Emmys drop general variety award

Series, specials to receive separate categories

Stephen Colbert will have one less foe to rail against this fall.

The Academy of TV Arts and Sciences has eliminated its Emmy award for outstanding variety or music program performance.

Instead, TV hosts like Colbert and Stewart will instead be submitted along side producers and creators in the variety/music/comedy series competish, while one-time performers will be submitted with producers in the variety/music/comedy specials category.

That means series hosts and specials performers will no longer compete against each other – which led to unusual face-offs between the likes of Colbert vs. Barry Manilow. Since the performers were merged into the same category in1997, the winner has always been from a special, rather than series – which wound up being an unfair comparison.

Don Rickles won the award in 2008 for “Mr. Warmth: The Don Rickles Project.”

The new rule may wind up giving performers once less opportunity to pick up a trophy, since they’re frequently already eligible for an outstanding series or special Emmy as a producer.

Meanwhile, the Acad announced other tweaks to its rules in time for the 61st Primetime Emmys:

  • Outstanding voice-over performance for animated series is now a bonafide, competitive category.

  • In a one-year test, outstanding children’s programming has been split into two: One for informational/nonfiction fare, and the other for entertainment entries.

  • In another one-year experiment, rather than be a competitive award, the art direction Emmys will be divided into multi- and single-camera categories – and will now be non-competitive area awards (in which one, more than one or no winners may be awarded).

The changes come following this year’s other major alteration, in which the org has expanded its top series and performer categories to six noms each.

The Acad plans to post the rule changes on its website Friday; entries must be submitted online by April 24.

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