Televison Academy gets first black CEO


November 19, 2016
Television Academy via AP This undated photo provided by courtesy of the Television Academy shows Hayma "Screech" Washington. The veteran producer is the newly elected chief executive of the Television Academy


The Television Academy has its first African-American chief executive in the organisation's 70 years.

The academy said on Thursday that its board of governors elected Hayma 'Screech' Washington as chairman and CEO. Washington is an award-winning producer and has served as co-governor of the producers' branch of the academy. A former Walt Disney executive, he has worked on programmes including sports, awards, and music shows and won seven Emmys as an executive producer for 'The Amazing Race'. He produces and directs through his own company.

harsh criticism

Washington's two-year tenure begins on January 1, 2017. He succeeds outgoing chief executive Bruce Rosenblum, who hit a term-limits ceiling after five years heading the group that presents the prime-time Emmy Awards. In 2013, Cheryl Boone Isaacs became the first African-American head of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The movie academy has faced harsh criticism over the lack of minorities among Oscar nominees, with efforts made to diversify the academy's membership.

Washington takes over an organisation that has been seen as more inclusive in its honours, with 2016 winners including Rami Malek, Courtney B. Vance, and Regina King. Television itself is rapidly transforming as it expands to include streaming platforms as well as broadcast and cable.

"This is a time of considerable change for our industry and I am deeply committed to ensuring that the academy is at the forefront as we move towards a more inclusive future," Washington said in a statement.