Guild has no plans to change eligibility for film entries

The Writers Guild of America has shifted the eligibility period for its TV awards from Sept. 1 to Nov. 30, opening up those kudos to shows launched in the fall season.

The WGA West board and the WGA East council approved the move this week, meaning the 2003 awards will cover the 15-month period from September 2001 through November 2002 before transitioning to a 12-month November-to-November period.

The guild will also make the same change for its radio awards but has no plan to change the calendar year eligibility cycle for film.

“By changing the Writers Guild Awards period of eligibility for television and radio entries, the new dates will conform more accurately with the yearly television season,” said Michael Winship, awards committee chair for the WGA East. “We believe this will enhance the significance of an already prestigious writing honor.”

Although the WGA’s film awards for original and adapted screenplays receive the most attention, the guild also presents 13 TV trophies and three radio nods. The initiative to change the eligibility period resulted partly from instances of WGA awards being presented to series that had been off the air for more than six months.

The WGA has not yet set its 2003 awards schedule but typically holds its awards show during the first weekend of March, with simultaneous ceremonies in Beverly Hills and New York.

Its execs have indicated they are also planning to move the ceremony into an earlier slot in 2004, based on plans by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences to move the Oscar ceremonies forward to Feb. 29 that year.

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