UPDATE: Lifetime’s EVP programming Rob Sharenow has issued a statement in response to today’s announcement of the consolidations of the movie and miniseries acting categories:
“We are disappointed the Academy has followed suit with its decision last year to merge the movie and miniseries categories by now combining the lead and supporting actress and actor categories. Movies and miniseries represent some of television’s finest programming and it is our firm belief the industry should honor each category separately. The Academy recognizes lead and supporting actresses and actors in other genres — as it should. However, the continued consolidation of the movies and miniseries categories will unnecessarily deny award-worthy films and performances from receiving their proper recognition.”
PREVIOUS: While the TV longform genre seems to be having a renaissance with such programs as PBS’ Downton Abbey and Sherlock and History’s blockbuster mini Hatfields & McCoys, the movie/miniseries Emmy field continues to shrink. Following last year’s decision by the The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences to merge the best TV movie and best mini-series categories into one, now TV Academy’s Board of Governors has voted to consolidate the longform performers categories beginning with the 2013 Primetime Emmy Awards. Instead of having separate lead and supporting acting categories, now there will be only one each for male and female actors: Outstanding Actor in a Miniseries or Movie and Outstanding Actress in a Miniseries or Movie. They will feature six nominees each, one more than the five nominees both the lead and supporting categories had. That’s in line with the six nomination slots in the series acting categories.
The longform categories have long been a bone of contention between the TV Academy and the broadcast networks as the categories take up a significant portion of the Emmy telecast but exclude the broadcast networks which pay to carry the Emmys but don’t produce TV movies and mini-series anymore. The issue was a major point in the discussion during the most recent renegotiations between the Academy and the Big 4 broadcast networks last year, which resulted in a new eight-year “wheel” deal.