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2022 Emmys voting has officially begun! With the nominations round for the 74th annual Primetime Emmy Awards underway, the total number of submissions this year is up across most categories.

In the drama series categories, there are 171 contenders, while on the comedy side of the house, there are 118 titles on the ballot.

In limited or anthology series, a category that continues to have evolution with rules changing from year to year, there are 61 programs in the mix.

With a global pandemic hitting the entertainment industry hard over the past two years, there were declines in productions due to pauses and varying factors related to COVID-19. In 2021 and 2020, drama series had 133 and 197 submissions during those periods. Comedy had 68 and 111, while limited racked up 37 and 41 respectively.

In the TV movie race, this year has 48 films vying for consideration, compared to 41 and 28 in the past two years.

Read moreVariety’s Awards Circuit Emmys Predictions Hub.

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Courtesy of HBO Courtesy of HBO

The incumbent winner, “The Crown” from Netflix, which became the second show to sweep all the major categories in Emmys history (the first was Pop TV’s “Schitt’s Creek” the year prior in comedy), is not eligible this year. The only returning nominees on the ballot are Netflix’s “Bridgerton” and NBC’s final season of “This Is Us.” A nominee last year, Amazon Prime Video’s “The Boys,” which debuted on June 3, will be eligible for Emmys 2023. After a gap year, HBO’s 2020 winner “Succession” is back and seems to be frontrunning in several categories. Other returning nominees are AMC’s “Better Call Saul,” BBC America’s “Killing Eve” and Netflix’s double-header of “Ozark” and “Stranger Things.”

Apple’s “Ted Lasso” is back in play, which picked up the first big win for the streamer, the same awards cycle that it became the first streamer to win the Oscar for best picture with “CODA.” There are many more returning nominees in the conversation again including the final seasons of ABC’s “Black-ish” and Hulu’s “Pen15,” along with Netflix’s “Cobra Kai” and “Emily in Paris” and HBO Max’s “The Flight Attendant” and “Hacks.” “The Kominsky Method,” which had its final season in 2021, is the only nominee not on the ballot. However, not all the former nominees are safe, as there are multiple returning nominees from previous years, back in the hunt after long hiatuses HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and “Insecure,” Amazon’s “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” and FX’s “What We Do in the Shadows.” From Emmys 2019, we’re seeing the returns of HBO’s “Barry” and Netflix’s “Russian Doll.”

Variety spoke to TV Academy president/COO Maury McIntyre prior to the ballot unveiling about the continued evolution of the Emmy categories, particularly with the acceptance of HBO’s “The White Lotus” in limited or anthology series despite being greenlit for a second season with Jennifer Coolidge returning as her character Tanya McQuoid.

“We take each of these case by case,” McIntyre says. “In terms of ‘White Lotus,’ which was a big success for HBO, it’s coming back next year. We can only go off of what we know since we haven’t seen the second year yet. I know there are a lot of questions because it was announced that Jennifer Coolidge would be returning. So does that make it a drama series or not? And based on our understanding of what the second season is, it’s a whole new resort, with a whole new ensemble of characters with a whole new set of storylines — that happens to also include Jennifer Coolidge. So it’s hard to know, similar to all of the other many arcs of ‘American Horror Story.'”

In the acting races, the competition will be stiff as can be expected with the boom in television and streaming platforms.

Lead actor (drama) finds a robust 134 names in the Emmy conversation, with only six able to make the cut including Lee Jung-jae (“Squid Game”) and the “Succession” double-dose of Brian Cox and Jeremy Strong. For lead actress (drama), 114 powerhouse performances are submitted including Zendaya (“Euphoria”), two women from “The Morning Show” with Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon, and three women from “Yellowjackets” including Melanie Lynskey, Juliette Lewis and Tawny Cypress.

Lead actor (comedy) has 84 leading men seeking Emmy attention, which will allow six nominees this year, rather than five last year. The list includes last year’s winner Jason Sudeikis (“Ted Lasso”) and returning players Donald Glover (“Atlanta”) and Bill Hader (“Barry”). The leading women of comedy had more submissions with 91 submitted including last year’s winner Jean Smart (“Hacks”), along with Selena Gomez (“Only Murders in the Building”) and Quinta Brunson (“Abbott Elementary”).

