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TV Academy Expands Emmy Comedy and Drama Series Nominees After Submissions Boom

Comedy and Drama series will each boast eight nominees, an expansion over previous years.

The Emmy Awards

The Emmy Statue

Danny Moloshok/Invision/AP/Shutterstock

The Television Academy has once again clarified the upcoming Primetime Emmy Awards picture with an announcement of rule changes, including the expansion of the Drama and Comedy series categories to include eight nominees, regardless of the number of entries.

Further, the group has changed the number of nominations for all other categories, fixed to a sliding scale based on the number of submissions per year. It’s a move made in the interest of increasing “inclusiveness in the recognition of excellence,” according to the Academy.

“The increase in submissions is a reflection of the number of new voices, new television platforms and a tremendous growth in content from existing platforms across our industry,” Television Academy Chairman and CEO Frank Scherma said in a statement. “Despite production suspension resulting from COVID-19, there is a wealth of excellent work submitted for this year’s competition.”

In addition to inclusivity, the organization also made changes thanks to a marked increase in entrants for 2020 — which increased by more than 15 percent over the previous competition year. The degree of growth from year-to-year is astounding, given last year’s Emmy voters’ unhappiness with the overwhelming nomination ballot.

Worth noting is that by expanding the Comedy and Drama series categories to eight nominees, the TV Academy eliminates the need for its prior 2 percent rule, which stated with regards to five-nominee categories, if the fifth and sixth top vote-getters are within 2 percent of each other, each submission receives a nomination.

For all of the other categories, the Academy will now determine the number of nominations using the following criteria:

1-19 submissions: A sliding scale between zero to four nominations
20-80 submissions: five nominations
81-160 submissions: six nominations
161-240 submissions: seven nominations
> 240 submissions: eight nominations

Another rule adjustment from the TV Academy declared that paired performer categories (such as Supporting Actor in a Comedy and Supporting Actress in a Comedy) will have parity in the number of nominations.

The rules change is the third Emmy-related news drop in as many days. Monday saw the elimination of the Governors Ball and the transition of the Creative Arts Emmy Awards to a virtual ceremony, and on Tuesday, ABC announced that Jimmy Kimmel will host the 72nd Primetime Emmy Awards ceremony, as scheduled, on September 20. The Academy offered no further hints as to what form the broadcast might take.

A full list of Emmy Rules and Procedures can be found at emmys.com.

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