The ill-timed consolidation of the best TV movie and miniseries Emmy categories will likely be short lived. The TV Academy has started a procedure for the two longform categories to be restored for this year’s Primetime Emmy Awards, putting an end to the category’s two-year merger. “The recommendation has been made to split Outstanding Miniseries or Movie into separate program categories,” a TV Academy spokesperson said in a statement. “This is on the agenda to be discussed at the February 4th Awards Committee meeting.” The move, first reported by TVLine, is the first in a two-step process, with a recommendation first going to the awards committee and then to the Board of Governors for a vote. It was triggered by the so-called “rule of 14” where more than 14 submissions in a category prompts a discussion of creating a new category and fewer than 14 opens a consolidation conversation. The dramatic drop in miniseries production at the end of the last decade — which resulted in only 2 getting nominated in the best miniseries Emmy category in both 2009 and 2010 — invoked the rule of 14, leading to the February 2011 vote to merge the best TV movie and miniseries categories.
One can argue that when made, that decision was already outdated because by early 2011 the miniseries genre was already coming out of the collapse with a number of solid Emmy contenders that year, including the opening installments of PBS’ Downton Abbey, which started off as a limited series; PBS’ Sherlock and BBC America’s Luther; as well as HBO’s Mildred Pierce, ReelzChannel’s The Kennedys, Sundance Channel’s Carlos and Starz’s The Pillars Of The Earth. But the TV Academy continued combining longform categories.