The debate over what constitutes a drama series and miniseries was reignited today by the notable omission of the Emmy-winning Fargo from the WGA Award nominations unveiled this morning. It turns out the reboot was not submitted by FX after the WGA declined to recognize the 10-parter as a miniseries.
FX’s John Landgraf has been particularly vocal about defending the network’s decision to submit anthology series American Horror Story and Fargo as miniseries at the Primetime Emmys and objecting to HBO’s move to submit the similarly structured True Detective as a drama series earlier this year. While the TV Academy allows the producers of projects that have dual eligibility, qualifying for two categories, to pick which field they want to compete in, the WGA does not give such flexibility as it goes off its own rules. The guild did not recognize AHS as a miniseries when FX submitted it as such in Season 1. As a result, the network has not put up the horror franchise up for a WGA Award.
FX tried again with Fargo. “The network initially submitted Fargo in the longform category based on the fact that the 10 one-hour scripts – all written by Noah Hawley – tell a single, close-ended story, and therefore Fargo is a miniseries,” the network said. “The WGA does not recognize Fargo as a miniseries because Noah Hawley was accorded a ‘Created for Television By’ credit and said that Fargo could only be considered in the drama series category.”
The “Created by” credit is an argument also used by the TV Academy to establish eligibility of such limited-run series as dramas, as was the case with True Detective. FX, which has submitted Fargo as a miniseries at the Emmys and the Golden Globes, did not agree with the guild’s ruling. “Since Fargo is not in fact a drama series, and it is in fact a miniseries, FX made the decision not to submit Noah Hawley and his brilliant scripts for WGA Awards consideration,” the network said.