In the age of Peak TV, it’s far too easy for great television to fly under the radar. But the Emmy Awards are attempting to rectify that by expanding the number of nominees in key categories, including its best comedy and drama categories. The comedy and drama categories have been expanded to feature eight nominees, while other categories will expand based on submissions.
Variety reports that the Emmys are making major changes to its key categories in response to the influx of TV shows in this era of “Peak TV.” The Television Academy announced that it is expanding the number of nominations in the comedy and drama categories, regardless of the number of submissions, while other categories will be restructured to reflect the number of submissions “to align the nominations selection process across all awards categories and to allow for more inclusiveness in the recognition of excellence.” The process by which nominees are selected in each category will also change.
Here is how it will work for other categories, which will vary from year to year based on the number of submissions:
1-19 submissions: A sliding scale between zero to 4 nominations
20-80 submissions: 5 nominations
81-160 submissions: 6 nominations
161-240 submissions: 7 nominations
> 240 submissions: 8 nominations
Paired performer categories (like best actor and best actress in a comedy) will be matched in number of nominations. But best comedy and best drama series will have eight nominations each, regardless of the number of submissions — which should still be plenty, considering the abundance of original series on network TV, cable, and now the many new streaming services.
This expansion is in response to growing discussions over whether the categories should expand due to the sheer abundance of TV series vying for awards prestige every year. According to the TV Academy, Emmy submissions for 2020 have increased by 15% over the previous year. The last time the Academy expanded the drama and comedy categories was in 2015, when the nominees were upped to six. But Variety reports that the number of TV series “continues to balloon,” with 532 scripted original series in 2019. And let’s not even talk about the hundreds of original titles that Netflix debuts per month.
“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,” said Television Academy Chairman and CEO Frank Scherma. “Despite production suspension resulting from COVID-19, there is a wealth of excellent work submitted for this year’s competition.”
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