You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

No Emmy nom expansion on horizon

Road to the Emmys 2012: Preview

With the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences expanding its nominations for best picture to 10 (or thereabouts) in recent years, it might seem logical that the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences would follow suit.

However, moving beyond six series nominees in comedy or drama hasn’t even reached the level of being officially discussed, according to TV Academy senior awards veep John Leverence, while a proposal to establish separate honors for new series — a category that could also widen the Emmy playing field — hasn’t ventured much further.

Amid misgivings that a nomination might be cheapened, the Emmys have a couple of strong arguments for expansion, starting with the simple logic that the presence of more nominees could draw fans of those shows to the ceremony broadcast.

“I think that’d be great,” says “New Girl’ showrunner Liz Meriwether. “There’s such a great group of comedies out there right now. From what I’m hearing from the pilots, I think there’s going to be even more next year. So an expansion would be fantastic. More people should be recognized.”

While there’s been a perception that the film world is straining to fill its supersized ballot with worthy candidates, TV seems to have more than enough possibilities. On the drama side alone, in addition to four-time defending champion “Mad Men” and 2011 runners-up “Boardwalk Empire,” “Dexter,” “Game of Thrones” and “The Good Wife,” other potential nominees include “Breaking Bad,” “Downton Abbey,” “Homeland,” “Justified,” “Shameless,” “Sons of Anarchy,” “Southland” and “The Walking Dead,” just for starters.

“The downside would be people might think it’s not as elite, it’s not as selective,” says “Walking Dead” exec producer Glen Mazzara. “But a lot of times you have the same shows dominating year after year, and that doesn’t mean that other shows aren’t achieving that same level of excellence.”

Citing “The Wire” and “The Shield,” which were both shut out of the Emmy drama series noms during their entire runs, Mazzara adds, “As you look back, you realize those shows certainly achieved a level of excellence the Emmys is designed to reward.”

But the idea doesn’t have traction where it counts.

“There has not been a discussion at the Board of Governors level of moving from six to 10 at this stage of the game,” Leverence says. “There has been a discussion of subdividing some of these categories (such as separate slots for singlecam and multicam comedies). I think about three years ago, there was a discussion at the awards committee level of whether that would be a good idea. … But the Board of Governors is of the opinion that ‘comedy series’ is enough to carry all of that.”

As for a category honoring new series, Leverence points out, the problem is the Academy’s position against any potential nominee winning two awards for the same activity. At the Emmys, programs could compete in comedy series or new series, but not both. As a result, Leverence says, a new series category “has been discussed, but it has never gone anyplace.”

The remedy would be to allow a series to win more than one award — it’s not as if an NBA Rookie of the Year can’t also be MVP. A new series category would have the dual benefit of reducing the Emmys’ same-old, same-old quality, while also perhaps providing incentive to keep alive critically successful but ratings-challenged freshman fare.

“Again, I think that would be a positive thing,” Mazzara says, “It would spread the wealth around.

“The WGA has this category, and I haven’t heard anybody complain about it. I think people are just happy for the nomination and the free dinner. So why not?”

In February, Showtime’s “Homeland” won the Writers Guild prize for new series, ahead of “Game of Thrones” and “The Killing” and comedies “Episodes” and “New Girl.”

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • Atmosphere71st Primetime Emmy Awards Nominations Announcement,

    How to Watch the 2019 Emmy Awards Online

    The 71st Primetime Emmy Awards won’t be one to miss. Whether you’re a “Killing Eve” fan eager to see co-stars Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer face off in the same category, a “Veep” enthusiast excited to see Julia Louis-Dreyfus potentially nab the honor of most Emmy wins of any performer in history, or a “Game [...]

  • Actor Aron Eisenberg during the Creation

    'Star Trek: Deep Space Nine' Actor Aron Eisenberg Dies at 50

    “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” actor Aron Eisenberg, who played Nog in the 1990s series, died Saturday. He was 50. His character Nog, who appeared for all seven seasons, was a member of the alien race Ferengi, and joined Starfleet after a recommendation from Captain Sisko. Eisenberg returned for a guest spot on “Star Trek: [...]

  • ALL RISE -- A drama that

    TV Review: 'All Rise' Starring Simone Missick

    Finding a new way to do a legal procedural is such a difficult prospect at this point that it would be hard to blame TV for giving up entirely and just going on autopilot. “All Rise,” however, both indulges the basics of the genre and finds some refreshing ways to twist them into slightly new, [...]

  • An Emmy statue stands outside the

    Expect High Heat and Traffic for Emmys Sunday

    If you work in TV, are a fan of TV, or are in fact a TV yourself, the 71st Primetime Emmys promise to be a treat. Television’s biggest awards show takes place in Los Angeles on Sunday night, with some of Hollywood’s brightest stars set to appear as the entertainment community honors the best of [...]

  • Roma Cinematography

    'Mission: Impossible - Fallout' and 'Roma' Win LMGI Awards for Motion Pictures

    Two major 2018 releases – actioner “Mission: Impossible – Fallout” and critics’ darling “Roma” – were honored for film location work by the Location Managers Guild International at a ceremony this evening at the Eli & Edythe Broad Stage in Santa Monica. The 6th Annual LMGI Awards also recognized “Chernobyl” and “Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan” [...]

  • Viacom Channels Grab 'Seinfeld' Cable Rerun

    Viacom Channels Grab 'Seinfeld' Cable Rerun Rights

    Viacom has sealed a deal with Sony Pictures Television for the cable rights to “Seinfeld” starting in October 2021. The deal comes on the heels of a blockbuster new deal between Sony and Netflix for the streaming rights to the beloved NBC sitcom that also begins in 2021. “Seinfeld” reruns have been a staple of [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content