The WGA did not name the Netflix series, which received nine Emmy nominations last week, as the specific reason for the decision.
“Whether you’re watching content on a TV screen, online on a laptop, or with a hand-held device, outstanding writing and great storytelling deserve the same recognition,” said WGA West President Christopher Keyser and WGA East President Michael Winship. “These changes in eligibility and submission guidelines reflect the evolution of distribution models in the entertainment industry.”
The WGA awards will be presented Feb. 1. The new guidelines will permit online series to compete with TV series in the script and series categories.
“House of Cards” scored nine Emmy nominations. Another Netflix series, “Arrested Development,” made history as the first digitally distributed series to earn major nomination.
The WGA also said the new guidelines will allow several daytime serials, which have moved to media platforms, to compete in the daytime drama category. Under the old rules, those serials would have placed them in the separate Derivative New Media award category.
Additionally, the WGA’s original and adapted new media categories remain intact but will be limited to programs 15 minutes or less in length — and renamed “short form new media” — and will be open to new media programs based on any source material, whether TV series, motion picture or written work.
The WGA said its three TV series awards categories – drama, comedy and new series – will be open to all programs over 15 minutes and under one hour regardless of the platform for which they were created.
The guild is also introducing a new “quiz and audience participation” category for the work the writing of questions and answers, as well as other material such as quizzes, stunts and host copy. To be eligible, scripts must be under WGA jurisdiction.