Archive for the ‘Television Academy Foundation’ Category

2012 TV Summit: Despite the Platforms, Audiences Matter

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

It’s no secret that people now have multiple platforms on which to consume media. From phones and tablets, to Roku and gaming consoles, the once-dominant TV set/broadcast audience is now splintered more than ever. What still remains elusive is how to effectively program for and market these platforms … while also winning audiences, turning a profit, remaining socially responsible, and building a brand. There are no easy answers to these questions, but as witnessed at the March 20, 2012 TV Summit, a daylong series of discussions and panels presented by The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation and Variety, business models are changing in the face of the current media landscape.

Some highlights/take-aways from the day:

1. Research still matters

Knowing who your key audience is and what their habits are remain crucial to driving viewership. TV Guide’s Christy Tanner revealed findings touting the benefits of interactive online forums: social media,’s programming Wishlists, and online check-ins have all proved enormously fruitful for the company. Hearing friends discuss TV shows on social media often compels a person to tune in, and 27% of TV Guide’s sample will watch live television specifically to avoid social media spoilers. Doing due diligence in order to discover ways to give viewers a sense of connection to shows and to other fans prove to be important factors in a successful campaign.

Audience testing is still pertinent, too. Although notes from audience testing can at times be frustrating, Parks and Recreation showrunner Mike Schur believes you can’t completely ignore them. Testing gives you direct feedback from the people who will watch your show. Parks and Rec and The Office (which Schur wrote for) didn’t test particularly well – The Office came across as “too gloomy” – but comments from viewers helped Office showrunner Greg Daniels make decisions that likely extended the life of the program. Daniels stayed true to the show’s dreary British roots, but ended each episode on an upswing, hoping that audiences would be drawn to Pam, Jim, and Michael and stick with the show.

2. Showrunners lament outdated methods and embrace creative freedom and new outlets

Though ratings continue to be critical metrics, Parks and Recreation’s Schur questioned the importance that’s still placed on overnight ratings. “We live by tenths of ratings points,” and the overnights don’t accurately reflect the web, mobile, and time-shifting audience that consumes media. Panelists in the Showrunners SuperSession also discussed the pros and cons of broadcast, basic, and pay cable networks, with Dallas‘ Cynthia Cidre stating that she’d often have two-hour meetings with CBS (she wrote for Cane), and now has five-minute meetings with TNT. Person of Interest’s Jonah Nolan extolled the virtues of online tools, seeing websites as a welcome home for content that gets cut from episodes.

3. Original web programming is on the rise and has distinct benefits over traditional broadcast programming

Original content for the web was a key topic of the day, with the upcoming “new fronts” serving as a discussion point. Digital programming will have an upfront season, just as television does, which Erin McPherson, VP & Head of Yahoo! Originals and Video Programming, sees as a cohesive way to sell content. Original digital programming allows for flexibility in program length, a quicker development period than broadcast, and a chance for those who have traditionally been aggregators (Yahoo!, Google) to create content of their own.

4. Social media provides opportunities to engage viewers and distribute more varied content

Panelist Scott Reich of VEVO praised using social media as a means to market content – a sentiment echoed in almost all of the day’s panels, but particularly in those addressing original programming and engagement. Suburgatory showrunner Emily Kapnek is a relative newbie to Twitter, but admitted that she’s now somewhat addicted to reading tweets about the show as it’s airing. If she encounters negative feedback, she has to fight the urge to have her husband tweet back and defend the show. USA’s Jessie Redniss lauded social platforms as a way to expand storytelling and diversify a network’s portfolio of syndication ports, while Trevor Doerksen of Mobovivo believes that social can satisfy what he sees as the fundamentals of engagement: 1. people crave communication 2. people crave information, and 3. kids want to play games. Social and second screens can fulfill each of these desires.

5. Keynote Presentation: Content is King

The industry may be at the very beginning of understanding how to effectively utilize social media and other platforms, but many at the Summit agreed that content is still king. Keynote speakers Dana Walden and Gary Newman, Co-Chairmen of Twentieth Century Fox Television, discussed how they endorse projects that make them excited creatively, and hire writers whose enthusiasm for shows becomes contagious. Walden believes “big bold ideas move well between distribution platforms,” and ideally wants an audience “to become a community.” She and Newman cited Arrested Development’s return (a revolutionary show with a dedicated fan base) via Netflix, a deal which came about by Netflix approaching CAA and pitching to distribute content that people feel they “have to have.” Netflix was referred to throughout the day as a frenemy – not necessarily as a competitor that could take the place of a network, but as a place that can extend the life of a program beyond broadcast or syndication.

