The Television Academy revealed today rules changes that will impact the 2021 Emmy cycle. Chief among the changes are the re-merger of the Variety Talk and Variety Sketch Series categories into Outstanding Variety Series. Another major change is the inclusion of anthology series into the limited series race, forming an Outstanding Limited or Anthology Series category.
For now, the merge of the Variety categories likely means that high-profile talk series such as John Oliver will overshadow some of the gains made by critically acclaimed variety series like Black Lady Sketch Show. Perennial winner Saturday Night Live seems unlikely to remain impacted by the shift.
Here is the full press release from the Television Academy detailing the changes, which take effect with the 73rd Emmy Awards.
The Television Academy’s rules changes for the 73rd Emmy Awards competition have been announced, including new and restructured awards categories.
“Our annual review of Emmy rules and procedures is more important than ever,” said Television Academy Chairman and CEO Frank Scherma. “Our Awards Committee and Board of Governors undertake this annual evaluation with a very thoughtful and analytical approach, to ensure that the Emmys remain relevant and in step with our industry’s ongoing evolution.”
As a result of that process, the Board approved a number of changes for the 2021 Emmy Awards rules and procedures, as recommended by the Awards Committee, notable of which are:
Variety Talk and Variety Sketch Series merged into one category: Outstanding Variety Series
Variety Talk and Variety Sketch Series were previously awarded in one category, until they were split in 2015. The categories have been re-combined into one category for Outstanding Variety Series.
Categories for individual achievements in Variety Series will continue to include both Variety Talk and Variety Sketch Series.
Short Form Comedy/Drama Series and Short Form Variety Series merged into one category: Outstanding Short Form Comedy, Drama or Variety Series
The two short form program categories, both of which include scripted programming, have been combined into one category for Outstanding Short Form Comedy, Drama or Variety Series.
Anthology Series eligibility moved to Limited Series, creating new Outstanding Limited or Anthology Series category
Anthology series will now enter the Emmy competition with Limited Series, resulting in a new category — Outstanding Limited or Anthology Series. This will align storytelling formats throughout the competition. Individual achievements will compete in the relevant categories as defined by the program category.
Previously, an anthology series could enter the competition in either the Comedy or Drama Series categories, or entrants could break up the series into individually entered, stand-alone movies.
New category: Outstanding Stunt Performance by an Individual or Team in a Drama, Comedy, Limited Series or Movie
This new award will recognize stunt performers themselves; previously, there have only been stunt coordination categories.The award will acknowledge actual stunt artists whose performances across the global television medium are integral to storytelling each season. Team entries will be capped at four entrants.
Additional items and clarifications include:
To clarify the distinction between theatrical motion pictures and television movies during the ongoing pandemic, any non-documentary film placed on the AMPAS viewing platform for Oscar consideration will be deemed a theatrical motion picture, and thus ineligible for the Emmy competition.
Additionally, the previously announced rule will apply: Effective in 2021, any programs that have been nominated for an Oscar are no longer eligible to enter the Primetime Emmy Awards competition.
In regards to Children’s Programming, as previously confirmed on Nov. 2, the Television Academy and the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences have agreed to migrate all potential Children’s Programming entries previously submitted in the Primetime Emmys to the Daytime Emmys. In addition, Children’s Animated Programs, which target an audience aged 6-12, will also migrate to the Daytime Emmy competition.
As the majority of Children’s Programming categories have historically been awarded in the Daytime Emmys, the decision eliminates confusion and streamlines the submissions process.
Daytime Programming, Children’s Programming and Animation peer groups will continue to vote on excellence in children’s programming for the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences’ Daytime Emmys.
Additional changes or clarifications were approved that maintain the integrity of the Emmy Awards in many Creative Arts categories, by further defining eligibility and qualifications, refining the submissions processes and requiring added pre-entry vetting. In some cases, existing categories have been combined or streamlined. The complete list of awards changes for the 73rd Emmy Awards can be found at Emmys.com/rules/changes.