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The White Lotus
Murray Bartlett and Jake Lacy
Credit: HBO Max
Courtesy of HBO Max

An interesting development was in the lead actress category (limited or anthology series or TV movie) which has 92 submissions, and will yield six nominees, helping out the lead actor side of the category, which saw only 64 submissions. Instituting the parity rule will allow six nominees for lead actor, even though it didn’t cross the 80 submission threshold.

An all-time record submission in supporting actor (drama) with a gargantuan 434 actors looking for only eight available slots, and supporting actress (drama) putting 385 actresses up for recognition.

Supporting actor (comedy) has a gargantuan 298 submissions, which will yield eight nominees in July. Supporting actress (comedy) has 266 names on the sprawling list.

Supporting actor (limited) has 234 submissions, allowing seven nominees, with supporting actress (limited) shepherding 183 viable candidates.

A sliding scale was instituted by the TV Academy in 2020, which determines the number of nominees in each category, based on the number of submissions. However, acting categories for the same genre/category will have parity in the number of nominations (except in categories with fewer than 20 submissions).

Further rules state, that 1-19 submissions in a category net zero to four nominees, while 20-80 submissions result in five nominees, 81-160 submissions allow for six nominees, 161-240 submissions allow for seven nominees, and more than 240 submissions will provide eight nominees.

A dose of reality goes a long way with viewers, seen by 65 submissions for unstructured reality, up from 48 in 2021 and 44 in 2020. This will be one of the hottest categories with the likes of “The Kardashians” (Hulu) and “The Real World Homecoming: New Orleans” (Paramount+) looking for first-time Emmy love.

Structured reality has 36 entries, differing from their 34 last year, and 47 the year prior. This looks to be made for Netflix with their past winner “Queer Eye” frontrunning again, along with their other popular romance series such as “Love is Blind” and “The Ultimatum: Marry or Move On.”

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MTV

Reality competition program sees 81 shows, up from 67 last year and up from 60 in the previous. This will give six nominees in the category with shows like last year’s winner “RuPaul’s Drag Race” (VH1), along with last year’s nominees “The Amazing Race” (CBS) and “Top Chef” (Bravo). Among those new to the race are “Lizzo’s Watch Out for the Big Grrrls” (Amazon Prime Video) and “Queen of the Universe” (Paramount+).

In other unscripted races, variety talk series has 19 submissions, compared to 20 and 24 during the last two years. The list includes last year’s winner “Last Week Tonight With John Oliver” (HBO) and the still never-nominated “Late Night with Seth Meyers” (NBC).

The variety sketch race continues to be a head-scratcher with so few vying for slots, shown by only eight entries. Last year found only nine submissions, compared to 14 the year before. The former outstanding variety series category was split into two in 2015, with Comedy Central’s “Inside Amy Schumer” and “Key & Peele” taking the first two prizes for sketch. NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” has been the reigning champion for the past five years, and by the looks of it, could be barreling towards its sixth. This will yield only two nominees once again with “How to with John Wilson,” “Painting with John” and “Studio C” out the category now.

Variety special (pre-recorded) has 75, down from last year’s 116 and 104 in 2020. Some of the hot names in the mix are “Jerrod Carmichael: Rothaniel” (HBO), “Adele One Night Only” (CBS) and the controversial “Dave Chappelle: The Closer” (Netflix).

Variety special (live) has 25 events vying for love, which had 23 and 29 entrants over the past two years. In this race, we’ll see the film counterpart of the TV Academy, the 94th Oscars, eye attention that included the Will Smith slapping moment of comedian Chris Rock.

In short form (comedy or drama), there are 32 submissions while in short (nonfiction or reality) there are 22 angling for attention.

Nomination voting is now open for the over 20,000 members of the Television Academy. The first round of ballots is due on June 27 at 10 p.m. PT. The official nominations will be announced on Tuesday, July 12. The winners will be announced during the Creative Arts Emmys set for Sept 3-4 (which will be aired on FXX on Sept 10), and during the 74th Primetime Emmy Awards, scheduled for Sunday, Sept 12 on NBC.

The complete television awards season calendar is linked here.

2022 Primetime Emmy Awards Predictions

2022 Creative Arts Emmys Predictions