Hollywood canceled Sunday night’s Emmy awards for the second time in one month.
And the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (ATAS), which gives the awards, and CBS, the Emmy telecast’s network, deserve credit.
Organizers postponed the original show slated for Sept. 16 after the Sept. 11 attacks on New York and Washington.
And they canceled the rescheduled, subdued ceremony for Oct. 7 due to U.S. and British raids on Afghanistan.
Jim Chabin, ATAS president, said it was inappropriate to stage an awards show while allied forces launched military strikes.
Likewise, it might have been inappropriate to play games for money, whether they involved fast cars or pigskin.
But the UAW-GM Quality 500 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway was merely delayed 10 minutes, apparently enough time for: a) President Bush to tell the American people bombing Afghanistan had begun; b) people to grasp that grave reality; and c) drivers to start their engines and get on with it.
Kickoff between the Arizona Cardinals and Philadelphia Eagles had to wait nine whole minutes so the Commander-in-Chief could deliver the news. Stadium officials at other NFL games chose not to inform fans of the attack.
“There’s a difference between carrying on and doing something that’s inappropriate,” Bryce Zabel, chairman-elect of ATAS, told the Los Angeles Times.
The impulse to carry on is admirable, and Americans will need it in the near and distant future. But Zabel is right not to confuse it with an appropriate response to war.
The we’ve-got-a-job-to-do line sports professionals used Sunday to excuse playing doesn’t wash. Emmy producers had a job to do also, and they chose not to do it–twice.
Let them choose not to do it at all this year. Fifty years from now, when folks log on for a list of Emmy winners, let them see a dash for 2001. Let them wonder why, and then remember Sept. 11 and Oct. 7.
At press time, Emmy producers had yet to decide the fate of this year’s awards show. It will likely materialize at some point, as it always has in its 53-year run.
But don’t take a shot at Hollywood now. When America fought back, TV sat back and decided the show did not have to go on.
Professional sports, on the other hand, barely batted an eye.
Cliff Vaughn is BCE’s associate director.