After months of rumors, Academy of Television Arts & Sciences President and COO Todd Leavitt has resigned from his post overseeing ATAS and its foundation, and will leave as the senior staff executive by the end of the year.
Leavitt, who was nearing the end of his three-year contract in October, waited until after Sunday’s Primetime Emmy Awards ceremony to announce his departure, expressing a desire to return to the commercial sector of the television industry and pursue entrepreneurial opportunities in areas of emerging media technologies.
He will stay on for the next few months to assist ATAS with the transition, including an upcoming retreat for the group’s leaders in October. ATAS will form a search committee to find a new executive to run the organization.
In a farewell letter to members, Leavitt described his tenure as never “dull nor without both its challenges and rewards.”
Leavitt was involved in the Academy’s multi-network "wheel" arrangement for the telecast of the Primetime Emmys, which increased license fees from the broadcast networks. He also negotiated the Red Carpet license agreements with E! Entertainment and TV Guide Channel, resulting in expanded Creative Arts Emmy coverage.
Additionally, he boosted marketing efforts, expanding senior staff and supervising the international re-launch of the telecast in more than 150 territories. He also developed the concept of a global production themed edition of emmy magazine last December. The publication was used as a lobbying tool in California to assist in recent efforts to create a state production incentive.
Overseeing the Academy’s Foundation, Leavitt brought on the first executive director and launched new initiatives, including a joint venture with Random House/Princeton Review to publish a comprehensive resource guide to television, film and digital media studies in the U.S. (due to be published in October 2006).
Leavitt also conceived of the “Living Television” national joint venture with universities and local Emmy chapters to create visual history archives in key television markets, modeled after the Academy's own Archive of American Television.
Prior to running the Academy, Leavitt was managing director of Tulip Media Ltd., a feature film and television packaging boutique, served as Chairman of Alliance Television and executive VP of NBC Studios.