For the first time ever, this year’s Intl. Emmy Awards will feature a category for non-English language U.S. primetime program. It’s an addition to the ballot that Intl. TV Academy president and CEO Bruce Paisner is “thrilled” to see come to fruition.

“We’ve never been able to do this before,” he says of the award, which will be given to a primetime program with at least 50% of its script in English that was produced and aired in the United States.

Nominees in the category are “Pasion Prohibida” (Telemundo Studios/Telemundo Internacional), “La Patrona” (Telemundo Internacional), “El Senor de los Cielos” (Telemundo Internacional) and “Temple de Acero” (Rock and Roll Films U.S. for National Geographic Mundo).

“It’s exciting when you think about the Spanish language networks and all the other language networks in this country, and there are a lot of them,” says Paisner. “By 2050 one-third of all the people in the United States are going to be of Hispanic origin. It’s a hugely growing market and we’re going to provide a real opportunity for those shows to compete against each other as nominees and certainly as winners to really to stand out.”

Lionsgate Television president Kevin Beggs is this year’s gala chairman.