Pop Culture
Pop Culture: Articles for the Scripps Howard News Service & "Seen, Heard, Said"

Why the top-365-songs list isn't a stupid idea

Actors sink their teeth into vampire roles

Gregory Corso: My encounter with a Beat legend

Golden Globes: Sleazy and proud of it

In the offing, Clinton continent looms

"NYPD Blue" opener: The misery continues

 New movie genre: Reclusive authors anonymous

"West Wing," "Ally," et al.: Words, words, words

When TV shows outstay their welcome

Film critics dig their own graves with "Angels" review

Great Robert Altman films you never
heard of

Famous folk, next week in the arts, show business briefs

"Time regained": Proust in the multiplex

Glitterati is dead, long live Popfocus

Carl Barks: The man who put the ducks in Duckburg

"Almost Famous": Lester Bangs rises from the dead

Liz Hurley wins in war of words with Jane mag

Douglas poses with Zeta-Jones, and baby-makes three

Weddings that aren't: Douglas, Zeta-Jones, Madonna, Ritchie

The Emmy War: A half-century of coast-to-coast feuding

Jennifer Love Hewitt plays the Iglesias odds

It's raining books by and about Trumps

What's in a mane? Blond woman in the news

Liz Hurley denies dissing ex-beau

Rock Hall of Infamy: Anti-heroes from Elvis to Eminem

Barbra tix bankrupt fans

Laurels for Kathie Lee to rest on

Hillary "In bed" with De Niro, Cruise, Kidman

How "Sopranos," "West Wing" will divvy up awards

This just in: Donald Trump is not a dope

Walter Matthau: A rumpled old dog in the heart of the city

Sampras to take a stroke at wedding bells

Who wants to host "Monday Night Football"?

Queen rewards Tina Brown for demoralizing American readers

How the Korean War cane to TV land 20 years late

Ivanka Trump: From catwalk to commencement line

Lester Bangs: The troublesome punk who wouldn't die

Rags clash over Ted Turner "romance"

With straight face, Trump deems Marla's move "tacky"

"Friends" re-up for another season of top ratings, top money

Madonna in denial, and rightly so

"Suburbia": The continental subdivide

Howard Stern, Sly Stallone in bizarre, apocryphal triangle

Easter video viewing: "Spartacus" to "Harvey"

Billy’s in the news: Bob, Joel in love but not with other

"Charles's Angels" movie: Dispiriting news for old-time fans

Innovative career move for 'NYPD Blue' co-star

Top model: Why I gave oldish rocker husband the heave-ho

Unpleasantville: The awful truth about old-time TV families

Tina Brown held captive in desert by demanding children

Anybody's Oscar: Unusually suspenseful awards show looms

Oscar telecast: Looking for a few good hosts

"Lambs," "Beauty": Oscar's love affair with unacceptable behavior

Brad Pitt, Oscar to be in same room at same time

Letterman bites guest-host bullet: Andrew "Dice" Clay, call your agent

Seinfeld eyes East Hampton manse: Where's the welcome wagon?

"Mod Squad" Immortal dishes couple du jour

Brad Pitt's second thoughts about Oscar

Mike McCurry praises "West Wing": It's not entirely demeaning,,,"

Memo to "Hannibal" producers: Get Najimy while the getting's good

Don't Invite Gwyneth and Oscar to the same party

True or false: Douglas, Zeta-Jones don't even know each other

Ex-Clinton honcho linked to ex-"Cheers" costar

Third party cited in Trump-Knauss breakup

 Gossip queen goes to bat for Talk mag

20th century's No. 1 hit: "Satisfaction" hits the spot

Statement: Spice girl's marital problems insoluble

Charlie Brown, Pogo and me

From Howdy to Charlie Brown, we hate to say goodbye

The Beatle George: While his guitar gently weeps

Jodie Foster's people in mild tiff with CBS

A Peanuts trivia Q&A

Publicist: Boyle still joined at hip

There's video in your future and future in your video

"The future is now": Hit rewind

Whitney Houston presides over confluence of talent

Jim Carrey's flack earns A "D," Cher's A "B-minus"

Geraldo: bye-bye, doghouse

Michael Douglas does nothing much, reporters go wild

Ricky Martin on Menudo: Look back in anger

How to outsmart Halloween crowds at the video store

Tom Cruise puts himself in harm's way, only not really

1800-1900: Steaming towards revolution

1700-1800: Liberty, equality and bloodshed

1600-1700: The earth moves; North America is settled

Trump mulls travel plans, from altar to White House

"Faces of Impressionism" Time machine made of canvas, paint

Major quakes aren't personal unless they happen to you

Brad Pitt gracious about character assassination

Director insists Harrison Ford is not a brainless hulk

Costner, Willis, Douglas. Branagh, Sting_ in that order

Streisand: Color her ready to plug her new album

Julia and Benjamin's rings devoid of significance, flack says

Literary mud wrestling, featuring Geri and The Spice Girls

Urgent news: Ford to replace Gibson on "GMA" eventually

She married a monster from outer space

Never mind Godzilla VS. Mothra, Here's Trump VS. Cronkite

Spurned by Pitt, Redford pays court to Damon

Celebrity coyness is bustin' out all over

"Detroit Rock City": Kiss of death

Talk is cheap? Not with Tina Brown at the helm

The Beats: Remembered, Lionized and Unread

Real estate beat, starring Woody Allen and Donald Trump

Mood Music, or how we learned to stop worrying

Sex in the cinema: From "Last Tango" to "Eyes Wide Shut"

