Emmys split variety categories

Talkshows, specials given separate consideration

Gabbers like “The Daily Show” will no longer have to face off with such big events as the Academy Awards in two key Primetime Emmy categories.

Until now, directors and writers on variety/music/comedy programs were lumped together and competed against each other for the Emmy; now, helmers and scribes will face off in separate categories for either specials or series.

That’s good news especially for directors of variety/music/comedy series — who were frequently shut out by the likes of Academy Awards helmer Louis J. Horvitz, who won the Emmy last year. And on the writing side, it opens up the door for scribes on variety/music/comedy specials, which have usually been shut out by the hefty series competition (such as “Daily Show,” “Late Show With David Letterman,” “Late Night With Conan O’Brien” and last year’s winner, “The Colbert Report”).

“The Television Academy’s board of governors, writers and directors peer groups have long wanted to see separate competitions for the VMC series and specials,” said TV Acad chairman John Shaffner. “Now, writers and directors working on both VMC series and specials will take part in competitions that recognize the creative challenges posed by each format.”

The org had resisted the call to split the categories in the past from a desire to avoid adding to the already large number of Emmy kudos handed out each year.

But in a compromise, the Acad has worked out a plan to rotate which series and specials variety/music/comedy awards are handed out during the live Primetime Emmys ceremony each year and which will be given during the Creative Arts Emmys ceremony. Regardless, the Creative Arts category will also be recognized during the Primetime Emmys telecast.

Shaffner noted that the change came with the support of the Directors Guild and the Writers Guild, both of which granted “a modification to our current clip fee waiver that accommodates this rotation.”

Move marks the second major change to the variety/music/comedy Emmy competish this year. In March, the TV Academy eliminated its Emmy award for variety or music program performance. Instead, TV hosts will instead be submitted alongside producers and creators in the variety/music/comedy series competish, while one-time performers will be submitted with producers in the variety/music/comedy spesh category.

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