6. It’s possible, but not always easy, to make content that matters

Thanks to fragmentation and a plethora of platforms, content can be tailored for niche groups. Socially responsible projects that may not traditionally be thought of as ratings successes will now often get developed, and may even become fan favorites.

In the panel showcasing the power of advocacy and social messages on TV, JD Roth, Executive Producer of The Biggest Loser, explained how he had to fight to get the weight-loss program on the air. A show about tackling obesity, a rather taboo subject eight years ago, was an extremely difficult sell. But Roth believes real stories of struggle that people can identify with strike a chord, and “the best TV shows are ones that show someone getting a piece of their lives back that they lost.” Alice Cahn of Cartoon Network expressed a similar sentiment, describing how moved network execs were by her pitch of the “Stop Bullying” campaign. People relate to heartfelt stories of suffering, and well-crafted, authentic TV shows and campaigns can have a positive impact on the real world.

Though the issues addressed at the Summit weren’t solved in one day, they were effectively parsed and prodded. Roth summed up his sentiments on socially responsible television by reminding us that “kids won’t listen to a word you say, but they watch everything you do.” It will be interesting to see what the landscape looks like when those kids are running the 2032 TV Summit.

- by Adrienne Faillace

Click here to watch the Archive of American Television interview clip reels shown at the 2012 TV Summit.

TV Builds Character: “America in Primetime” Premieres Sunday on PBS

Saturday, October 29th, 2011

Since its inception, television has served as a lens on American society, and in the expansive world of modern TV, today’s heroes and villains have come a long way from their predecessors. America in Primetime showcases this iconic American art form, which has both reflected and shaped our national character. The four-part series premieres Sundays, October 30 through November 20, 2011, 8:00-9:00 p.m. ET on PBS (check local listings). America in Primetime is a production of WETA Washington, D.C., and The Documentary Group, in association with the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation. Funding is provided by Dove, a Unilever brand; the Annenberg Foundation; the Corporation for Public Broadcasting; and PBS.

Sunday, October 30, 8:00 p.m. ET (check local listings)

Independent Woman reveals how women have transformed from model housewives to complex, and sometimes controversial, characters. Interviews include Roseanne Barr (Roseanne); Candice Bergen (Murphy Brown); Liz Brixius and Linda Wallem (Nurse Jackie); Felicity Huffman (Desperate Housewives); Robert and Michelle King and Julianna Margulies (The Good Wife); James L. Brooks and Mary Tyler Moore (The Mary Tyler Moore Show); and Shonda Rhimes and Sandra Oh (Grey’s Anatomy), among others.

Sunday, November 6, 8:00 p.m. ET (check local listings)

Man of the House showcases the evolution of men from the kings of their castles in classic family sitcoms to more intricate, conflicted figures in modern shows. Interviews include Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner (The Cosby Show); David Chase (The Sopranos); Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad); Ron Howard (The Andy Griffith Show); Carl Reiner and Dick Van Dyke (The Dick Van Dyke Show); and Phil Rosenthal and Patricia Heaton (Everybody Loves Raymond), among others.

Sunday, November 13, 8:00 p.m. ET (check local listings)

The Misfit rates the unique characters who defied comic stereotypes and societal expectations to reflect America’s diverse personalities. Interviews include Alec Baldwin (30 Rock); Diablo Cody (The United States of Tara); Greg Daniels and Rainn Wilson (The Office); Larry David (Curb Your Enthusiasm and Seinfeld); Paul Feig and Judd Apatow (Freaks and Geeks); Mitchell Hurwitz (Arrested Development); Mike Judge (Beavis an Butthead); and Garry Shandling (The Larry Sanders Show), among others.

Sunday, November 20, 8:00 p.m. ET (check local listings)

The Crusader delves into the increasingly grey area between right and wrong as television heroes confront internal demons while seeking their own forms of justice. Interviews include Alan Alda (M*A*S*H); Steven Bochco and David Milch (NYPD Blue); Chris Carter and Gillian Anderson (The X-Files); Bob Cochran and Joel Surnow (24); Michael C. Hall (Dexter); Shawn Ryan and Michael Chiklis (The Shield); and David Shore and Hugh Laurie (House), among others.

