We mentioned last week that NBC comedy “Community” was on the Emmy ballot for animated program, in addition to the short-form animation category for its spinoff web series.

That news wasn’t lost on a number of animation writers who have complained for years that they don’t have the same opportunity to enter their scripts in the Emmy writing competition. Today, they formalized that complaint in a letter to the TV Academy, as reported here.

More than 50 animation exec producers and writers, including Seth MacFarlane of “Family Guy” and Al Jean of “The Simpsons,” registered a complaint Monday with the Television Academy over their inability to submit animated scripts in non-animated writing categories at the Primetime Emmys.

The letter, sent to the TV Academy and its chair, Bruce Rosenblum, reacts to the presence of NBC sitcom “Community” in two animated Emmy categories for the 2012 awards.

“Community” is typically a live-action show, but one of its final episodes of the past season (“Digital Estate Planning”) was largely animated and earned a spot in the animated program competition. In addition, an animated web series using “Community” characters has been placed in contention for a short-form animated kudo.

Jean told Variety that “what they are doing with ‘Community’ is what we said they should do all along” for animated series.

“Why not?” Jean asked. “If a writer of an animated program wants to submit for a writing Emmy, great. And if it’s not good enough, it won’t win.” …

The rest of the story can be found here.

It’s worth noting that “Digital Estate Planning,” the Matt Warburton-penned “Community” episode submitted for the animation honor, was not entered into the comedy writing race.  (Warburton himself is a former “Simpsons” writer.) But the crux is that “Community” could still retain comedy series eligibility. In contrast, “Family Guy,” by entering as a comedy series, is not in the animation writing category.

Update: This afternoon, the TV Academy issued a statement …

It is a general rule of the Emmy competition that producers, writers and directors enter separately in their own program or individual achievement categories, e.g., comedy series writers enter the Writing for a Comedy Series category, drama series directors enter the Directing for a Drama Series category, etc.

Eligibility in animation programming is an exception to this general rule, because the animation producers, writers and directors enter the Animated Program category together as a team.  There is no separate category for the individual achievements of animation writing and directing.   (However, if an animated series opts to enter in Comedy Series rather than Animated Program category, then the individual achievement categories are open to them, e.g., writers can enter Writing for a Comedy Series category.)

“Community” is a Comedy Series that for the last two years has included an animated “special episode.”  The competition includes a rule that a special episode can enter as a stand-alone special, “if it involved a significant and substantive format change throughout e.g. from whole-episode live action to whole-episode animation.”   The “Community” producers followed that rule when they entered the producer-writer-director team for the animated episode in the Animation category and the regular, live-action episodes in the Comedy Series program and Comedy Series individual achievement categories.