Acad adjusts the fine print in process

The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences’ board of governors approved 18 new rule and procedure changes for the 56th annual Emmy Awards. While most fall into general housekeeping, a few are designed to open up the voting process.

  • This year, the reality/competition programs will face off in their own category, as opposed to being included with a wide variety of genres where each of the five nominees were judged on their own terms.

    “Last year, reality programming fell into a special class area, which was essentially an orphanage for programming that didn’t have a home in the competition,” says John Leverence, ATAS vice president, awards. “But this year we wanted to make it a real horse race and have reality shows compete head to head with only one winner.”

  • The number of votes allowed per program category on the nominating ballots has been increased from five to 10.

    “We wanted members to be able to vote for all of the programs they feel are deserving of a drama or comedy Emmy,” he says. “Our accountants tell us it’s a very tight voting race so we wanted to allow more shows to squeak through, which means our members could now vote for one or all three of a ‘Law & Order’ franchise, or their other favorite shows to give them a chance.”

  • The minimum number of episodes required for comedy and drama series eligibility has been upped from three to six; the number of episodes required from each series for submission to the blue-ribbon panels for final judging is has been trimmed from eight to six.

  • For the first time, the Television Academy will use an online voting system, for the interactive category only.

    However, for members who prefer to be emailed, ballots will be sent electronically but they will still need to use paper voting sheets, which must be returned to the accountants. To improve the rate of return, the deadlines have been changed from “must be received by” to “postmarked by.”

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