Academy Committed to More Transparency, Consistency in Daytime Emmy® Awards

National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Committed to More Transparency, Consistency in Daytime Emmy® Awards

Read the Full Independent Report

NEW YORK (November 8) — On July 30, The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS) commissioned an independent review of the 45th Annual Daytime Emmy® Awards, and in particular, concerns raised by members of the Daytime television community regarding its policies and procedures.  

The law firm of Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth of Washington, DC, was engaged to conduct this investigation and report their findings and recommendations to the NATAS Board of Trustees.  The nature of their engagement was as neutral finders of fact, and not as advocates for or representatives of NATAS. Their work is now complete, having included a review of thousands of pages of documents and emails along with several days of interviews with NATAS staff and competition participants.

The resulting report was presented to the NATAS Board of Trustees on Friday, November 2.  It is thorough and fair. It levies criticism where criticism is due. And it rightly identifies many ways in which we must do better.

To that end, NATAS strongly supports and intends to substantially adopt the Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth recommendations.

Specifically:

    1. We will update and clarify our rulebooks. When we release the 2019 Daytime Emmys® “Call for Entries” on November 12, we will update several category criteria to eliminate opportunities for confusion. We will in particular update the requirements in the performer categories (which are at the heart of much of the concern we heard), and we will more specifically define terms such as “episode” where relevant.  Additionally, we will audit the guidelines for our other Emmy® competitions to similarly reduce confusion and differences across competitions.
    2. We will provide additional resources to the Daytime Emmys®. The 2018 Daytime Emmys® generated a record number of entries and tremendous growth in both in-hall and at-home audience, but we did not scale our operations commensurately.

      We will add at least one full-time and several part-time positions to our Daytime Emmy® Awards team. While all our staff contribute in meaningful ways to every part of the process, we will divide the leadership of this growing team such that — consistent with the report’s recommendations — the competition and show production will be led by different members of our senior executive team.

      Senior Vice President David Michaels will again serve as Executive Producer of the May ceremonies, focusing his energies to build on the success of the 2018 shows, but Executive Director Brent Stanton will take independent and separate responsibility for overseeing the competition.

      For processes with potentially adverse results, such as entry disqualification, there will be new and additional review steps — a “second pair of eyes” — and there will be new requirements for documentation. This will help ensure that decisions and guidance are consistent and metered out fairly, and that the handling of such events is appropriately documented.

    3. We will better articulate and make public our core policies and procedures. We will be tasking the Awards team with more specifically documenting and publishing:
          1. the procedures for reporting and investigating concerns about the awards competition, entries, nominees and winners;
          2. the guidelines and “checklist” for vetting and potentially disqualifying entries;
          3. the process and criteria by which we or our accountants select judges, break ties, and/or nullify judges’ ballots;
          4. internal rules and safeguards that ensure consistent application of our policies; and
          5. other matters as we identify.We will distribute these improved resources as they are completed in the coming months, and will provide coaching around and strict enforcement of these policies and procedures.

        We will distribute these improved resources as they are completed in the coming months, and will provide coaching around and strict enforcement of these policies and procedures.

    4. We will apply our rules consistently and transparently. We will no longer readily grant deadline extensions or other extraordinary exceptions to our rules. Any technical assistance or waiver we grant must be provided equally to all entrants in an affected category, if not the competition as a whole.  And any such assistance or waiver will be documented.

      Finally, at the end of the competition we will prepare a Transparency Report, providing a high-level summary of how our rules were employed and enforced over the course of the competition.
    5. We will seek to work more closely with the Television Academy. Recognizing that participants in the Daytime Emmy® competition may be more likely to be members of the Television Academy than of NATAS, we hope to better engage our sister Academy in our processes (as representatives of their members).  These efforts could include:
      1. More consciously prioritizing Television Academy membership as a criterion for judging participation;
      2. Requesting that the Television Academy reinstate sending emails to their membership encouraging participation as Daytime Emmy® judges;
      3. Inviting a representative of the Television Academy and its members to begin participating again in our Daytime Emmy® nomination cut-off calls; and
      4. Inviting a representative of the Television Academy to review questioned submissions, observe backstage operations, and/or be present for the application of statue bands at the Daytime Emmy® ceremony.

We appreciate that the missteps of this and of past years may have impacted some entrants’ confidence in the Daytime Emmy® Awards, and we are absolutely committed to earning back their trust.  We believe that through these and other improvements, we will once again meet the expectations all participants rightfully have of us.