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Every year, the Emmy Award nominations are announced and immediately met with equal amounts of fanfare and backlash from TV audiences everywhere. And not just about who did or didn’t get nominated, but about the actual categories themselves, and the seeming lack of hard lines between them. All that may change, however, now that a bunch of new and revised rules have been put into place to make things a little clearer.

Let’s take a closer look at each of the new changes that the Television Academy will take into account for this year’s nominations and awards.

Definition of “Series” and “Limited Series”

Remember when Fargo and True Detective were in different categories, despite being the exact same kind of show? That won’t happen anymore, as the “Miniseries” is now the “Limited Series,” and will account for any program with more than 2 episodes, a running time longer than 150 minutes, and a storyline and character set that won’t move on to subsequent seasons. Meanwhile, “Series” will keep the designation of any program with a minimum of six episodes with characters and storylines that continue from season to season.

Definition of a “Comedy” and “Drama” Series

Now that we have a solid definition of a series, the distinction between comedies and dramas can now be made. (This should seem like a no-brainer, but you know how things are.) This relatively simple rule now labels “Comedies” as anything with episodes that are 30 minutes or less, while “Dramas” are shows with episodes longer than 30 minutes. Sorry, everyone who thinks that Transparent and Nurse Jackie are more dramatic than comedic, but special cases can be made for exceptions.

Expansion of Nominees for “Comedy” and “Drama” Series Categories

The Academy recognizes that the abundance of original programming across networks and streaming services can no longer be limited to just six nominees. As such, both the “Comedy” and “Drama” categories will now have seven nominees. It seems like the rest of the categories will stay the same, however.

Definition of Guest Actor

Boy, I know I’ve seen thousands of bar fights break out over what does and doesn’t count as a TV guest actor. (Zero fights, really.) A guest actor will now be someone who appears in less than half of a series’ episodes. Makes sense.

Split of Variety Series Category

This is one of the cooler changes, to me, as Variety Series will now be split between normal talk shows and sketch shows. I think we can all thank Comedy Bang! Bang! host Scott Aukerman for being so outspoken about this change. (Or maybe someone else.) Outstanding Variety Talk will be handed out during the Primetime Emmy broadcast, while Outstanding Variety Sketch will get second-tiered to the Creative Arts Emmys.

Expansion of Final Voting Round

To thwart its lazier voters, the Academy is offering an extension on its online voting for both the nominating round and then the final round. This has almost nothing to do with average TV viewers, though.

Do you guys think that these changes will make this year’s Emmys a more enjoyable experience?
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