Emmys Change Rules: 7 Series Nominees, Comedy Defined as Half-Hours

Orange is the New Black Still - H 2014
Courtesy of Netflix

Orange is the New Black Still - H 2014

The Television Academy issued a series of changes on Friday morning, including a change from "mini" to "limited."

The Television Academy is trying to clear up some ambiguity that's clouded recent awards. In light of the Choose Your Own Adventure approach many have taken in regard to what category their series is submitted for, the Emmys have new rules for comedy, drama and miniseries categories — and some of the changes might upset a few familiar nominees.

Most notably, the TV Academy is defining a comedy as a series with episodes that run 30 minutes or less. That means 2014 nominee Orange Is the New Black will now have to enter the drama category. The bright side to that is that the drama and comedy races will include one more nominee this year, with seven series competing in both categories.

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

Additionally, the miniseries race will now be referred to as "limited series," taking its cue from the buzzword dropped by so many television execs in recent years. "Limited" is 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." Quite the mouthful.

The guest actor race also is changing, cutting out faces that are particularly familiar on many series to exclude any actors that appear in more than 50 percent of a program's episode.

Variety series will now be two different categories: outstanding talk variety and outstanding variety sketch — the latter will be relegated to the Creative Arts ceremony.

Expanding membership also means expanding participation. All members eligible to vote in a category's nominating round are now eligible to vote in that category's final round.