America in Primetime features more than 100 in-depth interviews with the creators, writers and actors who give life to the characters whom audiences have come to love and demonstrates how the finest television today has its foundation in the best television of yesterday.

Listen to NPR’s David Bianculli’s review of the series here.

October Archive Newsletter

Monday, October 18th, 2010

The latest Archive of American Television newsletter is out.  If you’d like to be on our mailing list, enter your information in the box on the right column of our homepage.

EMMYTVLEGENDS.ORG Wins Top Honors at 2010 Interactive Media Awards

Thursday, August 12th, 2010

EMMYTVLEGENDS.ORG IMC AwardThe TV Academy Foundation’s Archive of American Television website EMMYTVLEGENDS.ORG has won an Outstanding Achievement in Website Development Award from the Interactive Media Council’s  2010 Interactive Media Awards!

The honor, granted by the Interactive Media Awards, recognizes that the site met and surpassed the standards of excellence that comprise the web’s most professional work. The judging consisted of various criteria, including design, usability, innovation in technical features, standards compliance and content. In order to win this award level, the site had to meet strict guidelines in each area – an achievement only a fraction of sites in the IMA competition earn each year.

To view the online award, visit:

About the Interactive Media Awards
The Interactive Media Awards recognize the highest standards of excellence in website design and development and honor individuals and organizations for their outstanding achievement. Sponsored by the Interactive Media Council, Inc., a nonprofit organization of leading web designers, developers, programmers, advertisers and other web-related professionals, the competition seeks to elevate the standards of excellence on the Internet. For more information visit

Bid through August 1st: TV experiences, swag, and set-visits highlight auction to benefit the TV Academy Foundation

Friday, July 23rd, 2010

The auction’s live! Bid on unique television mementos, and support a great cause!

The Television Academy Foundation is offering an array of exclusive items and experiences to bidders through a special online charity auction hosted by eBay Giving Works. All proceeds benefit the Television Academy Foundation’s educational outreach programs — from seminars to scholarships — as well as yours truly, the Archive of American Television.

Auction items include:

Experience a table read for Family Guy
Red Carpet Bleacher seating for the 62nd Primetime® Emmy Arrivals
Visit the set of How I Met Your Mother
Unique signed props from popular primetime shows like Rescue Me and Saving Grace
Visit the set of Parks and Recreation with Aziz Ansari

62nd Primetime Emmy Noms Announced Today

Thursday, July 8th, 2010

With the 62nd Primetime Emmy Nominations, the Archive of American Television congratulates all of the nominees, including our interviewees:
Paris Barclay (comedy series direction, Glee)
Ken Burns (producer nonfiction series, National Parks: America’s Best Idea)
Kevin Clash (producer children’s nonfiction program, When Families Grieve)
Robert A. Dickinson (lighting direction, 82nd Annual Academy Awards)
Dick Ebersol (exec producer special class programs, Vancouver Olympics Opening Ceremony)
Sharon Gless (supporting actress drama series, Burn Notice)
Louis J. Horvitz (variety special direction, The Kennedy Center Honors)
Shirley Jones (guest actress drama series, The Cleaner)
Susan Lacy (exec producer nonfiction series, American Masters)
Christopher Lloyd (producer/writer comedy series, Modern Family)
Sheila Nevins (producer nonfiction special, Teddy: In His Own Words & exceptional merit filmmaking Sergio)
Tim Van Patten (miniseries direction, The Pacific)
Betty White (guest actress comedy series, Saturday Night Live)
Dick Wolf (producer nonfiction series, American Masters)

Special note: With 126 total series nominations, Saturday Night Live has now become the most-nominated series of all-time.

Watch the Emmy Awards Sunday, August 29 on NBC!

"Studio One" Celebrates Its 60th Anniversary

Friday, November 7th, 2008

Studio One, one of the first and most successful of the live dramatic anthologies of early television, celebrates its 60th anniversary today.

The first Studio One was a presentation of the McKnight Malmar suspenser “The Storm,” starring Margaret Sullavan and Dean Jagger (airing November 7, 1948). The show was produced and directed by Worthington C. Miner, who is credited as one of the most significant creative forces in American television’s early years.

During the Archive of American Television and Koch Entertainment’s panel discussion last night (to launch the debut of “The Archive of American Television Presents” DVD series) at the Television Academy, actress Gloria Stroock reiterated Miner’s contribution to both television and Studio One:

“The driving force, as I remember in Studio One, was Worthington Miner, whom we called ‘Tony’ Miner, all of us. Even though there were other directors and producers he was really the [main] force… It was a magical time. There was so much trust. I never read for anything. They just would call and say ‘are you available?’ and they’d say ‘we have something for you.’ And the parts were wonderful.”

