You'd never have guessed it from the gala Emmy ceremony on Fox TV last night, but there's an ``Emmy war'' going on. Although the shouting had died down long before yesterday's 39th Emmy Awards ceremony got under way at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium, a quiet tug of war between the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (ATAS) and the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS) continues unabated.
In 1977, after many years of dissension between the East and West Coast branches, the Los Angeles chapter broke away from the national organization, forming the Hollywood-based ATAS. Since that time there have been some bitter lawsuits over the break, and today the principals are loath to discuss the details of the conflict. But it seems that there was a difference in philosophy about the growth of the organization. As the national membership grew, individual chapters such as the L.A. chapter felt their influence waning. So that chapter became autonomous.
After some negotiation and court intervention, a compromise agreement was reached in which the ATAS took charge of the Prime-Time Emmy Awards, and the NATAS took control of the Daytime, News & Documentaries, Sports, and Community-Service Emmys.
(The Daytime Emmy Awards were last presented June 30.)
Both organizations are now cooperating in day-to-day activities, and there have been meetings explore the possibility of reunification. Meanwhile, most television viewers are unaware of the split.
Monitor coverage of the Emmy winners will appear in tomorrow's issue.