Photo by John Schreiber.
Photo by John Schreiber.

The Television Academy announced Friday changes in Primetime Emmy Awards rules, including expansion of eligible final round voters and the number of comedy and drama series nominees.

Academy officials say the moves reflect an increasingly varied and expanding television landscape and give added influence to voting academy members who now number more than 17,000.

“We need to continue to make sure we honor their creativity in the most relevant and fair ways possible,” Television Academy Chairman Bruce Rosenblum said. “As our growing membership creates and produces more content for ever-changing platforms, today’s changes in the rules and procedures are vital.”

The changes include:

— 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, as long as they watch the required submitted material online and attest to no specific conflicts of interest with the nominees.

— Expansion of nominees for Comedy and Drama series categories: Due to the dramatic increase in series production, the number of nominees for “Comedy” and “Drama” series has been increased from six to seven.

— Definition of a Comedy and Drama series: 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 are presumed to be a drama.

— 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.

All programs entering the competition this year will be grouped according to these new definitions:

— Definition of series and 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 don’t have an ongoing storyline and/or main characters in subsequent seasons.

— Comedy and Drama series 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 industry panel to change category eligibility, such as from comedy to drama or vice-versa.   —  Definition of Guest Actor: Only performers appearing in less than 50 percent of a program’s episodes are now eligible to submit in the guest actor category.

— Split of Variety Series category: The variety series category is now split: Outstanding Variety Talk, to be awarded during the Primetime Emmy telecast; and Outstanding Variety Sketch, to be included in the Creative Arts Emmy program.

City News Service

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