Emmys Push Voting and Eligibility Windows, Ban "FYC" Events Amid Coronavirus Concerns

Emmy Statuettes - H Getty 2018
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TV Academy leadership met (remotely) on Thursday evening to discuss the novel coronavirus pandemic’s impact on the 2020 Emmys — one of the few marquee events on Hollywood’s calendar that, until now, had remained unaffected by COVID-19.

And while the 2020 date for the Primetime Emmys is not changing, the calendar is shifting and all “For Your Consideration” events this campaign season have officially been suspended. The Board of Governors voted to shift the initial round of voting to accommodate the uncertainty in the month of May — when campaigning typically gets into full swing. In lieu of a late June window for the first round of voting, nomination round voting will now run July 2 through July 13. Nominations will be announced July 28.

Additionally, the entry deadline for submissions has been pushed nearly a month to June 5. Series still need to have premiered by May 31, but “hanging episodes” and the required six-episode runs to qualify will have to have either been broadcast or posted on an accessible platform by June 30. That’s an extra month to accommodate production and post-production delays.

Though it is something of a no-brainer at this point, the TV Academy is taking a firm stance on FYC events, suspending them for this season whether with “a live audience, streaming or recorded for posting on a viewing platform.”

Some TV Academy leadership spoke with a group of executives from several platforms and studios on Monday to talk through questions about how the “Safer at Home” order would impact campaigning — particularly ahead of phase one of voting. Most plans for how campaigning will be carried out are firm by the start of April. But few seem sure of how to approach an Emmy campaign season right now when both the voting body and the persons pitching their projects are likely to remain cloistered at home for a considerable portion of it. Multiple awards strategists who spoke with THR throughout the week expressed a their frustration over the lack of clarity on the calendar — and over how to approach Emmy-eligible projects. Some report actors and showrunners completely put off by the suggestion of even planning for future campaign activities, while others point to examples of people who are anxious over the lack of planning.

Not that there’s any shortage of eligible projects, but coronavirus has also forced several high-profile projects out of contention — thanks to the stoppage of production and post-production on all scripted programming. Two such efforts, the fourth installment of FX’s Fargo and HBO’s Nicole Kidman vehicle The Undoing, were both expected to be forces in the limited race but have since had to push their premiere dates.

There is an entire economy built around Emmy campaigning, and it’s only become more robust as the number of series and platforms has skyrocketed in recent years. Cutting through the noise means hosting panels, sending mailers, stunts and expensive outdoor, print, radio and TV advertising, each an expensive endeavor that requires significant planning. Considering the new constraints, strategists will likely have to take dramatic new approaches.

On the bright side, neither Emmy voting nor Emmy campaigning require face-to-face meetings. DVD screeners were recently banned by the TV Academy, so all eligible projects are made available to stream online.

Final round of voting is essentially still on course for the same window, albeit shortened by four days and running Aug. 21 through Aug. 31. After that, the 2020 Primetime Emmys (airing on ABC this year) are slated to to be handed out Sunday, Sept. 20 — with the Creative Arts Awards taking place over two separate events the weekend prior. A release accompanying the news did note that situation, of course, remains fluid and that both the TV Academy and ABC will monitor recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the L.A. County Department of Public Health.

The Revised Emmy Awards Calendar

June 5: Entry deadline
July 2: Nominations-round voting begins
July 13: Nominations-round voting ends
July 28: Nominations announced
August 21: Final-round voting begins
August 31: Final-round voting ends