Game Changer: The Emmys Switch Up Categories, Voting, and More

And you thought that award season was over

With this year’s Oscars—arguably the most anticipated and prestigious awards show—in the rearview mirror, you’d think that we would all be able to take a breather from making predictions and talking about shiny statues, right? Well, you would be wrong. Dead wrong.

The 67th Primetime Emmy Awards won’t be broadcast until September 20, but the Television Academy has decided to shake things up this week with a handful of new rules for the soon-to-be-exclusively Internet TV streaming awards. Some of the changes make sense and might make the broadcast more interesting, and others sound a bit…ridiculous. Let’s go through them all now to make sure we’re prepared and ready to cheer/complain when the 2015 Emmys sneaks up on us later this year.

“Best Comedy” and “Best Drama” nominees expanded to seven

OK, the Oscars have been playing with this whole “more equals better” concept, and it doesn’t seem like it actually makes anything more exciting. That being said, one extra show per category might give smaller shows like Jane the Virgin a chance to truly shine. Or it could let crazy-large shows like Empire compete against Television Academy–favorites like Mad Men and House of Cards. All in all, this doesn’t seem like a horribly controversial change.

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The term “Miniseries” will be replaced with “Limited Series”

The Academy defines a limited series as a series with “two or more episodes with a total running time of at least 150 program minutes that tell a complete, non-recurring story, and do not have an ongoing storyline and/or main characters in subsequent seasons.” This will finally stop people from yelling at their TV screens when the reoccurring American Horror Story is nominated against something like HBO’s John Adams. Hopefully it will also finally define what True Detective and Fargo actually are (besides awesome).

The definition of “Guest Actor”

Apparently there was a large amount of discrepancy within this category, but now only actors who were in less than 50% of the submitted episode are eligible for the Emmys’ strangest awards of the night. They don’t even get to make a speech for it, right? The winners just come out and wave. Glad we finally cleared up who gets to wave next year. My vote is for Jon Hamm in Parks and Recreation.

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The “Variety Series” category will be split in two

Before, talk shows and sketch shows vied for the same pointy statue, but now The Daily Show and Saturday Night Live can both win Emmys. The only difference, is that the “Outstanding Variety Sketch” series will be awarded at the Creative Arts Emmys, which means you won’t see it, know what won, or care. Honestly, one of the best parts of past Emmys broadcasts were the videos that the Variety Series writers submit, and they cut those out last year. Maybe this split will bring them back (please)?

The final round of voting has expanded to more members

“In an effort to increase member participation in the voting process, and to take advantage of the Academy’s extension of online voting to both rounds, all voters eligible to vote in a category’s nominating round are now eligible to vote in that category’s final round, so long as they meet two additional requirements: much like the former Blue Ribbon panel process, voters must watch the required submitted material online and attest to no specific conflicts of interest with the nominees.” This means nothing to a viewer, so I…don’t care.

“Comedy” and “Drama” have been redefined

This year you won’t see Orange Is the New Black nominated for “Best Comedy Series” because it no longer qualifies. The Television Academy has decreed that comedies are shows that are only thirty minutes long. Everything else is now considered a drama series. This is really unnecessary, especially considering how diverse and innovative television has gotten within the last few years. Limiting comedic shows to the half-hour format defeats the purpose of changing the Emmys for the future. I secretly hope that all comedies in the next few years are an hour long, just to screw with this new system.

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