — is one concern that is not being addressed enough during our Covid-19 crisis. It is estimated that one in four children in the U.S. could face hunger this year because of the pandemic. To reverse this heartbreaking trend, the television community joined forces with No Kid Hungry, an organization dedicated to ensuring that no child misses another meal.

All of our Emmy-nominated broadcast and streaming partners committed to donating $100,000 for each win logged during the telecast. On top of this sum, the Television Academy pledged an additional $500,000. As a result, No Kid Hungry will receive $2.8 million to provide nutritious food to needy children.

For more information about No Kid Hungry and ways to help, please visit Opportunities such as this remind us of our interdependence and the importance of coming together — especially when we have had to spend so much time apart.

Here, too, television has a role. With its power to entertain, inform and connect, television can open us up to new worlds, new voices and new perspectives. At this time of societal division, the ability of television to unify is surely its most valuable asset of all.

We hope you enjoyed this year’s five Creative Arts Emmys shows and the 72nd Emmys telecast as much as we enjoyed bringing them to you. On behalf of the entire Television Academy family, I thank everyone who devoted their time, energy and talent to making a uniquely challenging Emmy year one of the most memorable and fulfilling ever. Time to start thinking about 2021…

Frank Scherma

Chairman and CEO, Television Academy

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