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November 14, 2019

From the Chairman

Frank Scherma, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

In February, Television Academy officers and governors convened for a weekend of meetings to address topics of importance to our members, our organization and our industry, and to craft an agenda for the year ahead.

The discussions were lively and always productive, and I sincerely thank everyone who participated.

Naturally, we devoted a great deal of time to issues pertinent to the industry as a whole. In break-out sessions, we debated 10 topics — including, of course, the Emmy Awards.

We studied our competition on many levels, starting with a review of changes made over the past year, especially those affecting rules and procedures, the FYC program and the structure of the awards committee.

Openness to change is consistent with our history as an organization and the nature of our industry itself. Driven by technology, economic imperatives and cultural trends, our field has experienced perpetual change since the first broadcast signal crackled over the airwaves almost a hundred years ago.

At our retreat, we also discussed membership, including our accomplishments and goals. In terms of growth, we are pleased that our numbers have risen steadily over the years, and as our industry employs hundreds of thousands, there is clearly potential to expand even more.

But growth in itself is not enough. To ensure the relevance of — and respect for — the Emmy, we need to conduct consistent outreach, bringing colleagues with significant experience into our ranks. Just as essential: we must do a better job of increasing diversity.

Simply put, we must make our organization more reflective of the wider population. This, in turn, will help the industry as a whole move toward greater inclusiveness, while increasing opportunities at all professional levels for underrepresented groups.

The importance of diverse voices — both in front of and behind the camera — was driven home with passion at a recent Academy event, held in honor of Black History Month.

"Black History: Inspiring Stories on Television" drew a panel of African-American writers, producers, directors and performers whose work represents the full range of television — comedy, drama and documentary, seen on broadcast, cable and streaming.

Regardless of genre or platform, the panelists all expressed a sense of responsibility to present their history and culture with truth and integrity. As writer-producer Anthony Sparks is quoted in emmy's coverage, "Television is not just a place to make a living."

I couldn't agree more.

Frank Scherma

Chairman and CEO, Television Academy

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