EXCLUSIVE: After several unsuccessful attempts in the past, the Primetime Emmy Awards categories for outstanding miniseries and outstanding made for TV Movie categories will merge this year. The decision, which had faced resistance from longform producers in the past, has been approved by Academy of Television Arts & Sciences’ Board of Governors, which represents the TV Academy’s 28 peer groups. The combined category will now be expanded from 5 to 6 nominees.

The vote follows 2 years of a best miniseries category featuring only 2 nominees because of lack of enough qualifying projects as the number of minis has steadily declined over the past 6 years. The Pacific and Return to Cranford were nominated last year, Little Dorrit and Generation Kill in 2009. That triggered an Emmy Awards rule that calls for any category lacking the requisite number of entries required for a full complement of five nominees for two successive years to be reviewed by the Board of Governors.  At its discretion, the board may delete that category, consolidate it with another category or leave it as is. In this case, the board opted for the second scenario. The decision is certain to please the broadcast networks, which have been pushing for the consolidation of the two long-form categories, long dominated by cable, for awhile. That is important for the TV Academy, which is yet to seal a new “wheel deal” with the broadcast nets for the awards show.

Miniseries and made for television movies will now appear in a single, consolidated program category on the nominating ballot, in sync with the rest of the  miniseries and TV movies categories (lead and supporting actor and actress, writing, directing), which also are merged. Additionally, miniseries and TV movies also compete head-to-head at the WGA, DGA and PGA Awards.

In other Emmy rule changes, miniseries will now be entered in the Original Main Title Theme Music category.

Additionally, the cinematography field will be reconfigured to acknowledge the rise of single-camera comedies. Now divided by Cinematography for a Half-Hour Series and Cinematography for a One Hour Series, the categories will be changed to  Cinematography for a Multi-Camera Series and  Cinematography for a Single-Camera Series.