×

Emmys rejig judges

Kudos voting nixes conflicts of interest

In addition to changes that will affect what viewers see onscreen, the Emmy Awards are implementing a voting procedure that will alter who is eligible to serve as judges for this year’s kudos — a move that figures to disproportionately disenfranchise the most-nominated network, HBO.

At the same meeting where the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences finalized its “time-shifted” approach to present certain awards, the board of governors amended its conflict-of-interest rules to prevent full-time employees from voting in any category in which their networks are nominated.

As a practical matter, that means employees at HBO — the recipient of 99 nominations, including best comedy, drama, movie and miniseries — would be excluded from final judging panels in all but a few categories, such as reality TV and children’s programming.

According to John Leverence, the TV Academy’s senior VP of awards, the rules shift reflects “one of those evolving situations” from prior guidelines that barred those with direct personal ties to or financial interest in a nominated program from voting in its category.

The revised policy, Leverence said, is to “tighten it up” and will also block those with corporate ties to a specific network from participating. In other words, an NBC Universal employee wouldn’t be impaneled to cast a vote for “30 Rock” as best comedy.

The new language on the Emmy-judging affidavit states, “I am not currently nor have been during the last 12 months an executive employed full-time by a network, studio or production company that has an Emmy nomination pending before my panel.”

Leverence stressed that the TV Academy does not believe the change will unduly penalize any particular network, though that may not sit well with officials at HBO, which reportedly has a long history of encouraging staffers to get involved in the Emmy process.

An HBO spokeswoman declined comment regarding the new rule; however, the pay service has already expressed disappointment over planned presentation changes that will tape-delay eight of the 28 awards, airing shortened versions of acceptance speeches during the Sept. 20 Emmy telecast. Several telepic categories — an area where HBO has won the top prize 14 of the past 16 years — will be among the time-shifted honors.

Leverence acknowledged that the board’s action comes relatively late in the process, with ballots having just gone out for the Creative Arts Awards. Additional ballots for the main ceremony devoted to programs and performers will be sent Monday.

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth WarrenSecond 2020

    ABC News Sets Moderators, Rules for Third Democratic Debate

    ABC News has announced the moderators for the third Democratic debate, as well as the qualification rules. The debate will be held on Thursday, Sept. 12, and will spill over to Friday, Sept. 13 if more than 10 candidates qualify. The moderating team will consist of chief anchor George Stephanopoulos, “World News Tonight” anchor and [...]

  • James Corden Paul McCartney Carpool Karaoke

    James Corden Got a Little Help From Paul McCartney on His Drive to the Emmys

    Saying “Baby, I could drive your car” has proven to be a very good strategy for James Corden — never more so than when he put Paul McCartney into the highly sought passenger seat. The primetime special “Carpool Karaoke: When Corden Met McCartney, Live From Liverpool” is a contender in five Emmy categories this year, [...]

  • Starz Logo

    Starz Orders Horror Comedy Pilot 'Shining Vale'

    Starz has put out a pilot order for “Shining Vale,” a horror comedy which hails from “Divorce” creator Sharon Horgan and “Trial & Error” co-creator Jeff Astrof. The prospective series is about a dysfunctional family that moves from the city to a small town into a house in which terrible atrocities have taken place. But no one [...]

  • Bethenny Frankel at the showtime Emmy

    Bethenny Frankel to Exit 'Real Housewives of New York' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Bethenny Frankel is stepping away from the “Real Housewives” franchise. Variety has learned exclusively that Frankel is poised to exit Bravo’s “The Real Housewives of New York” ahead of its upcoming twelfth season. Frankel first joined the acclaimed reality series back when it premiered back in 2008 before exiting the series in 2010 during the [...]

  • Dolly Parton

    BBC Commissions Dolly Parton Feature Documentary

    The BBC has commissioned a feature length documentary about country music legend Dolly Parton, it announced Wednesday. The documentary, tentatively titled “Dolly’s Country” will air on BBC Two this fall as part of a season of programs dedicated to country music. The broadcaster announced earlier in the day that it had acquired Ken Burns’ upcoming [...]

  • UCP to Develop Ann Shen’s 'Bad

    UCP to Develop Ann Shen’s 'Bad Girls Throughout History' as Anthology Series

    Universal Content Productions (UCP) is developing an anthology series based on Ann Shen’s book “Bad Girls Throughout History: 100 Remarkable Women Who Changed the World.” The project will be titled “Bad Girls,” with each episode featuring a different influential woman throughout history, including famous figures like Ada Lovelace, Rosa Parks, Mata Hari, and Ruth Bader [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content