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Emmys Shake-Up: TV Series Will Now Compete Based on Genre, Not Time Slot

But there are “currently no discussions” for NATAS and Television Academy to re-merge

In a major shakeup to the Emmys race, the Television Academy and the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences revealed they plan to realign its TV awards categories and have series compete based solely on their genre, not their time slot.

The shift to realign the categories is in response to the changing ways in which people consume television and also follows NATAS’ plan to give the children’s and family shows their own awards ceremony apart from the Daytime ceremony.

However, the two organizations said there are currently no discussions for the Academies to re-merge as one single Academy. What’s more, all the Emmys Competitions and shows will retain their current names in recognition of their longstanding respective legacies. 

Scripted dramas and comedies will now enter the national race regardless of a show’s airtime, though there are some exceptions, as Daytime Drama categories will remain in the Daytime competition and be redefined to include any “multi-camera, weekday daily serial, spin-off or reboot.” And shows intended for audiences 15 and under will be in the Children’s and Family race. But shows that previously were awarded in the Limited Drama categories of the Daytime competition will transition to the Primetime competition.

As for talk shows, they’ll be awarded in each competition, separated by format and style characteristics rather than time slot, and the Morning Show and Spanish-Language Morning Show categories will be retired altogether and be eligible for either the News & Documentary Emmys or the talk show categories. And all other categories will be clarified such that content creators will submit to a single competition on the basis of submission genre, irrespective of airtime.

Most categories will be realigned for next year’s awards race in 2022, though the Game Show and Instructional & DIY categories will still be divided by airtime for next year with the hope they’re realigned by 2023. Further info by category will be revealed beginning in 2022, and the call for submissions will open in January. All the judging periods will be spread out throughout the year to allow for time for submissions and judging.

The two academies will also work together to determine eligibility between competitions and categories and are encouraging producers who are unsure of which competition they’re eligible for to submit to a panel for review prior to submitting for consideration into an Emmys race.

“NATAS and the Television Academy each pride ourselves on celebrating and honoring the best television has to offer, and with the evolution of our industry, it was critical to update our competitions to meet current trends in both content and viewing habits,” Adam Sharp, president and CEO, NATAS, said in a statement. “These changes will allow each Academy to honor an undivided scope of achievement in our respective fields of television excellence.”

“The realignment of these Emmy competitions represents the most significant collaboration between the Television Academy and NATAS since the two became separate entities in 1977,” said Maury McIntyre, president and COO, Television Academy. “We’re proud to be responsive to the needs of the creative community and the evolution of our industry, ensuring the Emmy Award remains the preeminent mark of excellence across all genres of television.”

Tony Maglio contributed to this report.