The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences announced today several changes to the rules and procedures for the 2010 Primetime Emmy Awards.  Every year, the Academy’s Board of Governors reviews in detail the rules and procedures for each award to determine if any updates or changes are required. This year’s changes below:


Raise the bar from 2/3 approval to 9/10 approval in order to decrease the number of multiple winners in the “more than one” option for area awards.  The Board of Governors felt this would curb awards proliferation and heighten the standards for selecting area awards honorees.


Restrict all series program BRP panelists to no more than two straight years judging the same category.  This will allow a greater variety of members to take part in the vote for both Outstanding Comedy and Drama Series.


If an ongoing series has enough episodes in the current eligibility year to qualify as a series and has one or more episodes that are part of the series season that fall into the subsequent eligibility year, the “hanging episodes” that are in a contiguous rollout on the same distribution platform join in eligibility the already-qualified-as-eligible episodes of the series. For example, a comedy series that regularly airs on a weekly basis that has six episodes in the 2010 eligibility year and has two more episodes of its series season airing subsequently and on the same platform in the 2011 eligibility year would enter all eight episodes in 2010 eligibility.  On the other hand, a comedy series that has two episodes in the 2010 eligibility year and six more episodes airing subsequently on the same platform in the 2011 eligibility year would enter the eight episodes only in 2011.   They would not be allowed to “sneak” the six episodes, e.g., post them on the internet or air them in an obscure time spot, in order to qualify the series in 2010.


The “2% Rule” considers a 2% or less gap between nomination candidates to be a dead heat and includes both in nomination, e.g., in a category where the ideal number of nominations is 5 and the 5th and 6th top vote-getters are within 2% of each other, both are included in nomination. This rule does not apply to categories where the ideal number of nominations is six.  Only in the case of a tie between the 6th and 7th place vote-getters will there be seven nominees.


There are two program-categorization changes this year in animation:  1) programs less than hour and more than an hour – formerly two separate categories – consolidate into a single category; 2) Short-format animated programs move out of Special Class into a new category. In the newly consolidated category, the number of nominations for half-hour and hour programs will be proportionate according to the entries.  For example, if there are 40 entries for half-hour programs and 10 entries for hour programs, the five nominees will consist of the four top vote-getters among half-hour programs and the one top vote-getter among the hour programs. In the new short-format category, there will be a single winner. This is a change from last year, when short-format animation was in the Special Class area (possibility of one, more than one or no winner). These changes accommodate the fact that the ranks of animated programs more than an hour are diminishing  and short-format animated programs (primarily web-platformed) are increasing.


The Board of Governors considered the following question this year: should an individual or the same team be allowed to enter multiple achievements in the same category if the achievements are for different programs?  For example, if a performer does a guest actor appearance on The Office and another guest appearance on 30 Rock, should he have to choose one or the other (as has long been the case), or should he have the option of entering both?  The Board approved the latter, reasoning that entrants should be given the latitude to allow the voters a full range of choices on the nominating ballots.


Series entrants may include up to three pieces of choreography per choreographer/choreography team from a single series.


The six guest performer nominees in each category will be determined by the first-round vote of the Performer Peer Group.  This change now makes the guest performer nominee selection process consistent with the Lead and Supporting Performer categories.


The number of individuals that can be petitioned for by the department head will change from two to four.


Effective for the 2010-2011 awards year, the Main Title Theme category will be eliminated and replaced with a new category, “Music Composition for a Nonfiction Program.”  Details about the placement of main title theme achievements are still being discussed by the Music PGEC.  This change was made due to the decreasing number or traditional television main title theme music.


Even if there is a preponderance of informational/documentary content in a program that is a hybrid of reality and informational/documentary elements, the inclusion of any reality content requires its placement in the Reality Program category.