Discovery Times To Air News Emmys Next Year

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Cable networks have captured 11 of the 31 2003 News and Documentary Emmy Awards.

Next September, viewers will get a chance to see the next round of recipients pick up their statues during a recap of the 2004 ceremony.

Discovery Times Channel will showcase the News and Documentary Emmy Awards in 2004, three decades after the annual ceremony last received exposure on national television.

In a deal with the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, the Discovery Communications Inc. and New York Times Co.-owned service will televise the 25th anniversary edition of the Academy's venture under its current structure.

The last time these awards appeared on TV, CBS presented a live 90-minute Emmy telecast for the genre in 1973-74. It delivered tepid ratings and critical response.

Discovery Times will tape the ceremony next Sept. 13, then present a two-hour primetime special a week or two later.

"We're trying to program this for the viewers at home," Discovery Times senior vice president and general manager Vivian Schiller said. "We want them to know the wonderful work being done, by showing clips and celebrating what wins."

Financial terms were not disclosed.

Schiller attended last week's Documentary Emmy event in New York to get a sense of the surroundings and announce the 2004 agreement. Why not televise the 2003 show?

"The agreement came too late in the game to do it in 2003," Schiller added. "We didn't have enough time to produce and promote it properly. We're approaching this as a quality signature special for us, with solid production values and a name host."

NATAS and Discovery Times started talking four months ago. Schiller called the process "the smoothest ever," with her service and NATAS president Peter Price on the same track all the way.

Discovery Times claims more than 30 million households, up from 14 million last June when Schiller joined what was Discovery Civilization Channel.

Among the 2003 winners, Discovery Channel and MSNBC each took home three statues.

Discovery copped a research award for Kids Behind Bars
and awards for writing and title sequence design for Mortal Enemies, while MSNBC won for achievements in sound, music and lighting design for National Geographic Explorer.

The News With Brian Williams,
which moved from MSNBC to CNBC last summer, picked up its first Emmy for NBC News Tel Aviv correspondent Martin Fletcher's report on an emergency medical ward in Jerusalem.

Home Box Office, CNN, Sundance Channel and TLC also received one News/Documentary Emmy apiece.

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