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EXCLUSIVE: NBC Looking to Scrap Emmys Tape Delay - Broadcasting & Cable

EXCLUSIVE: NBC Looking to Scrap Emmys Tape Delay

Move follows network's first coast-to-coast live Golden Globes telecast last month
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CORRECTED MARCH 4, 2010
In what would be a first for the Emmys telecast in decades, NBC
executives are seriously considering a plan to offer the 62nd Annual Primetime
Emmy Awards live across the country when the network broadcasts the ceremony
Aug. 29.

NBC just broke the same ground with the Golden Globes on
Jan. 17, when it broadcast the 67th annual awards show live coast-to-coast. For years, the Globes have aired live on stations in the
Eastern Standard and Central time zones but have been telecast on a
tape-delayed basis in the Western time zones representing some 22% of the
country. In January, all NBC affiliates aired the Globes live, with stations in
the Pacific time zone airing the kudofest live from 5-8. Eight Western
affiliates also re-broadcast the Globes in primetime.

According to sources, NBC is in the process of discussing a
similar live Emmys scenario with affiliates. Spokespeople for NBC and the
Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, which administers the top TV awards,
declined to comment.

The move toward real-time award shows comes as the use of
Twitter, Facebook and mobile news applications makes winners widely public by
the time tape-delayed TV telecasts air in the West, undermining the suspense for
viewers who watch them hours after they take place.

It could be argued that the live move with the Globes paid off
for NBC. Ratings for the Globes this year were up markedly compared to last
year's telecast. The three-hour Sunday night show was up 12% over last year in
adults 18-49 (5.5 rating), and up 14% in total viewers (17.0 million viewers).
It was the network's biggest viewership (excluding sports) in the slot in six
years.

Still, the Grammys on CBS Jan. 31 were tape-delayed in the
West and were also up in ratings--even more so than the Globes. The
three-and-a-half hour Grammys drew the biggest average audience for that
kudofest since 2004, jumping 32% over last year in adults 18-49 to a 9.8 rating
and up 35% among total viewers, to an average 25.8 million. The premiere music
awards show, however, is different from the Emmys and the film industry's
Oscars because it is packed with performances and features far fewer awards
over a longer stretch of primetime.

And just as the Twitterfication of award-winner info can be
used as an argument for live telecasts of Oscars and Emmys, it could also be
argued that new media is a factor for driving the Grammys as well, as word on
the Web spreads about must-see performances like singer Pink's suspended,
nearly-naked routine this year. Plus, HUT levels are higher in prime, so there are more people to watch at that time.

The Oscars, which ABC has long broadcast live across the
country, are again scheduled to be live nationwide on that network March 7.

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