Emmys 2020 Rules Changes Include Extra Vetting for ‘Self-Published’ Series

TV Academy also tightens rules for episodes broadcast after the eligibility period

Last Updated: December 18, 2019 @ 10:10 AM

The Television Academy announced several minor rule changes for the 2020 Primetime Emmy Awards, making tweaks to the eligibility period and adding tighter restrictions for “self-published” series.

The most notable change on the list is the expansion of the vetting stage for all “self-published” series, which was first introduced ahead of the 2019 awards ceremony in the short-form category. Per the new rule, “All self-published programming (including short form) will be vetted to determine if the program is suitably competitive to be placed on the nominee ballot.”

Programs, as well as individual achievements therein, will not appear on the ballot unless approved.

The TV Academy also tightened the eligibility requirements for so-called “hanging episodes” — episodes of a series which air after the May 31 cutoff. In order to be considered for the current year, episodes of both ongoing and limited series will have to be made available on the academy’s private screening platform before the cutoff in order to be considered.

See the complete list of changes below:

Tightened eligibility for Series and Limited Series episodes broadcast or posted after the end of the eligibility year.

This new rule applies only to “hanging episodes” in regular or limited series–i.e., episodes that originally air after May 31, the end of the eligibility period. This rule supersedes the previous hanging episodes eligibility rule.

Series: If hanging episodes scheduled for air after May 31 are broadcast or posted on a member-accessible platform (i.e., the network’s streaming platform or the Television Academy’s private platform) in their final, ready-for-air form by May 31, 2020, those episodes will be included in the current-year eligibility.

Hanging episodes not broadcast or posted per the above specifications are ineligible for inclusion in the current-year eligibility.

Limited Series: To qualify for entry, the complete limited series must be broadcast, posted on the network’s streaming platform or on the Television Academy’s private, member-accessible platform by May 31, 2020. If the limited series has one or more hanging episodes, parts which are not broadcast or posted in this manner by May 31, the complete limited series, along with the individual achievements, must enter in the subsequent year’s competition.

Limit entry for performers playing the same character in more than one series.

Performers playing the same character in more than one series may only enter their performance for one of those series during the eligibility year.

Limit voting for Outstanding Children’s Program (for both nomination and final voting rounds).

To ensure that experts in the genres are deciding who should be recognized, the Children’s Programming Peer Group has limited the ability to vote for Outstanding Children’s Program to Children’s Programming Peer Group and Animation Peer Group voting members only.

Change Outstanding Informational Series or Special category to Outstanding Hosted Nonfiction Series or Special.

The retitled Hosted Nonfiction Series or Special category accommodates and more accurately defines personality-driven programs in which the host drives the show’s narrative; includes documentaries, travelogues, segmented/magazine program and interview formats. 

Vetting of Self-Published Programming.

All self-published programming (including short form) will be vetted to determine if the program is suitably competitive to be placed on the nominee ballot. Additionally, no individual achievement(s) within the self-published program may be entered unless the program is approved.

Limit Specials Produced From a Daytime Series.

Programs first broadcast during primetime hours that are an extension of or a special produced from a daytime series are now only eligible in the Daytime Emmy competition.

The complete list of awards changes for the 72nd Emmy Awards–including revised category descriptions for Outstanding Structured Reality and Outstanding Unstructured Reality Programs, streamlined and realigned Interactive Programming categories, Makeup and Hairstyling categories, and Sound Mixing and Technical Direction categories–can be found at Emmys.com/rules/changes.

Restructured entry fees:
New fees for individual achievement entries are:
$100 processing charge per submission.
$100 fee for each entrant/individual submitted.
Example: A costume design entry fee for two individuals is $100 + $200, for a total of $300 for the entry.

New fees for program entries are:
$200 processing charge per submission.
$100 fee for each entrant/individual submitted.
Example: The entry fee for a Comedy Series that has only one producer is $200 + $100, for a total of $300 for the entry.
Television Academy national active and associate members will continue to receive an entry fee discount on up to two entries.

Elimination of DVD Screeners:
As announced previously, the Academy has eliminated DVD screeners for the 2020 Emmy eligibility period as part of its awards nominating and voting process.

The move is aimed at saving the television industry tens of millions of dollars and positively impacting the environment via elimination of waste. In 2020, screening of eligible programs will take place exclusively on the Television Academy’s viewing platform or digital platforms hosted by production and distribution entities. Additional information is available in the article “Academy to Eliminate DVD Screeners for 2020 Emmys.”

Awards Department Restructuring:
To better serve members and industry partners, the Television Academy’s Awards department has merged with the Membership department. The streamlined new department, Awards and Member Services, will be led by veteran Television Academy staffer, Julie Shore. During her tenure at the Academy, Shore has built invaluable relationships with networks, studios, agencies and individual producers throughout the industry.

Now, as Vice President, Awards and Member Services, Shore takes on oversight of the Board Relations and Membership department, which includes new awards and member services managers who are addressing member applications and peer group inquiries as well as assisting with awards entries.

After nearly 40 years of service to the Television Academy and oversight of 39 Emmy Awards, Senior Vice President of Awards John Leverence will retire at the end of the year. He has presided over significant growth and dynamic change in the awards competition, including the recognition of reality and short form programming and the integration of premium cable, satellite and streaming distribution platforms. Leverence will continue to serve as an awards consultant for the 2020 Emmy Awards season.

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