(ASSOCIATED PRESS) _ A veteran producer is the newly elected chief executive of the Television Academy and the first African-American to hold the post in the organization’s 70 years.
The academy said Thursday its board of governors elected Hayma “Screech” Washington as chairman and CEO. Washington, an award-winning producer, has served as co-governor of the producers’ branch of the academy.
A former Walt Disney Co. executive, he’s worked on programs 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.
Washington’s two-year tenure begins Jan. 1. 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 organization that has been seen as more inclusive in its honors, 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