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TV Acad retains at-home voting

Decision comes after fresh faces win Emmys

It’s official: TV Academy members will once again cast votes from their own couches rather than the confines of a Beverly Hills hotel next year.

Hot off this month’s Emmy Awards, which utilized at-home voting for the first time, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences’ board of governors has permanently adopted the procedure for the Primetime Emmy categories.

Decision to proceed with the new voting method came after a bevy of fresh faces made it to the Emmy podium this year; the kudocast had long been criticized for honoring the same winners repeatedly.

Academy chairman-CEO Meryl Marshall Daniels announced the rule change Monday.

“Our primary goal was to expand the voting pool and create an opportunity for all qualified judges to participate in a way that was more convenient and allowed for greater participation by a larger cross-section of our members,” said Marshall Daniels. “I am delighted that our initial experiment with this revised approach worked better than anyone expected.”

Among those collecting their first trophy were James Gandolfini (“The Sopranos”), Patricia Heaton (“Everybody Loves Raymond”) as well as Mullally and Sean Hayes (both from “Will & Grace”). Both best series honorees — “The West Wing” and “Will & Grace” — were also first-time winners.

“The unanimous reaction, internally and externally, was that it worked. There was very little reason not to move ahead and adopt a plan for next year,” said ATAS prexy Jim Chabin.

As of now, no changes are planned to the mechanics of the at-home voting process — though Chabin isn’t ruling out some tweaks between now and next July, when voting for the 2001 Emmys will begin.

“There’s always room for improvement for any retooling that needs to be done,” he said. “But on the whole, I don’t see many changes. This year’s plans worked just right.”

Under the new rule, Academy members view series, acting, directing and writing nominees on homevideo. In the past, a blue ribbon panel of voters chose those category winners at the Beverly Hilton Hotel during a weekend in August.

(Josef Adalian contributed to this report.)

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