In their review of “The Storm,” Variety gave the show an “A for effort” but admitted it was off to a rocky start. However, before long, the series ranked as the preeminent TV drama, particularly when it aired its eight production, an adaptation of “Julius Caesar,” starring William Post Jr. and directed by Paul Nickell. The New York Times‘ Jack Gould called it “spectacular television” and wrote in his review that CBS “has a real obligation to present a repeat performance” of the show… which they did with Studio One’s twelfth show, airing two months later. (Studio One wasn’t through with “Julius Caesar” though, and a third version was aired on August 1, 1955, starring Theodore Bikel– this presentation can be found on the new DVD.)

Studio One would feature some of the legendary stars of old– Paul Lukas, Franchot Tone, and Burgess Meredith, while providing a venue for some of the newest up-and-comers: Jack Lemmon, Sal Mineo, and Grace Kelly. Among the notable writers whose work was featured on Studio One included: Rod Serling (including “The Arena”), Gore Vidal (“Dark Possession”), Reginald Rose (“Twelve Angry Men”), and Arthur Hailey (“No Deadly Medicine”)

Studio One won the Emmy Award for Best Drama series in 1951, and the 1954 presentation of “Twelve Angry Men” won for director Franklin J. Schaffner, star Robert Cummings, and writer Reginald Rose.

Pictured left to right: Archive Director Karen Herman, Barbara Rush, Jack Klugman, Jayne Meadows, Gloria Stroock, Dick Van Patten, and Koch President Michael Rosenberg. At the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, November 6, 2008.

2008 Emmy Nominations Announced!

Thursday, July 17th, 2008

The 60th Annual Primetime and Creative Arts Emmy nominations were announced early this morning from The Academy in North Hollywood. We’re very happy to report that quite a few Archive Interviewees were among those honored!

Congratulations to James L. Brooks (“The Simpsons”) Ken Burns (“The War”), Roy Christopher (“80th Annual Academy Awards“), Diahann Carroll (“Grey’s Anatomy”), Tim Conway (“30 Rock”), Sally Field (“Brothers and Sisters”), John Moffitt (“Bill Maher: The Decider“), Phylicia Rashad (“Raisin in the Sun“), William Shatner (“Boston Legal“) and to the late George Carlin (“It’s Bad for Ya!“) and to all the other nominees!

To see the full list, go to the emmy website.

To see the complete list of archive interviews, click here.

George Carlin — Roy Christopher — Tim Conway

The TVLand Awards: A Sneak Preview!

Saturday, June 14th, 2008

Sunday marked the 6th Annual TV Land Awards, and the Archive was represented in full effect!

Archive staff attended the gala event, held in Santa Monica, which airs this Sunday June 15 on TvLand, one of our sponsor partners.

Many of our Archive Interviewees were honored, including a special tribute to producer Garry Marshall, and the Golden Girls’ Bea Arthur, Betty White, and Rue McClanahan!

Jonathan Winters (pictured here with Archive Digital Projects Manager Jenni Matz) was given the “Pioneer Award” by Robin Williams, and Mike Meyers was on-hand to receive a “Legacy of Laughter” award from Justin Timberlake.

The day began with a red carpet gala with special guests from Barry Williams to Cindy Williams. We spotted Get Smart’s original ‘Agent 99′, Barbara Feldon, Star Trek’s William Shatner, and ‘The Fonz’– Henry Winkler!

En route from the parking lot I bumped into Dick Van Dyke, who was gracious enough to thank ME for remembering HIM from his interview.

We can’t spill the beans on ALL the surprises the night brought, but be sure to tune in to see it all.

Online Auction to Benefit the Television Academy Foundation

Sunday, February 24th, 2008

Here’s your chance to own a unique television memento AND support a great cause — the Television Academy Foundation! Check out the auction items up for bid on the widget below (must see: the custom-made 24 guitar signed by Kiefer Sutherland himself):

These exclusive items and experiences are being offered through a special online charity auction hosted by eBay Giving Works. All proceeds benefit the educational outreach programs — from seminars to scholarships — of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation as well as the preservation efforts of yours truly, the Archive of American Television.

Reminder: The auction ends the afternoon of Thursday, February 28th.