After allowing “Jane the Virgin,” “Glee” and “Shameless” to compete as comedies after they successfully petitioned earlier this week, the TV Academy has denied Netflix’s request for the same consideration for “Orange is the New Black” at this year’s Emmys. Variety broke the bad news to Jenji Kohan’s hour-long Netflix series, about to start its third season in June. “Orange is the New Black” competed as a comedy for its first season, earning 12 nominations and three wins, but will face tougher competition on the drama side in 2015.
New rules handed down for this year’s ceremony prohibit series longer than 30 minutes to compete as a comedy without clearance from a nine-member committee made up of industry leaders, five of which are appointed by the TV Academy chairman and four by the board of governors. All episodes of a series must be submitted to the panel, who then decides “as to whether it predominantly takes a comedic or a dramatic approach to the material.”
While the decision is potentially catastrophic for “Orange is the New Black’s” Emmys chances, it does open the door for a few new series to sneak in and steal its spots. The big winner has to be “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” which opened to solid reviews two weeks ago and will now have the full weight of Netflix’s marketing machine behind it for awards season. We’ll see if they can work their magic for a series slightly more quirky and far less dramatic (obviously) than “Orange.” The streaming giant could also choose to throw its weight behind “Grace and Frankie” for the comedy categories, as its older cast could be more appealing to Academy voters.
“Transparent” could also benefit from the decision, as Jill Soloway’s show tries to capitalize off its Golden Globes wins earlier this year. Triumph at the Globes doesn’t always translate to success at the Emmys, but Amazon has to feel better about scoring an Outstanding Comedy Series nod with “Orange” out of the picture.
Odds for “Togetherness” — with HBO, a long-running awards seasons MVP, behind it — “The Comedians” at FX and “Parks and Recreation” at NBC all also have to be jumping with joy over the enforcement of these new rules (not to mention the three shows listed above that did have their petitions validated).
Perhaps more important than the politics is the decision itself: Is this the right choice? Is “Orange is the New Black” more of a drama than a comedy? Arguments can obviously be made either way, but the TV Academy certainly took a strong stance today after appearing oh so lenient earlier in the week. Tell us what you think of the decision below, dear readers, and make sure to check out our Emmys predictions pages as well.