TV Academy panelists can vote from home

The TV Academy’s blue ribbon panel in charge of picking comedy and drama thesp nominees has been given a reprieve: It can now make those picks at home.

Decision to move the actor/actress nomination vote from the Academy’s headquarters to the panelists’ homes was one of several moves made last week by the org’s board of governors.

The original intent was to have all the (nomination) voting at the academy, said Academy of TV Arts and Sciences rules topper John Leverence. “But we decided to make it more user-friendly.” Leverence noted that the pool of eligible blue ribbon judges is smaller this year, as thesps will now only be judged by other thesps (casting directors and helmers are no longer allowed to vote on actor/actress noms).

Also, this year’s voting will take place during the Independence Day holiday, further limiting who might be willing to spend a day at the Acad watching tapes of nomination finalists.

In the Emmy race, the entire voting body is allowed to pick its 10 faves in each category. Then, the 10 top vote getters are sent to a blue ribbon panel, which whittles it down to five.

This year, as previously announced, the TV Acad will split the final nominations 50/50 between that initial all-Acad vote with the final blue ribbon vote (Daily Variety, March 15).

In another change announced last week, the Acad will consider the 11th top vote-getter (and, in turn, the sixth top vote-getter in the final noms) if they’re within 2% of the 10th and 5th vote-getter, respectively.

That’s because those shows are considered within range to be viewed as a statistical tie — and deserve to still be on the ballot, Leverence said.

Last month, the Academy also began asking Emmy contenders to explain their work in 250 words or less (Daily Variety, March 15).

But now, in an alteration to that rule, performers now won’t be required to submit those essays as part of the final nomination process, as originally announced. Now, the essay is optional (and will likely be used by performers whose character went through a complicated storyline).

Series producers whose shows are up for the five final nomination slots will still be required to submit an explanation of their show’s storyline.

One more change: Supporting and guest drama and comedy thesps will be asked to submit tapes that are edited down to only (and all of) their appearances in a single episode.

“The Academy thought there should be a concentration on performance,” Leverence said.

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