You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Emmy Nominations: Did the Rule Changes Work?

Now that the 2015 Emmy nominations have been unveiled, it’s worth a look at this year’s sweeping rule changes to see the impact on the key races.

“Our new rules provided clarity and answered many of the gray area questions of prior years,” said TV Academy chairman Bruce Rosenblum. “The general consensus is that these rule changes were very effective this year.”

See More: Emmy Awards: ‘Game of Thrones’ Soars With 24 Nominations

More nominees:

The expansion of the comedy and drama series races from six to seven nominees allowed for new blood to make its way into both categories, most notably in the comedy category, which saw considerable shakeup. Perennial nominee “The Big Bang Theory” was ousted in favor of freshman series “Transparent” and “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.” Still, that didn’t leave enough room in the drama race for any recognition of broadcast: Fox’s big hit “Empire” didn’t make the cut.

Category definitions:

This year, hourlong shows were redefined as dramas, and half-hours as comedies — which meant Netflix’s “Orange Is the New Black” had to switch categories and compete in the tougher drama field. Yet it prevailed and won a nom, earning four overall. Compare that total, though, to its 12 overall last year, when it was considered a comedy.

The 2% rule:

For the first time, the Academy decided the 2% rule would apply to series lead and supporting performer categories. This rule means the categories will continue to have six nominees, but could have seven or up to eight nominees if the next highest vote getters have a vote margin of 2% within the sixth highest vote-getter. That’s why the lead actor in a comedy race has seven nominees, and the supporting actress in a comedy race has eight.

Supporting actors vs. guest stars:

It’s hard to quantify who might have been nominated and didn’t, given the rule changes dictating that a “guest star” appeared in less than half of a given show’s episodes. “Scandal’s” Joe Morton, who won guest actor in a drama last year, failed to earn a nod as supporting actor this year, since he had to compete in that competitive field this time around thanks to a boosted episode count. Industry insiders grumbled that the rules changes were instituted after seasons were already planned, at which point it was too late for them to alter their creative decisions. (It’s worth noting that Morton’s onscreen ex-wife, Khandi Alexander, was nominated for her guest star turn.)

Variety talk & sketch:

Last year, sketch series like “Inside Amy Schumer” had to compete with the likes of “The Tonight Show” and “The Daily Show.” Now, separated out with their own variety sketch category, Amy Schumer, Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele can not only enjoy noms for their series, but they’ve also been recognized for their acting work.

Final round voting:

As for the elimination of the blue ribbon panels to dictate winners, that remains to be seen. The voting is now in the hands of the Academy’s 18,500 members — or will be, come August.

More TV

  • Kevin BarnettFOX 'Rel' TV show panel,

    Comedian Kevin Barnett Dies in Mexico at 32

    Kevin Barnett, the comedian behind Fox comedy series “Rel,” has died while on vacation in Mexico of unknown causes. He was 32. Barnett’s New York City-based comedy career was just taking off at the time of his death, having recently executive produced and co-created Fox TV series “Rel” alongside comedians Lil Rel Howery and Josh [...]

  • Can't We Talk About Something More

    Roz Chast Memoir ‘Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?’ to Be Adapted Into TV Series (EXCLUSIVE)

    Famed New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast is taking her sardonic wit to a television screen near you. Her best-selling graphic memoir “Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?” is being adapted into a half-hour television series by Shivani Rawat’s ShivHans Pictures and Ken Kwapis’ In Cahoots, Variety has learned. Emmy-winning writer Sheila R. Lawrence (“The [...]

  • Jesse Redniss Variety Entertainment & Technology

    WarnerMedia Debuts Content Innovation Lab Fueled by AT&T Tech

    WarnerMedia is launching an incubator meant to “combine emerging technologies with content from across its operating units to create new and innovative consumer experiences and businesses,” the company announced Tuesday. Led by Jesse Redniss, Turner’s executive VP of data strategy and product innovation, the WarnerMedia Innovation Lab is looking to integrate its intellectual property and talent [...]

  • Ilha de Ferro - Dante (

    NATPE: 5 Takes on Brazil’s Globo and Its 2019 Lineup

    MIAMI  — In hallowed tradition, Brazilian TV giant Globo unveiled its NATPE line-up on the first day of the Miami trade fair. With scripted and non-scripted promos playing to a thundering soundtrack Jerry Bruckheimer would have been proud of, this was, as ever for Globo, a polished and powerful presentation. But it also said much [...]

  • Live+7 Ratings for Week of Dec.

    Live+7 Ratings for Week of Dec. 31: 'Masked Singer' Premiere Grows by 40 Percent

    The series premiere of “The Masked Singer” continued to pay dividends to Fox in the delayed viewing numbers. In Live+7 for the week of Dec. 31, “The Masked Singer”–which already had the biggest Live+3 gain of any unscripted premiere ever–rose 40% from its Live+Same Day haul in adults 18-49 to a 4.2 rating. In total viewers, [...]

  • Paula Kaplan

    Viacom Digital Studios' Paula Kaplan Expands Role to Oversee Talent for Nickelodeon

    Paula Kaplan, the executive vice president of talent and development at Viacom Digital Studios, is expanding her role to new include overseeing talent for Nickelodeon. Kaplan’s new title will be executive vice president of talent and development for Viacom Digital Studios and EVP of talent for Nickelodeon. Kaplan will report to both Brian Robbins, president [...]

  • THE MAGICIANS -- Pictured: (l-r) Trevo

    'The Magicians' Renewed for Season 5 at Syfy, Adds New Co-Showrunner

    Syfy has renewed “The Magicians” for a fifth season just ahead of the fourth season premiere. The show has also promoted Henry Alonso Myers to co-showrunner for the fifth season. “‘The Magicians’ raised the bar at Syfy and has gained momentum season after season, attracting a new audience to the channel. We are proud of [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content