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February 20, 2015

Television Academy Announces Primetime Emmy Awards Rules Changes

Changes Reflect Membership Growth And Television's Dramatic Content Expansion

The Television Academy has passed a group of new Primetime Emmy Awards rules which reflect the increasingly varied and expanding television landscape.

Bruce Rosenblum, Television Academy Chairman said, "We are thrilled to announce that our Board of Governors and senior industry executives have taken meaningful time to address, in a forward thinking manner, many of our existing rules and procedures. Our over 17,000 voting members represents a dramatically changing television industry and we want to continue to make sure we honor their creativity in the most relevant and fair ways possible.

"As our growing membership creates and produces more content for ever-changing platforms, today's changes in the rules and procedures are vital. We're sure that in coming years we will continue to evolve our rules as our dynamic industry grows."

The changes include:

Expansion of Final Round Voting: In an effort to increase member participation in the voting process, and to take advantage of the Academy's extension of online voting to both rounds, all voters eligible to vote in a category's nominating round are now eligible to vote in that category's final round, so long as they meet two additional requirements: much like the former Blue Ribbon panel process, voters must watch the required submitted material online and attest to no specific conflicts of interest with the nominees.

Expansion of Nominees for "Comedy" and "Drama" Series Categories: Due to the dramatic increase in series production, the number of nominees for "Comedy" and "Drama" series has been increased from six to seven.

Clarification of a "Comedy" and "Drama" Series: To clarify the difference between the "Comedy" and "Drama" series categories, any series where the average length of an episode is approximately 30 minutes is eligible to enter as a "Comedy"; any series where the average length of an episode is approximately 60 minutes is eligible to enter as a "Drama."

Producers may formally petition a new Academy industry panel to consider their series' eligibility in the alternative category. This nine-member panel will include five industry leaders appointed by the Television Academy Chairman and four appointees from the Board of Governors. A two-thirds vote of this Industry Panel is required for petition approval.

All programs entering the competition this year will be grouped according to these new definitions.

Definition of "Series" and "Limited Series": "Mini-Series" will be changed to "Limited Series" and defined as programs of two or more episodes with a total running time of at least 150 program minutes that tell a complete, non-recurring story, and do not have an ongoing storyline and/or main characters in subsequent seasons. "Comedy" and "Drama" Series will continue to be defined as programs with a minimum of six episodes which have an ongoing storyline, theme and main characters presented under the same title and with continuity of production supervision.  Any narrative series with at least two but no more than five episodes will be considered a "Limited Series."

Producers may formally petition for review by the aforementioned industry panel to change category eligibility.

Definition of "Guest Actor": Only performers appearing in less than 50% of a program's episodes are now eligible to submit in the "Guest Actor" category.

Split of Variety Series category: The Variety Series category is now split – Outstanding Variety Talk, to be awarded during the Primetime Emmy telecast, and Outstanding Variety Sketch, to be included in the Creative Arts Emmy program.

The complete list of Rules and Procedures for the Primetime Emmy Awards will be available in March at TelevisionAcademy.com.

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