Academy tweaks Emmy rules

Variety/music category among those changed

Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert won't be losing to Tony Bennett and Barry Manilow at the Emmys again.

The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences has tweaked its rules in several categories, including splitting the Individual performance in a variety or music program field into two: one for hosts of comedy/variety/music series and one for performers in such specials.

The rule change reverts the nominations setup to the way it was before the two categories were combined in one category in 1997, resulting in some awkward face-offs.

For instance, in 2007, Tony Bennett was nominated in the category for his NBC music special and won against Ellen DeGeneres, nominated for her Oscar hosting duties as well as the hosts of three late-night shows, Stewart, Colbert and David Letterman.

The year before, Manilow's performance in his music specials won over Colbert, Letterman, Craig Fergusoon and Hugh Jackman (for his Tony hosting duties).

Since the categories were merged, not a single time a host of a talk show series has won, with either musicians -- Barbra Steisand, Sting, Bennett, Manilow, Bette Midler -- or the stars of comedy/standup specials – Don Rickles, Elaine Stritch, Eddie Izzard John Leguizamo -- taking the category, sprinkled with the occasional victory for an award show host -- Jackman for the 2005 Tonys, Billy Crystal for the 1998 Oscars.

Other Emmy nomination rule changes:

-- Outstanding voice-over performance for animated series will no longer be a judged but a full-fledged category.

-- Outstanding children's program has been separated into two categories -- for informational/nonfiction and entertainment children's programming.

-- Art Directors for multi- and single-camera series will compete separately.

The changes follow ATAS' decision last month to expand the best series and best series acting categories from five to six slots each.

The new Emmy nomination rules will be posted on ATAS' Web site Friday. The deadlines for nomination submissions for the 61st Emmy Awards is April 24.
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