EXCLUSIVE: Writers on TV’s late-night comedy shows are still angry at the news that for the first time their category won’t be part of the Primetime Emmy telecast. Instead, as part of last year’s agreement between the TV Academy and Writers Guild, their category will be presented at the Creative Arts Awards the week before. Now those same scribes have been invited to write pre-taped bits for the shows nominated in the Best Variety, Music, or Comedy Series category. “Kinda insulting, no?” said one of the nominated writers approached for the gig.
A spokesman for the TV Academy explained: “While we are upholding our current agreement with the WGA, we still wanted to find a way to include the VMC writers in the telecast as it is always an entertaining part of the show. [So] the producers of this year’s telecast have reached out to the VMC Series writers to contribute to the nomination packages which are a highlight of the ceremony.”
In the past, when there was one writing for VMC series/special category, it was usually highlight of the ceremony. “It has always been one few moments during the Emmys to contain actual entertainment, because the writers come up with those funny pre-taped bits that roll while all those Jewish surnames are being read,” one writer said.
As part of the agreement last summer following the split of the variety music or comedy categories in two, series and specials, the far-less-prominent writing for a VMC special category will be presented at the Primetime Emmy ceremony, slated to air Aug. 29 on NBC.
In other Emmy news, the TV Academy also confirmed that the reality host category has been moved from the Primetime to the Creative Arts ceremony. “The Reality Host category was added two years ago, but was never required to be in the Primetime Show,” a spokesman for the TV Academy said. “Additionally, last year CBS allowed the show to run 5 minutes over which opened up more time in the broadcast. Since the Bob Hope Humanitarian Award will be presented for the first time in six years, along with the second play of the show on the West Coast beginning at 8pm, NBC wants to try to end the telecast on time; consequently, there was just no room for more awards.” The reality host change was first reported on Variety.com.