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Television Academy Tightens Emmys Eligibility Window by Ending Hanging Episode Rule

Starting with the 2023 Emmys, shows must premiere a certain number of episodes to the public before the May 31 deadline.

A view of an Emmy statuette

A view of an Emmy statuette

Michael Buckner for PMC

After a marathon couple months of last minute shows contending for awards attention, the Television Academy has announced a tighter Emmys eligibility window next year.

On Wednesday, the organization shared that the Board of Governors approved a decision to eliminate the Hanging Episode Rule. The rule, which is still in effect for prospective 2022 Emmy nominees, allowed for series to still premiere episodes after the May 31 eligibility deadline as long as the final episodes were posted on a platform for Academy members to see before that May deadline, and premiered to the general public before nominations-round voting began on June 16.

The new rules, which go into effect the next eligibility year (June 1, 2022-May 31, 2023), will require a certain amount of episodes have aired already for a series to be in consideration. (Six episodes are required for series in animation, comedy, drama, variety, short form and reality categories. Three episodes are required for documentary series and hosted nonfiction series).

For the most part, every major series contender is already following the rules by having six or more episodes out. However, the rules are now different for limited series, with the TV Academy now asking for all episodes to premiere nationally before May 31. Otherwise, the entire series would be moved into consideration for the subsequent Emmy competition.

Had this affected this year’s nominees, shows like “Under The Banner of Heaven” and “The Staircase” would not be eligible for this year’s Emmys since their entire seasons are not out yet.

For more information on the new rules for series and limited/anthology series eligibility, which will begin with the 2023 Emmy competition, see below:

Series

The required number of episodes from a series must premiere nationally by May 31 to be eligible in the current Emmy competition. (Six episodes are required for series in animation, comedy, drama, variety, short form and reality categories. Three episodes are required for documentary series and hosted nonfiction series).

If a series premieres within the current Emmy eligibility year but doesn’t have the required number of nationally premiered episodes to qualify for its category, the series, along with the individual achievements, would gain eligibility in the subsequent Emmy competition.
If a series qualifies in the current eligibility year, but has additional episodes from its current season premiering after May 31, those episodes will gain Emmy eligibility with the series’ subsequent season.

If the series doesn’t return in the subsequent Emmy competition, those episodes would be eligible as single “orphaned” episodes in certain individual achievement categories. Submission for a body of work (including series and acting categories) would not be eligible under the “orphaned” episodes rule.

Limited/Anthology Series

All episodes/parts of a limited/anthology series must premiere nationally by May 31 to be eligible in the current Emmy competition.

If all episodes/parts do not premiere within the current eligibility year, the complete limited series, along with the individual achievements, would gain eligibility in the subsequent Emmy competition.

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