The TV Academy has denied Netflix’s “Orange Is the New Black” petition to be considered a comedy in this year’s Emmy race, Variety has learned exclusively. The show will have to compete as a drama, and its actors, writers and director in drama categories.
The streaming service had petitioned the Academy for a waiver, per the new rules that deemed half-hours as comedies and hour-longs as dramas. Earlier this week, the Academy had granted petitions by hourlongs Fox’s “Glee,” Showtime’s “Shameless” and the CW’s “Jane the Virgin” to be considered comedies.
“Orange” competed as a comedy at last year’s Emmy Awards, where it earned 12 nominations (the most of any comedy) and won three, including one for guest actress Uzo Aduba. It was also considered a comedy at this year’s Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild Awards, where the show won best comedy ensemble and Aduba won female actor in a comedy.
Each petition is reviewed by a nine-member panel, including five industry leaders appointed by the TV Academy chairman and four by the board of governors. The petitioners had to submit all episodes of the current season, which were then evaluated by the panel “as to whether it predominantly takes a comedic or a dramatic approach to the material,” explained John Leverence, the Academy’s senior VP of awards. It takes a two-thirds vote of the panel to reach a decision.
“’Orange Is the New Black’ is a truly pioneering series and an iconoclast which has always defied genre or easy categorization,” said Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s chief content officer. “While we’re disappointed in the committee’s decision, we believe that ‘Orange’ represents the best of television in either category.”
A spokesman for the TV Academy said it would comment only on changes of eligibility. There is no appeals process, but “Orange” can reapply next year.