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Emmys: New Rules in Comedy Directing and more plus your 2018 Emmy Calendar

From left: Emmy winners Debra Messing, director James Burrows and Eric McCormack from NBC’s Will & Grace

Almost every year, the Television Academy tinkers and tweaks with its rules for the upcoming awards season. Sometimes this is done to catch up to new avenues of television viewing like how to incorporate streaming networks. Sometimes it’s to change how voting for nominees and winners happens (there used to be elite, ‘blue ribbon’ panels).

This year brings another selection of rules, some of which might seem a bit regressive; the new Comedy Directing rule details that there must be at least one nomination from a multi-cam program. Recent years have shown a severe decline in multi-cam shows being recognized at the Emmys and the new head of the directing branch, Mark Cendrowski, has helmed no less than 219 episodes of the most successful multi-cam, The Big Bang Theory. For his efforts he’s received two DGA nominations and zero Emmy noms. This new rule can’t help but seem a bit vindictive. But, you can count on 10-time Emmy winner James Burrows earning his 26th directing nomination for the reboot of Will & Grace.

Here are some updates, changes for the 2018 Emmys plus some specific details that you’ll want to know ahead of making your predictions. Keep an eye out for official Emmy predictions this week.

NOMINATION PROCEDURES

In general, there will be five nominations in each category and area (exceptions are comedy and drama series where there will be seven nominations in each category and variety talk series, variety sketch series, structured reality, unstructured reality and realitycompetition programs and comedy and drama series directors, lead, supporting, guest performers and writers, and limited series directors, lead and supporting performers and writers, and technical direction for a series where there will be six nominations in each category/area).

TIES

In the case of ties, the closest number to five will prevail, unless there are fewer than three or more than seven nominations, in which case the Primetime Awards Committee will determine the number of nominations.

• Ties that include the possibility of the total number of nominations being 1 number from the target number of nominations break in favor of the higher possibility, e.g., 4 or 6 breaks to 6.

• Ties that include the possibility of the total number of nominations being 2 numbers from the target number of nominations break in favor of the lower possibility, e.g., 3 or 7 breaks to 3.

• Ties that include the possibility of the total number of nominations being 3 numbers from the target number of nominations are resolved by the Awards Committee, e.g., 2 or 8 does not automatically break and must go to the Awards Committee for a final decision.

• In a category where the ideal number of nominations is five and the fifth and sixth top vote-getters are within 2% of each other, both are included in nomination.

• The 2% rule will continue to apply to Outstanding Comedy Series and Outstanding Drama Series categories. If one or more series receives at least 98% of the votes as the seventh-place nominee, then that series or those series will also be nominated for the category. However, in no event will there be more than nine (9) nominees in either of the categories.

• The 2% rule will apply to the Outstanding Lead Actor/Actress and Outstanding Supporting Actor/Actress in both Comedy and Drama series categories. If one or more performers receive at least 98% of the votes as the sixth-place nominee, then that performer or those performers will also be nominated in the applicable category. However, in no event will there be more than eight (8) nominees in any one of the categories.

AWARDS-ROUND EMMY JUDGING

Nominees are not eligible to vote for themselves in the awards-round of voting.

Judging of individual achievement categories is restricted to peer judging (e.g., only writer members may judge writing categories, only director members may judge directing categories, etc.) unless otherwise indicated.

DIRECTING AWARDS

OUTSTANDING DIRECTING FOR A COMEDY SERIES – For a single episode of a regular series Entries in Category 26 will be recognized in two genres: multi-camera and single camera. The number of nominees will be proportional to the number of submissions in each genre, with at least one nomination for each.

OUTSTANDING DIRECTING FOR A REALITY PROGRAM – For a single episode of a reality or reality-competition series or special An individual may enter multiple achievements in reality directing if the achievements are for different programs. Emmy to director whose screen credit is director or directed by (segment directors are ineligible). ELIGIBILITY CLARIFICATION: Eligible director must have contributed 60% or more of program content. Eligibility for this individual achievement category is limited to structured, unstructured and reality-competition programming.

HAIRSTYLING AWARDS

Entries must be accompanied by a 75-word or less statement of the techniques employed in the execution of the achievement. Statement must describe how the hairstylists transformed the actor with the use of hair tools and products to achieve the various looks for the entry.

Hairstyling entrants will be asked on the entry form if their on-set work was digitally modified in post-production. If yes, the entrant will be required to include the post-production editor’s description of how and to what degree the artists’ on-set work was modified in post-production.

LIGHTING DESIGN/LIGHTING DIRECTION AWARDS

Director of Photography is not an eligible title in the Lighting Design/Lighting Direction categories. An individual with a Director of Photography credit who functioned as a Lighting Designer may petition under this new rule for eligibility as a Lighting Designer by submitting a copy of the Lighting Design Plots and a letter from the Executive Producer stating the same. Moreover, an individual with a Director of Photography credit, who functioned as a Lighting Director, may petition for eligibility as a Lighting Director, when part of the Lighting Designer’s team with a letter from the Lighting Designer and Executive Producer stating the same.

MAIN TITLE AND MOTION DESIGN AWARDS

A Main Title is defined as a stand-alone sequence displaying at least one of the following: the name of the show, the logo of the show, key production members and/or cast members.

Motion Design is defined as time-based visual art that manipulates typography, forms, images, illustrations, film, and photographic imagery through a discernible design process. Accepted work includes stand-alone pieces or parts of longer shows.

