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Emmys: TV Academy Expands Short Form Categories, Approves Other Rule Changes

The TV Academy is expanding its Primetime Emmy Awards’ shortform categories, reflecting the growth in storytelling across an expanding TV landscape.

The Academy’s board of governors also approved other awards rule and procedure changes for 2016. Most notably, the derbies for directing and writing, for both comedy and dramas series, have been increased to six noms in each category. The move reflects the dramatic increase in TV series production, the Academy said in this morning’s announcement.

“This is a great problem to have for our industry that there is so much quality work that deserves recognition,” said Bruce Rosenblum, Television Academy Chairman and CEO.

Three short form categories have been added to the competition. Potential entrants are defined as series with a minimum of six episodes running an average of 15 minutes or less per episode, exhibited over-the-air and/or via cable, satellite or Internet. At the next Emmy Awards, you’ll see statuettes handed out for these competitions:

  • Outstanding Short Form Series – Comedy or Drama. This replaces the category known as Short Format Live Entertainment.
  • Outstanding Short Form Series – Variety. This is a new category.
  • Outstanding Short Form Series – Reality/Nonfiction. This replaces the Short Format Nonfiction category.

Additionally, two new acting categories have been created:  Outstanding Actor in a Short Form Series – Comedy or Drama and Outstanding Actress in a Short Form Series – Comedy or Drama.

The Academy is hanging on to its existing Outstanding Short Form Animated Program category.

“What became clear to our board of governors was the volume of work by our members and others in the space [and] the quality of work being executed by our members, is worthy of recognition,” Rosenblum said. “This is not a new space for us, but an expansion of a space we’re already awarding Emmys in. This is an initial step. I expect over time the volume of recognition of terrific work will continue to grow as platforms grow.”

Last month, the Academy announced that going forward the Creative Arts Emmy Awards ceremony will occur over two consecutive nights the weekend prior to the Emmy Awards broadcast. The expanded short form categories will be presented as part of the Creative Arts Emmy Awards ceremonies. “We will make every effort to reduce as much as possible the number of people who need to attend both nights,” Rosenblum promised. “Our stated goal is to limit as much as possible the need to attend both nights.”

The decision to recognize short form categories is the biggest development for the TV Academy’s annual awards ceremony since 2001, when the organization re-thought its nonfiction categories, adding recognition of reality TV programs for the first time. From eight categories in 2001, recognition for reality and nonfiction programming has grown to 22 categories.

“These category changes reflect the broader opportunities that emerging networks and distribution platforms — such as Maker Studios, Fullscreen, Crackle, AwesomenessTV,  YouTube Red, Adult Swim and others — are seizing in choosing innovative formats that enable our television community to share stories in novel and entertaining ways,” Rosenblum said.

  1. I’ve been a member of the Academy for years. It’s evolved to be more inclusive in the area of new technology, etc. and for the most part, that’s a good thing. However, seeing this change for “emerging networks”, etc., is nothing more than big money (studios) manipulating the Academy for more publicity and control over the Emmy process. Crackle is owned by Sony! They’re not “emerging”, they’re simply trying to find a route into the streaming frenzy for more market share. Example: Sony has spent MILLIONS producing “Sports Jeopardy!”. They shoot 52 episodes on the original Jeopardy! stage with the same production staff and crew as the original Jeopardy!. No one’s taken a pay cut, and Sony’s hope for this Crackle show is to eventually sell it to a sports channel and make money off of it. As is, they pimp the show out with product placement ads tht appear within the segments. Shows, such a this, would benefit from an Emmy simply to move it into a more mainstream, money making, arena. When major studios are producing ‘shorts’, etc., there’s a method to their manipulative madness — and, it has nothing to do with ‘art, and everything to do with money.

    In this respect, The Academy has made a big mistake.

  2. I’d think the television academy to my knowledge is trying to make it more confusing and even more stupid then it should be.They should go back to the original rules and make a separate awards(I’m not talking about the creative arts Emmy awards).

    1. It’s really unfair to have network shows competing with cable etal. But two different shows would be difficult.
      Oh great my kids YouTube show will now qualify for an emmy. yippee.

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