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Emmys 2018: Drama Submissions Down Despite ‘Game of Thrones’ Return to Ballot

The voting period for the 70th annual Primetime Emmy Awards opened Monday, and true to peak TV form, the choices for voting members of the Television Academy are abundant. But while there are markedly more drama submissions than comedy in all key races, the number of individual drama submissions for series and lead actor/actress categories has actually dropped off from last year’s ballot.

Looking at the series races, drama entries are down just over 20 submissions — to 159 from last year’s 180. This makes it more on-par with 2016, when there were 151 entries in the race.

The drama series race looks to be dominated by sophomore seasons of last year’s winner “The Handmaid’s Tale” alongside previous nominees “The Crown,” “Stranger Things,” “This Is Us,” “Westworld,” as well as the return of “Game of Thrones,” which was ineligible last year. Key other contenders to keep an eye on here, though, include broadcast ratings winner “The Good Doctor,” as well as new genre projects such as “Altered Carbon” and “Counterpart” and the final seasons of “The Americans” and “Orphan Black.”

On the comedy side, the series race is up more than 10 submissions year-over-year. There are 117 comedy series in the running this year, compared to 104 in 2017. In 2016, the number of comedy series in contention hadn’t even yet cracked 100 (it held strong at 96 then).

With incumbent winner “Veep” not eligible this year, the comedy race is a bit wider open, but this year’s Golden Globe winner “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” is sure to be a standout on the ballot — as will two other freshmen contenders who also got Globe recognition earlier this year: “GLOW” and “SMILF.” The sophomore season of “Atlanta” is sure to grab attention, as will the new seasons of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and “Will & Grace” — both perennial Academy favorites that returned to screens after years off the air.

In the lead actor categories, this year has 113 men in the lead dramatic actor race, which is down more than two dozen from 2017’s 140 entries. (2016 saw 109 entries.) Meanwhile, this year’s comedy actor submissions tops out at 89 submissions, up notably from both 2016 (77 submissions) and 2017 (74 submissions).

In the lead actress categories, there were 99 submissions for drama, which is down from 113 in 2017 but up from 81 in 2016. The comedy side sees 85 lead actresses in the race this year, up from 74 in 2017 and 64 in 2016.

In the limited series/tv movie performer categories, there were 42 lead actor submissions, up from 38 in 2017 but still down from 2016, when there were 52 actors in the race. Lead actress in a limited series or TV movie has 44 women in the running this year, down from 50 in 2017 but up from 30 in 2016.

The notable new categories this year are variety special (live) and variety special (pre-recorded), which boast 29 and 89 submissions, respectively.

Voting members of the Academy have until June 25 to make their selections for this year’s nominees, which will be announced July 12.


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