Criticized for its lack of diversity and a nominations list that annually makes it appear to be HBO’s personal ceremony, the CableAce Awards has instituted a series of rule changes and the restructuring of categories to foster a more comprehensive level of cable industry recognition.

The National Academy of Cable Programming’s annual awards fest — the 19th of which will be Nov. 14-15 — is increasing the number of awards categories from 82 to 89, modifying its scoring system and adding Chicago as a third judging site (joining Los Angeles and New York).

One of the key changes is the separating of movies/miniseries into different categories. A mini qualifies as “at least 150 minutes of programming in which there is a definite break between the conclusion of one part and the start of another.”

Too, documentaries will now be split into two genres: historical documentary special or series and documentary limited series. The change was necessitated by the large number of documentary entries and the increasing difficulty of judging entrants without some separation by genre.

The CableAces also will add categories for guest actor and actress in dramatic specials or series and plans to split off the educational/instructional special or series into separate categories.

Only a single category is being deleted under the new CableAce setup: direction of photography/lighting direction — comedy or music special or series.

This year’s CableAce nominees will be announced Sept. 23. The first “Call for Entries” mailing goes out May 30.

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