Academy modifies rule for ABC series

The 2½-hour finale of “Lost” is now eligible for the Emmys.

The board of governors at the Academy of Television Arts & Sci ences amended a rule Wednesday night that an episode of any series that runs more than double in length of an ordinary episode is not eligible for consid er ation. “Lost” usually runs an hour, but in order to allow exec producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse to fully flesh out the story of what happens to the island’s inhabitants, ABC approved 150 minutes for the finale.

Move to lengthen the episode’s running time was also self-serving for the Alphabet as it attempts to dominate the night’s ratings and cash in on additional high-priced commercial time. A special two-hour “Lost” clip show will air from 7-9 p.m., while the finale won’t end until 11:30. At that point, latenight host Jimmy Kimmel — a huge fan of the drama — will invite a handful of cast and crew to discuss what just transpired.

Inclusion of the finale allows individuals to be considered in categories such as helmer, writer and actor.

Also, in another rule change, the Academy has allowed episodes aired after the June 1-May 31 eligibility period to be eligible as long as the segment airs on the Internet before its telecast by June 21.

Starz applied for an exemption and asked the Academy to amend the rule because the final episode of comedy series “Party Down” was scheduled to air June 25 — more than three weeks past the deadline — but the net wanted attention for guest star Jane Lynch. The series itself was already eligible because more than half the episodes aired before May 31.

With the new “hanging episodes” rule, Starz will now schedule a time to webcast the episode. The voting period for the primetime Emmys ends June 21.

In a final Emmy change, makeup achievements in nonfiction programming will now be eligible in the makeup for a single-camera series category; likewise hair achievements in nonfiction programs will now be eligible in the hair for a single-camera series category. Both categories’ previous rules limited eligibility to makeup or hair achievements in a single episode of a drama or comedy series.

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