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Writers and Directors Guilds Push Back on Plan to Pull Categories From Primetime Emmys: ‘WGA Has Not Agreed to Anything’

TV academy announced Thursday that one writing category and one directing category will move to Creative Arts awards

The Directors Guild of America and Writers Guild of America both pushed back Thursday night against plans by the Television Academy to move four categories, including one for writing and one for directing, from the main Primetime Emmys telecast.

“WGA has not agreed to anything,” a representatives of the guild told TheWrap in a statement. A spokesperson for the Directors Guild of America concurred, telling TheWrap that “The DGA has not signed off on this.”

Earlier on Thursday, the Television Academy announced that this year’s Emmys will be split into six shows — four pre-recorded Creative Arts ceremonies on Sept. 14, 15, 16, and 17, followed by a live Creative Arts Awards on Sept. 19, and then a live Primetime Emmys telecast on Sunday, Sept. 20. All ceremonies will be filmed remotely due to the coronavirus pandemic, and to reduce the logistical challenges brought on by having so many remote feeds during the live broadcasts, the Academy pulled four categories — Variety Series Directing, Variety Series Writing, Variety Sketch Series, and Television Movie — from the main event.

This reduces the number of awards for writing and directing during the Primetime Emmys to three each. However, the TV Academy is contractually obligated to include at least four writing and directing awards. That said, both of the bumped writing and directing awards will air during the live Sept. 19 broadcast, and it’s possible the Academy hoped this would meet the criteria of the agreement.

However this is eventually resolved, the new plan marks a departure from the typical two-night Creative Arts Emmys ceremony held in a normal year. This year’s awards were initially scheduled to be handed out on Sept. 12 and 13 until the pandemic forced the TV Academy to call off the in-person ceremony. Bob Bain Productions will produce the Creative Arts Emmys broadcasts.

Here is how the categories will be broken up, see the full list of categories below.

Monday, September 14: Reality and Nonfiction
Tuesday, September 15: Variety
Wednesday, September 16: Scripted Night One
Thursday, September 17: Scripted Night Two
Saturday, September 19 (FXX): An eclectic mix of awards across all genres

The Television Academy did not immediately respond to a request for comment from TheWrap.