Emmys Post-Mortem: Bruce Rosenblum Reflects

The new ATAS chair on the show’s ratings, surprises and what’s ahead

This year's Primetime Emmy
Awards brought plenty of predictable
winners (Modern Family,
The Amazing Race) but also offered up
some new faces, like Homeland’s victory
that kept Mad Men out of the record
books. In his first year as chairman of the
Academy of Television Arts & Sciences
(which puts on the Primetime Emmys),
Bruce Rosenblum, president, Warner
Bros. Television Group and office of the
president, Warner Bros. Entertainment,
spoke with B&C programming editor
Andrea Morabito about the ratings, the
surprises and sharing the stage with Ellen
DeGenres. An edited transcript follows.

Did you rehearse your bit with
Ellen beforehand?

No, we didn’t rehearse. Ellen is a trained
professional and I’m a complete civilian,
so before we walked on stage Ellen orchestrated
what she thought would be best for
both of us and strongly encouraged me to
read the Teleprompter and not laugh.

Did you have any idea what she
was going to do?

I knew a little bit of what she was planning
and the balance I found out on
stage, which was a lot of fun for all of us.

Were you nervous up there?

Naturally. It’s not what I do for a living,
so standing up in front of all of those
people was a bit uncomfortable and out
of character. But Ellen certainly made it
as comfortable as possible.

What was your reaction to the ratings?
They were up in total viewers
but down in the younger demo.

The Academy was thrilled. We were up
7% in total viewers, and I think that’s
a validation of what Don Mischer produced,
what Jimmy Kimmel was able to
host and all the promotional efforts provided
to the show by ABC. It was a great
team effort and I think the team at ABC,
and certainly the team at the Academy,
are happy with the results.

Were you surprised by any of the

I wouldn’t say I was surprised. I was
certainly encouraged by the number of
awards for first-year shows, and Homeland
in particular. For the Academy
membership to recognize the three of
the 12 nominated shows for comedy
and drama were first-year shows and
then to award one of those shows with
the Emmy for best drama is a great validation
of all the great creative work being
done around town.

What was your favorite part of the

It’s hard to say there was one favorite
part. But the one that stood out for me
was the opening tape that Jimmy did
down in the bathroom. I thought the
way he arranged to have all that talent
participate with him and the creativity
that he brought to it was terrific.

What needs to be better next year?

Not really my role. I know we’re looking
forward to working with Les [Moonves,
CBS Corp. CEO] Nina [Tassler, CBS Entertainment
president] to ! nd the right
producer, whether it’s Don or whomever
Les and Nina select, and the right
host for the show next year. It’s only
a few days after this show. Creatively
this show performed very well. Jimmy
and Don worked very hard to deliver a
creative, funny, engaging show that included
a lot of new talent. I think you
saw a meaningful number of new presenters
and different ways of presenting
the genres that were awarded. And kudos
go out to Don and Jimmy and their
team, as well as the team at ABC. This
will be a hard act to follow, but we look
forward to working with Les and Nina
and the team at CBS next year.

Did you read reviews of the show?

I will read them. I haven’t had time yet,
but I will. The real reviews are the fact
that we were up in total viewers. Although
I don’t have ! nal numbers, my
understanding is the online Backstage at
the Emmys numbers on ABC.com and
Emmys.com were up meaningfully from
year to year as well. So we’re starting to
engage viewers on multiple platforms
and bring the excitement of the Emmys
to our viewers in different ways. And
I’m sure we’ll continue to expand on
that as we work with CBS next year.

You oversee both primetime and
daytime TV at WBTVG. Has there
been any new talk about getting the
Academy of Television Arts & Sciences
and the National Academy of Television
Arts & Sciences, which puts on
the Daytime Emmys, together?

I’m new, I’ve only been here nine
months. I can tell you in those first nine
months, there hasn’t been a conversation.
I’m aware that there have been
conversations over the past decade
about doing that. And if at some point
in the future it makes sense, I’m sure we
will be able to figure out how to work,
whether it’s in partnership or more collaboratively,
with NATAS. But no conversations
have taken place in my first
nine months with the Academy.

Is that a specific goal of yours at
all, given your role?

It’s not on our agenda today. But if over
the next handful of years we find opportunities
to collaborate with them and
work more closely, it would make sense
for both of us to take advantage of those

Are you talking about any possible
rule changes for next year? Reality
producers have been making
noise for years about the lack of
categories for them given the large
amount of reality programming on
TV now.

It’s too early to be talking about next year;
we just came off of this year’s Emmys. We
had a material decision that we made this
year to include American Horror Story in
the miniseries category. That wasn’t a rule
change, that was just an interpretation of
a rule. If we look at new rules for next
year’s Emmys that will be several months
from now, so it’s a bit premature.

E-mail comments to
amorabito@nbmedia.com and follow
her on Twitter: @andreamorabito