Two easy steps to looking exactly like Ricky Martin

Close encounters of the Muppet kind

Upcoming Brad Pitt movie not garbage, insiders say

Kathie Lee's eyewear excites Islanders' ire

Back to the future, continued

"Wild Wild West": Buck Rogers in the 19th century

Sculptures by Roy Lichtenstein: Fun, Fun, Fun

An expert's verdict:" Austin Powers" is pretty neat

Click here for pointless celebrity gossip

P. Dempsey Tabler of the jungle: The many faces of Tarzan

Kirk Douglas' Ex tells all about Errol Flynn fling

New twist in TV programming: Ax profitable shows

Private jet fees spell the end for another celebrity union

Killer serials: "Flash," "Buck" and a boy named George Lucas

Top nonfiction books: A message from two old men

Celebrity Dream dreams: Monica, Donald, Barbara, Georgette

Two divas, publicist form bizarre show-biz triangle

Johnny Cash tribute: Ring of fire, ring of friends

Streisand employee really upset about rumors

Grande Dame Eyes MGM Grand Gig

Secretive celebs? Not by a long shot

NBC honcho bristles at notion that Brokaw is not a saint

Barbara Walters not keen on daily dose of Monica

"Seen, Heard, Said"

David Letterman, Donald Trump, Eddie Murphy, Elton John

Madonna, Frank Sinatra, Prince Charles, Maj, Ronald Ferguson, Fergie, Miranda Richardson, Brad Pitt, Juliette Lewis, Axl Rose, Stephanie Seymour

September 5, 2000

The Emmy War: A half-century of coast-to-­coast feuding

By ROGER ANDERSON Scripps Howard News Service

As you watch the battle royal for this year's top Emmy awards between "The Sopranos" (an East Coast show) and "The West Wing" (a show filmed mainly in Hollywood, with some location stuff in Washington, D.C.), just remember that you're witnessing the latest round in an East Coast vs. West Coast conflict that goes back to the days when Harry Truman was president.

That's 1949, the first year the awards were given out (for shows broadcast in '48), by a fledgling, L.A.-based academy - a process that got righteously stuck in Ed Sullivan's craw.

Here Sullivan's program - "Toast of the Town," broadcast live from New York - was cutting the template for TV variety and turning Ed himself into a national icon, and he and the show couldn't even get nominated for a prize, let alone win one. That was because to qualify a show had to be not just broadcast but produced in Los Angeles County.

More than half a century later, the awards categories are bewilderingly divvied up between academy organizations based respectively in New York (awards for daytime, sports and news programming) and L.A. (prime-time awards).

If you think this sounds a bit silly, you're not alone.

"The fact that we have two organizations essentially bestowing the same awards is patently absurd," says TV industry veteran Thomas O'Neil, whose book, "The Emmys" (Perigee), offers a gripping account of the matter.

As with so many things, you could blame it all on the phone company. Back when the Emmys were taking wing, AT&T hadn't yet developed the technology that could instantaneously beam signals from one coast to another. Indeed, the "networks" that were then based in New York couldn't beam anything further west than St. Louis.

By the second year of the awards, in 1950, the requirements had loosened to the point where a show didn't have to be produced in L.A. - it merely had to be aired there.

In those days, if you were a New York TV producer and you wanted your show to air in L.A., here's what you did.

- You produced and broadcast your show live in New York.

- While it was airing, you stuck a camera in front of a TV monitor and captured the live program on film, producing what was known as a kinescope. (Remember, videotape hadn't been invented.)

When the show was over, you stuck the kinescope film on a red-eye flight to the West Coast.

- Perhaps as early as the next evening, your counterparts in L.A. put your kinescope program on the air.

Thus you had one Emmy category for Outstanding Live Personality (won in 1950 by vaudevillian Ed Wynn) and another for Outstanding Kinescope Personality (won by a 30-year-old Milton Berle).

Kinescope let the New York TV wizards in for a bit of Emmy play, but it didn't mollify Sullivan and his cohorts. By 1955, regional insurrection was afoot as the former sports columnist convened a “Committee of 50” - personages as weighty as Walter Cronkite, Fred Allen, Edward R. Morrow and Neil Simon - bent on hijacking the industry honors by means of a New York-based academy.

By the time this rebel faction had grown to 100 members, the plan was to create a whole new organization called the Academy of Radio and Television Arts and Sciences, which would hand out awards called the Michaels (as in radio and TV microphones, or "mikes").

The revolt fizzled, however, and the matter simmered for decades. Finally, in the mid-'70s, a slew of lawsuits went around, the upshot being the delineation of two separate academies: in L.A., the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (ATAS); In New York, the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS).

The coastal tug-of-war for dominance, for prestige and for air time was dramatized in a more or less amicable fashion from 1955 to 1971 by the airing of Emmy Award "simulcasts," whereby the proceedings switched back and forth between ceremonies In New York and L.A., with much attendant dead air and snafu-related confusion.

Maybe the strangest battle was fought after the 1958-59 awards, at which a special program titled "An Evening with Fred Astaire" won the prize for Outstanding Single Program of the Year. That was fine with everybody, but when Astaire also garnered an award for Best Single Performance by an Actor there was a hue and cry.

Ugliness flew as East Coasters, incensed that THEIR boy, Mickey Rooney, hadn't won for a teleplay he appeared in, publicly decried the award to Astaire, and Ed Sullivan even demanded that the Emmy ballots be impounded and recounted. Astaire, obviously embarrassed, tried to return the award, but the academy wouldn't let him.

These days, everyone is a bit more civilized, but still there's bad blood.

"Whenever the Daytime Emmys are announced," O'Neil observes, "everyone on the West Coast complains that too many New York shows got nominated."

When, one wonders, will this Balkanization of Emmy come to a long-overdue end?

O'Neil has a prediction: "When the people in power at both of the TV academies put aside their show-business-size egos and resolve this historic problem."

So don't hold your breath.

Roger Anderson is arts and entertainment editor at Scripps Howard News Service.

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