Hayma “Screech” Washington, Co-Governor of the Producers Branch of the TV Academy, has been elected by the Board of Governors as the new Chairman and CEO, becoming the first African-American leader in the organization’s 70-year history. Washington, who will serve a two-year term starting Jan. 1, 2017, faced TV Academy Vice-Chair Kevin Hamburger in the election to succeed outgoing Chairman and CEO Bruce Rosenblum, termed out after serving five years in the role.
“This is a time of considerable change for our industry and I am deeply committed to ensuring that the Academy is at the forefront as we move towards a more inclusive future,” Washington said tonight.
The TV Academy kept with tradition this year, with both candidates coming from the board itself. Rosenblum became the first TV executive since 1997 to be elected Chairman of the TV Academy. He spent two two-year terms plus an year-long extension in the post to complete construction of the new Wolf Theatre and Saban Media Center on the Academy’s North Hollywood campus. Rosenblum, who has a strong business background, implemented a lot of changes and led the effort to make the Academy more relevant in a rapidly changing media landscape. Despite the success of his tenure, there were no outside candidates for the top job this time.
A Governor of the Producers Branch for the past five years, Washington previously served on the peer group committee for Non-Fiction TV. He is a former VP at Disney, is a seven time Emmy winner for his work on The Amazing Race, and spent last year producing the Travel Channel’s Celebrity Adventure Club. Currently he is developing several other reality and scripted documentary projects. He also serves on the National Board of the Producers Guild of America.
In an interview with Deadline’s Awards columnist Peter Hammond last month, Washington said that he was approached to run, thought about it and decided now is the time to do it, mentioning that his career has been full of “never-been-dones and unique jobs.”
The key goal in a Washington-run Academy would be to keep it relevant, he said. “We have to make sure we have our eye on all the emerging formats, both longform, and shortform, for which we just added categories this year, he said. As co-Chairman of the Academy’s diversity committee, he said it has to be a priority, as he notes it has been during Rosenblum’s term.
The incoming officers who will serve a two-year term beginning January 1, 2017 and running through December 31, 2018 are: Hayma “Screech” Washington, Chairman and CEO; Frank Scherma, Vice Chair; Steve Venezia, Second Vice Chair; Susan Nessanbaum-Goldberg, Secretary; Allison Binder, Treasurer; and, Mitch Waldow, Los Angeles Area Vice Chair.
Because of last year’s extended terms, there were more officers and board members being termed out than usual.