The Television Academy is pondering Emmy Awards campaign contingency plans in the event that concern over the spread of coronavirus escalates.
For now, For Your Consideration events are taking place without incident. But in an email sent to network and studio partners on Wednesday night, the org said it is “exploring options for the FYC season should the situation worsen, such as live-streaming and/or taped-only panels with no audience.”
In the note, the Academy asked members to comment on whether such alternatives to in-person gatherings “is something you might be interested in. … Additionally, these events could be affected by recommendations and/or protocols provided by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the L.A. Department of Health.”
Variety reached out to several network and studio execs tasked with handling FYC events, and so far those contacted said they’re monitoring the situation — but haven’t yet altered their FYC plans. For now, they said they’ve been focused on more pressing events, including SXSW in Austin. As of Thursday, WarnerMedia had dropped out of the event, following the exits of other companies including Netflix, Apple, Amazon Studios, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, Mashable and Intel.
“Most FYC events are still one to three months in the future, so people are kicking that can down the road,” one exec said.
It could become an issue soon, however, as outlets like Netflix and Amazon ponder what to do with their major month-long pop-up FYC events spaces — expensive affairs that involve catering, talent relations, and the ability to shift in and out hundreds of audience members each night. Other outlets also throw more limited experiential events — and most of those locations have to be booked months in advance (not to mention travel logistics for talent and more). FYC dates are already locked in for networks and studios, following the TV Academy’s FYC lottery in January.
This year’s Emmy FYC calendar kicked off on Feb. 29 in New York with a joint panel for Warner Bros. TV’s “Prodigal Son” (Fox) and “Castle Rock” (Hulu). Upcoming events include panels on March 6 for HBO’s “The Plot Against America” (in New York) and “Westworld” (in Los Angeles). Netflix will hold an FYC screening and panel for “Lost in Space” on March 8, “Tiger King” on March 15 and ” Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker” on March 17, all at its Los Angeles offices, while Discovery’s “Serengeti” will be screened at a New York FYC event on March 16.
Here’s the full text of the TV Academy email:
As you may be aware, we sent the following notice to our members yesterday:
The health and safety of our members is incredibly important to us, and we are closely monitoring health concerns surrounding COVID-19 (AKA coronavirus). As an initial step, we have placed hand sanitizer stations throughout our campus for visitors, staff and members to use while on our property. Though there are currently no proposed changes to FYC and Member Events, we will continue to review recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the LA Department of Health and update plans accordingly. If you have any additional questions, you may contact our customer service team here.
Clearly, should concerns continue to escalate around the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), there may be an impact on both audience and talent participation at Television Academy FYC and Member Events.
Additionally, these events could be affected by recommendations and/or protocols provided by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the LA Department of Health.
We will continue to monitor the situation and keep you apprised of any proposed changes. We are also exploring options for the FYC season should the situation worsen, such as live-streaming and/or taped-only panels with no audience. Please let us know if this is something you might be interested in.
We thank you again for your partnership, and we’ll remain in contact with you in the coming days and weeks ahead.
The Television Academy
[Pictured: An audience at the Television Academy’s Wolf Theatre at its North Hollywood headquarters.]
(Jazz Tangcay contributed to this report.)
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