×

Emmys Announce Rule Changes; Series Categories Expand to 7 Nominees

The Television Academy has unveiled a wide-ranging set of new rules for the upcoming Emmy season, including expanding the series nominees to seven (from six), clarifying the definition of “guest” actor, and further distinguishing between “limited series” vs. comedy and drama series.

These moves are intended to address industry-wide concerns raised after several shows engaged in so-called “category jockeying” in last year’s race.

Series Nominees: The number of nominees in comedy and drama races has been increased to seven, due to the dramatic increase in series production.

Comedy vs. Drama: To clarify the difference between the “comedy” and “drama” series categories, series with episodes of 30 minutes or less are defined as a “comedy”; those with episodes of more than 30 minutes will be considered a “drama.”

Hourlong series can submit as a comedy, and the industry panel will make the final decisions. Producers may formally petition a new Academy industry panel to consider their series’ eligibility in the alternative category. This nine-member panel will include five industry leaders appointed by the Television Academy Chairman and four appointees from the Board of Governors. A two-thirds vote of this industry panel is required for petition approval.

Series vs. Limited Series: “Mini-Series” will be changed to “Limited Series” and defined as programs of two or more episodes with a total running time of at least 150 program minutes that tell a complete, non-recurring story, and do not have an ongoing storyline and/or main characters in subsequent seasons.  “Comedy” and “Drama” will continue to be defined as programs with a minimum of six episodes which have an ongoing storyline, theme and main characters presented under the same title and with continuity of production supervision. Producers may formally petition for review by the aforementioned industry panel to change category eligibility.

• Guest Actor: Only performers appearing in less than 50% of a program’s episodes are now eligible to submit in the Guest Actor category.

• Variety Series: The Variety Series category is now split into Outstanding Variety Talk, to be awarded during the Primetime Emmy telecast, and Outstanding Variety Sketch, to be included in the Creative Arts Emmy program.

• Expansion of Final Round Voting: In an effort to expand member participation in the voting process, and to take advantage of the Academy’s extension of online voting to both rounds, all voters eligible to vote in a category’s nominating round are now eligible to vote in that category’s final round, so long as they meet two additional requirements: Much as in the former Blue Ribbon panel process, voters must watch the required submitted material online and attest to no specific conflicts of interest with the nominees.

“Our over 17,000 voting members represent a dramatically changing television industry, and we need to continue to make sure we honor their creativity in the most relevant and fair ways possible,” said Television Academy chair Bruce Rosenblum. “As our growing membership creates and produces more content for ever-changing platforms, today’s changes in the rules and procedures are vital. We’re sure that in coming years we will continue to evolve our rules as our dynamic industry grows.”

The complete list of rules and procedures for the awards will be available in March at TelevisionAcademy.com.

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • Jonas Leijonhufvud and Sven Carlsson

    Yellow Bird U.K. Developing 'Spotify Untold' Limited Series

    Yellow Bird U.K. has optioned the screen rights to tell-all book “Spotify Untold” with plans to develop it into a limited series for television. Sven Carlsson and Jonas Leijonhufvud’s novel details the story behind the Swedish start-up which became one of the world’s leading music services and its attempts to take on U.S. giants including [...]

  • Amy Sherman-Palladino, Daniel Palladino, Robin Urdang.

    The Emmys Allowed Music Supervisors In, But Tension With the TV Academy Remains

    It’s been a long road to Television Academy acceptance for music supervisors. In 2015, after years of lobbying, music supervisors gained entry to the music branch. In 2017, they got their own category at the Emmys, but weren’t allowed to vote in any other music competition. This year, music supervisors can vote in all seven [...]

  • 'Mrs. Maisel,' 'Pen15,' 'Queer Eye' Get

    Emmys 2019: Streamers Turn to Stunts for Final Voting Campaigns

    When billboards and magazine ads aren’t enough to grab more attention during prime Emmy voting time, streaming services are using all of Los Angeles as their stage. Screenings and Q&A panels with series casts and producers are essential for exposure ahead of nomination-round voting, and during that March-to-June window, social-media friendly activations and stunts have [...]

  • The Righteous GemstonesAdam Devine, Danny McBride,

    TV Ratings: 'The Righteous Gemstones' Debuts to 850,000 Viewers on HBO

    HBO’s newest comedy “The Righteous Gemstones” posted a solid ratings debut. The Danny McBride series premiered to 844,000 total viewers across all the cabler’s platforms, which represents the strongest opening for a comedy on HBO since the comedian’s “Vice Principals” launched to 1.2 million eyeballs in 2016. The “Gemstones” premiere averaged a touch under 600,000 [...]

  • Conan O'Brien

    Why Conan O'Brien Moved Beyond Late-Night TV

    When Conan O’Brien signed his latest deal with TBS, he didn’t just agree to keep his late-night talk show on the air for another four years. In addition to hosting “Conan,” he promised to create digital content, podcasting, live tours, and other forms of entertainment. It wasn’t just an attempt to make more money or [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content