The WGA said today that submissions for its 2019 WGA Awards are now open, while unveiling some rules tweaks that clarify the organization’s guidelines for limited series as well as adjust the eligibility period window on several TV categories to fall in line with the calendar year.
Among its changes, the guild has amended its rule that allowed for a pilot script that exceeded one hour to be eligible for consideration in the Long Form/Limited Series categories or new media motion picture. The original rule, meant to address TV movies that served as proof of concept for a full series but were also broadcast as a stand-alone program if the full series was not ordered, now says that “all pilot scripts must now be submitted in Episodic Drama or Episodic Comedy categories, regardless of their broadcast or exhibition length.”
Limited series are already prohibited from competing in the Drama, Comedy and New Series categories, and drama series canceled after one season can’t submit a limited series.
Meanwhile, several categories are joining the Theatrical Screenplay race in observing a calendar-year eligibility period: Long Form, Episodic Animation, Children’s, Short Form New Media, Comedy/Variety, Quiz and Audience Participation, Documentary, Daytime, and On-Air Promotion.
With the transition, this year Long Form, Episodic, Animation, Children’s and Short Form New Media will have a one-time eligibility period extension from December 1, 2017-December 31, 2018, with the other five now set for October 1, 2017-December 31, 2018. The move will allow fall series into the mix in the year they premiere.
News, radio/audio and digital news categories will remain the same, with programs broadcast between October 1, 2017-September 30, 2018.
Another rules tweak came in the Short Form New Media categories: writers may now submit up to four episodes (each under 15 minutes in length), with a synopsis covering the remaining episodes. The award will now be given to all credited writers on a new media series rather than to one writer or writing team credited for a single episode, syncing it with the submission rules for the awards’ Original/Adapted Longform and Limited Series categories.