The Emmys are changing their categories, affecting shows like Last Week Tonight With John Oliver. Last Week Tonight has won the Emmy Variety Talk category for the past seven years, but that streak will end as the show will no longer be illegible for the category.
The Television Academy announced that the new changes will go into effect for the 75th Emmy Awards. These changes include replacing the Variety Talk and Variety Sketch Series categories with Talk Series and Scripted Variety Series.
The academy has defined the categories as “Outstanding Talk Series: Programs where a significant portion of the running time consists of unscripted interviews or panel discussions between a host/hosts and guest celebrities or personalities. A Talk Series can include scripted elements and other aspects of a variety series such as monologues, musical performances, etc., so long as the main intent of the program is interviews/discussions.” and “Outstanding Scripted Variety Series: Programs that are primarily scripted or feature loosely scripted improv and consist of discrete scenes, musical numbers, monologues, comedy stand-ups, sketches, etc. Scripted Variety Series may occasionally feature unscripted elements, but the main intent of the series is scripted or performed entertainment.”
“The Television Academy’s Awards committee and Board of Governors carefully review Emmy rules annually and adjust and refine competition requirements, often with input from television leaders, to reflect and support the current industry environment,” said Frank Scherma, Television Academy Chairman and CEO.
According to the new categories, shows like Last Week Tonight are now Scripted Variety series, not Talk series. Last Week Tonight will now be up against sketch and variety programs, including Saturday Night Live, which is on its own six-year winning streak.
Other new changes include a cap on Nominations-Round Voting, meaning “The number of selections each voting member is allowed to make per category in first-round voting will now be capped at the number of nominations specified for that category. Members will no longer be allowed to vote for an unlimited number of selections in any category.”
There have also been changes made to tracked categories. The Academy has released that “The Single Camera and Multi-Camera Picture Editing for a Comedy Series categories have been combined into the tracked category Picture Editing for a Comedy Series. The Cinematography for a Single Camera Series (half-hour) and Multi-Camera Series categories have been combined into the tracked category Cinematography for a Series (half-hour).
In addition, a trigger has been added to all tracked categories such that during any year in which the number of submissions for each track is 20 or more, the category will automatically be split into separate categories for that year. In 2023 there will be 16 categories with tracks, which could potentially be split.
Finally, the minimum number of submissions required to include a nomination track in a tracked category has been changed to 5% of the total number of submissions but no less than three submissions.”
Changes have also been made to Game Show Categories and when it comes to Line Production. Line Producer has been added as an Emmy-eligible credit in Outstanding Talk Series, Outstanding Scripted Variety Series, Outstanding Variety Special (Live) and Outstanding Variety Special (Pre-Recorded).
While all the changes will affect this year’s awards, the change in Talk Show definition may be the most noticeable to fans. Late-night talk shows had been a part of the Variety Series category until the category was split into Variety Talk and Variety Sketch in 2015. The upcoming category changes were likely due to the number of late-night and sketch shows diminishing over the last few years. In 2021, there were five nominees for Variety Talk Series. This year would have only had four nominee spots with only 19 submissions. The Variety Sketch category has also lost nominees with only two shows, SNL and The Black Lady Sketch Show, nominated for the last two years.
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