The Good and The Bad: Television Academy’s Major Changes for Emmy Awards Eligibility

By Rachel Cruz | 3 years ago
The Good and The Bad: Television Academy’s Major Changes for Emmy Awards Eligibility
Emmy Statuette. 13:47:53. August 19, 2009. Wikimedia Commons/NASA

Last Feb. 20, 2015, the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences released its new rules providing some clarity to how nominees should enter their submissions. The changes also mean that it will affect the standing of many shows vying for recognition. What are some of these changes and how will this affect the shows and its actors? Read on for the details.

First, there will be seven shows for nomination under the Best Comedy Series and Best Drama Series categories. Five nominations used to be the standard at the Emmy Awards, and last year, the number was raised to six.

  • Good: This year, seven lucky shows can vie for the top show award.
  • Bad: However, with so many series worth of honors, seven is still not enough. Can the Emmys round it off to 10 next year?

Second, the rules will now consider “comedies” as shows with episodes that are 30 minutes or less. Sitcoms fall under this without any problems as they are usually half-hour shows.

  • Good: The new rule eliminates a gray area, such as when “Orange Is the New Black” submitted under the comedy category last year, when it’s more of a drama series.
  • Bad: But the change also hurts truly funny full-hour series like “Jane the Virgin.”

Third, the miniseries category has been changed to “limited series.” For shows to be considered under this category, there should only be at least two episodes with a non-recurring story and characters.

  • Good: This provide clarity, one that industry experts have been hoping for.
  • Bad: None.

Fourth, comedy and drama shows must each have six episodes or more per season to be eligible for the category.

  • Good: This also clarifies the difference between limited series and a full series and acknowledges the fact that many shows today are leaning towards shorter episodes. The 24-episode series may soon be a thing of the past.
  • Bad: A show like “Sherlock,” which usually has three episodes per season only and which submitted and won the miniseries category last year, may have to compete with a host of other TV dramas with this new rule.

The Television Academy notes, however, that in special cases, the show will have to state their case and go through another process of proving that their submission is in the right category, and thus, eligible for the Emmys. There will be a panel that will review this. As taken from the announcement released through the press:

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.

Fifth, the variety category will be subdivided into two: Variety Sketch and Talk Variety.

  • Good: This does away with shows, such as “Saturday Night Live,” a sketch comedy and “The Late Night Show,” a talk show, from being lumped together in a crowded category.
  • Bad: None.

Sixth, guest actors must at least appear in the episode for half the story to be eligible for a guest actor nomination. In the past, some guest actors have won the award when they were only in the episode for less than a minute, so this is generally a rule that is welcomed by everyone.

What do you think of these changes? Seems mostly fair, right?

The Emmy Awards, which will be on its 67th year, will air on Sunday, Sept. 20, 2015, on FOX. Check back to Movie News Guide (MNG) for the updates.

Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons/NASA

About the author

Rachel will watch any TV show once to see if it's worth following. She watches 55 to 60 American, British and Canadian TV shows on any regular week. Glued to TV, she has not seen the world outside in a while. :P