Emmys Shake-Up Includes New Reality-TV Races, Potentially More Best Series Contenders

Emmy Awards Changes 2014I’ll say this up front: This won’t necessarily make the Emmys telecast run longer.

But three months before this year’s eligibility period closes and nominations begin to crystallize, the Television Academy has announced a half-dozen changes for the 66th Primetime Emmy Awards, to be handed out in late August.

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As previously reported by TVLine, the Outstanding TV-Movie and Outstanding Miniseries categories have returned to being separate, after several years of merging the two. However, performance categories for TV-movies and minis will remain consolidated, though the number of nominees has expanded from five to six.

Among the other changes, the Outstanding Reality Program (for non-competition series) has been split into two: Outstanding Structured Reality Program (e.g. Mythbusters, Antiques Roadshow) and Unstructured (e.g. Duck Dynasty, Pawn Stars).

Also, the Outstanding Voice-Over Performance category will now award separate prizes for Outstanding Narrator and Outstanding Character Voice-Over Performance.

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The other changes in place for the 66th Primetime Emmy Awards:

* The number of nominees for Outstanding Comedy and Outstanding Drama could expand to seven, if a program’s total first-round votes are within 2 percent of the sixth-place series.

* Nominations for Outstanding Technical Direction/Camerawork/Video for a Series will expand from five to six.

NBC will broadcast the Primetime Emmy Awards on Monday, Aug 25, while the Creative Arts Awards portion of this year’s kudosfest will be held Saturday, Aug,. 16.

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  1. TV Gord says:

    They seem to be sensible adjustments, and I can see that they wouldn’t add more time to the run of the show (not that it matters to me; I’m one of those TV nerds who enjoys the show from beginning to end…most years).

  2. GuessWhat says:

    what’s next — adding “best walk-on performance from a contest winner” ??!?!?!

  3. Scooter Smith (@scoboot) says:

    Honestly, I wish they had a category like the daytime Emmys for younger actor and actress. Not necessarily broken out by category, but as a whole. This would be of benefit to amazing younger actors that won’t get recognized because the genre they are in or because they are just too young for old emmy voters to give them a fair shake. I.E. Dylan O’Brien from Teen Wolf, Chandler Riggs from Walking Dead, Sarah Hyland from Modern Family, Robbie Kay from OUAT, etc.

  4. flutiefan says:

    Sound like good changes & additions.
    I’d also support a “younger artist” category.

  5. N tTVf says:

    I know this is going to sound bad, and perhaps not necessary, but in all honesty, I think somehow the Emmys need to break out categories for ‘broadcast’ and ‘cable’ television for comedy and drama series.

    Broadcast television still receives the majority of viewership each week, and to place shows like Modern Family, Blacklist, Scandal, HIMYM, TBBT, PoI, Parenthood. etc. up against cable shows is not a fair fight. The Emmy voters are drawn to the ‘cool’, hip shows on cable, and the broadcast shows are relegated to second class status. So, when a viewer tunes into the Emmy Awards show, the only broadcast shows consistently receiving emmys are the reality shows. That’s a shame, and doesn’t give broadcast television its proper respect.

    Here’s my proposal – create six more categories only for broadcast television – best drama, best comedy, best actor & actress in drama, best actor/actress in comedy. This will help give more visabiltiy to both the people in front of and behind the camera on these and other broadcast television series, and show a bit of love to people like Monica Potter/Parenthood, the people behind the scenes at shows like HIMYM, new shows like Blacklist – people who I believe would be in serious contention for emmys were it not for all the great cable shows on television.

    That would give the six networks – ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, CW and PBS a chance to shine, and would include shows like ‘Downton Abbey’ in the mix of nominations. Those nomination lists would be full of talent and quality that might someday begin to match the lists we now see for cable TV.

    • Ing says:

      Totally agree! I think more people would watch the Emmys if this actually happened. My mom watched half of the Emmys last year and fell asleep. She didn’t know anything or anyone from the shows that were winning because we never have had HBO or Showtime. We watch the broadcast stations. My point being that I expect not as many people watch the Emmys due to the fact that they don’t have cable or specialty cable and have no idea who or what they are watching win. It’s not entertaining if you don’t know any of the nominees or winners.

    • Scooter Smith (@scoboot) says:

      I don’t see that as necessary. I mean yes, they sometimes can dominate the nominations. But in all honesty, its because they have higher caliber acting. 5 years ago or more, when they had just as many cable shows on the air, Broadcast actors/actresses were winning most of the awards. As far as Series goes, Cable dominates the dramas, because they have more time and more leeway to make better versions, but great broadcast shows still get nominated (Good Wife, Friday Night Lights). On the other hand, Cable shows rarely get anything in the way of comedy. The last ten years the series winners were either Modern Family, 30 Rock, or The Office. If you start handing out participation trophies to everyone, you will wind up rewarding mediocrity and have a show like “Man Up!” lasting 6 years and winning 3 emmys. Nobody wants that.

  6. skrable2 says:

    Even if you were to split the categories into “broadcast” and non-broadcast” (to include Internet series such as “House of Cards”), at what categories would you draw the line?

    Series and acting? It wouldn’t be long before the writers, directors and other crafts would want to have their categories split up as well.

    I agree, broadcast series get the short shrift these days because it’s almost a kneejerk compulsion that “hip cable shows” must dominate the nominations … but unless you go the route of the Grammys and have 946 categories so no one feels slighted, I’m not sure there’s a way to fix the system

    • NJMark says:

      The Grammys cut way back on categories over the last few years. Male and female awards have been combined into “solo,” and some areas were eliminated completely.

  7. cjeffery7 says:

    to suggest that any reality show is unstructured… riiiiiight