Primetime Emmy Awards Add Short Form Categories, Expand Number of Directing/Writing Nominees

Earlier this week, the Television Academy announced changes for the
68th Primetime Emmys, including new short form categories.
The Television Academy has expanded its short form categories for the 2016 Primetime Emmy Awards competition, saying it is embracing the proliferation of quality storytelling across both digital and traditional networks and platforms.

In expanding these categories, the Academy further acknowledges the dramatic growth of the work of Television Academy members and others in the production and distribution of short form programs (defined as program episodes averaging 15 minutes or less). Note: Most of the 56 nominated series for this year's Indie Series Awards would fall into this category, though some of the drama series (The Bay, Wintethorne, EastSiders, Anacostia) produce episodes longer than 15 minutes.

Bruce Rosenblum, Television Academy Chairman and CEO said, “Our industry is aggressively, quickly and creatively evolving the various ways episodic stories are told. Our Board of Governors felt that this expansion of short form categories begins the process of ensuring that Emmy-worthy creativity will be rewarded, irrespective of format or platform. These category changes reflect the broader opportunities that emerging networks and distribution platforms, such as Maker Studios, Fullscreen, AwesomenessTV, YouTube Red, Adult Swim and others, are seizing in choosing innovative formats that enable our television community to share stories in novel and entertaining ways.”

The recognition of short form categories parallels the Television Academy’s inclusion of reality programming in Emmy competition in 2001. That year, the Academy reassessed its nonfiction categories when it recognized reality programs for the first time. From eight categories in 2001, recognition for reality and non-fiction programming has grown to 22 categories.

The changes in short form recognition include:

New and expanded categories for Short Form Series: three short form categories are added; potential entrants are defined as series with a minimum of six episodes running an average of 15 minutes or less per episode, exhibited over-the-air and/or via cable, satellite or internet.

• Outstanding Short Form Series – Comedy or Drama (replaces Short Format Live Entertainment category)
• Outstanding Short Form Series – Variety (new)
• Outstanding Short Form Series – Reality/Nonfiction (replaces Short Format Nonfiction category)

New categories for Performers in Short Form Series:

• Outstanding Actor in a Short Form Series – Comedy or Drama (new)
• Outstanding Actress in a Short Form Series – Comedy or Drama (new)

Continuing in the Short Form genre is Outstanding Short Form Animated Program.

The expansion in short form awards categories comes on the heels of the Academy's announcement last month that it will hold its Creative Arts Emmy Awards ceremony over two consecutive nights, both of which will take place the weekend prior to the Emmy Awards telecast. The expanded short form categories will be presented as part of the Creative Arts Emmy Awards ceremonies.

In addition, the Television Academy’s Board of Governors has approved several other Primetime Emmy Awards rules and procedures changes for 2016. These changes include an increase in the number of nominations (from five to six) for directing and writing in both comedy and drama series to reflect the dramatic increase in series production.

Increased the number of nominations from Five to Six in the following categories:

• Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series
• Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series
• Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series
• Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series

Rosenblum added, “The Television Academy is committed to annually assessing the Emmy Award competition to ensure it reflects the dynamic and exciting growth happening within our industry. The changes we are making better align award categories with the various genres of outstanding programming today, recognize the substantial increase in eligible submissions, and streamline the online voting process for our 18,000+ voting members.”

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