For the past three years, the Outstanding TV movie Primetime Emmy category was won by episodes of TV series, Sherlock special Abominable Bride and Black Mirror’s San Junipero and USS Callister installments. Now the TV Academy is setting a length threshold, 75 minutes, for a program to be eligible to compete as TV movie.
Of the three most recent TV movie Emmy winners only one, San Junipero, would not have been eligible under the new guidelines but the rule change is clearly intended to curb anthology series’ invasion of the TV movie Emmy space.
There also is a new category created for Outstanding Music Composition for a Documentary Series or Special (Original Dramatic Underscore), while the choreography category has been split into two.
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Additionally, the Academy has adopted a new vetting procedure in the Short Form categories. A new rule also allows linear networks to post “hanging” episodes of a series on a digital platform to make them eligible for Emmy consideration as long as they air within the month of June. (the Emmys’ eligibility period goes through end of May.)
Here are the Emmy rule changes in detail:
New Category: Outstanding Music Composition for a Documentary Series or Special (Original Dramatic Underscore)
The Academy has approved the addition of a new category, Outstanding Music Composition for a Documentary Series or Special, recognizing the unique creative process and evaluation criteria for documentary scoring, versus scoring for scripted series or specials.
Restructured Choreography Categories
There will be two separate juried awards:
Outstanding Choreography for Variety and Reality Programming (Variety Series, Variety Special, Structured Reality, Unstructured Reality and Competition Program)
Outstanding Choreography for Scripted Programming (Comedy Series, Drama Series, Limited Series and Television Movie)
Defined Minimum Run Time for Television Movie
The Academy has set a minimum running time of 75 minutes for a Television Movie.
Nomination Tracks for the following Sound Mixing Categories
Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Variety Series or Special: Entries in this category
will be recognized in two genres, variety series and variety specials. The number of
nominees will be proportional to the number of submissions in each genre, with at
least one nomination for each.
Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Nonfiction Program: Entries in this category will be
recognized in two genres, documentary/nonfiction programs and reality programs.
The number of nominees will be proportional to the number of submissions in each
genre, with at least one nomination for each.
Short Form Vetting Procedure
The Academy will adopt a new vetting procedure to identify Emmy-competitive
entries in the Short Form categories on nomination-round ballots.
Panelists, randomly selected from a member pool, will evaluate these entries.
Panel vetting for placement on the nomination-round ballot will apply to Short Form
● Outstanding Short Form Drama or Comedy Series
● Outstanding Short Form Variety Program
● Outstanding Short Form Nonfiction or Reality Series
● Outstanding Actor in a Short Form Drama or Comedy Series
● Outstanding Actress in a Short Form Drama or Comedy Series
New Voting Eligibility for Music Supervisors
Music Supervisors will now vote in all music categories (previously Music
Supervisors only voted for Outstanding Music Supervision).
Voting in both categories shall be determined in a three-step process:
● All entries will be viewed in their entirety by the Stunt Coordination Peer
Group Executive Committee (PGEC).
● Based on a weighted score of all the entries by the PGEC, up to the top 10
scoring entries in Comedy Series or Variety Program and up to the top 15
Drama Series, Limited Series or Movie will be presented to the Stunt
Coordination peer group via “at home” online viewing to determine the
● Winners will be determined by the members of the Stunt Coordination,
Performer and Director Peer Groups via “at home” online viewing of the
Hanging Episode Eligibility
Eligibility changed from “airing prior to the nomination-round voting deadline” to
“airing prior to the start of nomination-round voting.”
Addendum to Hanging Episode Rule:
Programmed networks may post episodes on a distribution platform in advance of
the episodes’ airdates in cases where they otherwise would be “hanging” or
ineligible because they are scheduled outside the eligibility period. Posting must
meet the following criteria:
● Episodes must be posted within the current eligibility year (i.e., by May 31).
● Episodes may be posted on a private distribution platform accessible only to
Television Academy membership.
● Episodes must be the same in form and content as they will later appear in
their regular time slots.
● The subsequent airing of the episodes must take place within the month of
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