Retiring COO Alan Perris was feted at a November 8 luncheon at the Television Academy's headquarters in the NoHo Arts District of Los Angeles. He officially steps down from his post as of December 31.
Perris joined the Television Academy in early 2006. As COO, he has overseen the day-to-day activities of the Academy and its foundation and their various long-term initiatives. In addition, he has managed the executives in charge of all key departments and support staff.
During his tenure, Perris worked alongside three Academy chairmen — Dick Askin, John Shaffner and Bruce Rosenblum — and two Foundation chairmen, Steve Mosko and Jerry Petry. Under his watch, the Academy expanded its Primetime Emmys competition to include broadband and digital content and increased its membership by some 30 percent, from 14,000 to more than 18,000.
Additionally, Perris oversaw the expansion of Emmy magazine from six to nine issues per year and helped restore the Hall of Fame ceremony to an annual event. He was also instrumental in new Academy initiatives, including the annual Television Academy Honors. And during a decade that saw an economic downturn, Perris fortified solid financial footing for the Television Academy while further establishing the Academy Foundation as a self-sufficient organization.
Perris began his television career at the local level and was running his first station, WJXT in Jacksonville, at 33. He subsequently served as president and general manager of local stations in Miami and held positions as president at two station group production companies, Post-Newsweek and Scripps-Howard.
He then segued into national television production, serving as senior vice-president of first-run programming at both Sony Pictures Television (Columbia Tri-Star) and Warner Bros. (Telepictures).
He is credited with developing such successful series as The Ricki Lake Show, Dragon Tales, Judge Mathis and Street Smarts and oversaw current production on shows such as EXTRA and Jenny Jones. He also served as senior vice-president of programming at Hallmark Channel.
In a thank-you message to the staff, Perris, who is known for his calm stewardship as well as his lively sense of humor, wrote:
“When I got home, I counted up the different jobs I have had in my career in television. The number was thirteen. And working at the Television Academy was the best one of all those thirteen. And that was due to you. So, thank you for the past seven-and-a-half years.”