MAKEUP AWARDS

Makeup entrants will be asked on the entry form if their on-set work was digitally modified in post-production. If yes, the entrant will be required to include the post-production editor’s description will of how and to what degree the artists’ on-set work was modified in post-production.

Statement must describe how the makeup artist transformed the actor with the use of makeup tools and products to achieve the various looks for the submission.

MUSIC AWARDS

Submissions for all music categories can be made by the individual composers/songwriters or composer/songwriter teams. Producers, networks, studios, public relations or awards representatives are eligible to submit on behalf of the composer, but the composer will be emailed a notice of the submission. The composer will need to sign the notice verifying that they approve (or not approve) the submission.

Nominating procedures for music and lyrics and main title theme music categories:

• When five or more entries receive a voting score of 75% or above, there will be a total of five nominees. PRIMETIME RULES AND PROCEDURES 45 Version 3 updated 3/6/18

• When only four entries receive a voting score of 75% or above, there will be a total of four nominees.

• When only three entries receive a voting score of 75% or above, there will be a total of three nominees.

• If there are no entries that receive a voting score of 75% or above, then the three highest vote-getters (regardless of voting score) will emerge as the three nominees.

• There will never be fewer than 3 nominees. • Ties may result in additional nominee(s).

PERFORMERS

It is the decision of the entrant whether to enter as a lead, supporting or guest performer, however, only performers appearing in less than 50% of the eligible episodes are able to submit in the Guest Performer categories and only performers appearing in 50% or more of the eligible episodes for short form programs are able to submit in the Short Form Performer categories.

All performers must enter categories that follow the categorization of their shows, e.g., if a show is entered as a comedy series, all performers must enter comedy series categories. Following up on the above example, this placement rule would hold true even if the episode being entered is a “dramatic” rather than a “comedic” episode.

GUEST PERFORMERS must provide a 50 word or less log line of their storyline from the ONE episode chosen for entry.

SUPPORTING PERFORMERS IN MOVIES OR LIMITED SERIES: The minimum on-screen time for eligibility in the supporting performer categories for movies or limited series is 5% of the total running time of a movie or a complete limited series.

Performers on variety sketch series may enter in lead, supporting or guest comedy categories, however, only performers appearing in less than 50% of the eligible episodes are able to enter in the guest categories.

The principal host for variety series and the principal host/performer for variety specials are eligible to be entered with the program categories. Secondary performers are not eligible.

Voice-over performers enter in the character voice-over category and narrators enter in the narrator category. Neither may enter in lead, support or guest performer categories.

PROGRAM AWARDS

Emmy(s) to producer(s) whose specific screen credit is Executive Producer, Co-Executive Producer, Supervising Producer, Producer or Produced by, and whose functions support those credits.

Comedy and drama series producer eligibility: An eligible producer must have worked and have an eligible screen credit on at least 50% of the eligible series episodes.

OUTSTANDING COMEDY SERIES – Entries are limited to a maximum of 11 entrants.

OUTSTANDING DRAMA SERIES – Entries are limited to a maximum of ten entrants.

OUTSTANDING LIMITED SERIES – Entries are limited to a maximum of five entrants.

OUTSTANDING TELEVISION MOVIE – Entries are limited to a maximum of five entrants.

OUTSTANDING VARIETY TALK SERIES – Entries are limited to a maximum of seven entrants.

OUTSTANDING VARIETY SKETCH SERIES – Entries are limited to a maximum of seven entrants.

OUTSTANDING VARIETY SPECIAL (LIVE) – Entries are limited to a maximum of five entrants.

OUTSTANDING VARIETY SPECIAL (PRE-RECORDED) – Entries are limited to a maximum of five entrants.

SOUND EDITING AWARDS

OUTSTANDING SOUND EDITING FOR A COMEDY OR DRAMA SERIES (ONE HOUR) – For a single episode of a regular series.

OUTSTANDING SOUND EDITING FOR A COMEDY OR DRAMA SERIES (HALF-HOUR) AND ANIMATION – For a single episode of a regular series.

2018 Emmy Awards Calendar

June 1, 2017 – May 31, 2018
Eligibility period (please also refer to the “hanging episodes” rule)

March 1
Online entry process begins. Rules and Procedures available at Emmys.com/downloads

April 18
Deadline to apply for membership in order to receive the member entry fee discount.
Application must be completed and paid in order to qualify.

April 27, 6:00 PM
Entry deadline for ALL entries that were originally presented 6:00 PM – 2:00 AM,

June 1, 2017 – May 31, 2018

May 10
Deadline to apply for membership to guarantee eligibility to vote in both rounds of the 2018
Primetime Emmy competition, and for members to apply for hyphenate voting status.
Application must be completed and paid in order to qualify.

May 31
Deadline for former members (whose membership has lapsed within the preceding four years)
to reinstate membership and be eligible to vote in both rounds of the 2018 Primetime Emmy
competition.

June 11
Nomination-round voting begins

June 25, 10:00 PM
Nomination-round voting ends

July 12
Nominations announced

Week of August 6
Awards-round videos available for viewing

August 13
Awards-round voting begins

August 27, 10:00 PM
Awards-round voting ends

Saturday, September 8 & Sunday, September 9
Creative Arts Awards and Ball

Monday, September 17
NBC Telecast and Governors Ball

For the full list of 2018 rules and procedures visit emmys.com.

About Erik Anderson

Erik thanks his mother for his love of all things Oscar, having watched the Academy Awards together since he was in the single digits; making lists, rankings and predictions throughout the show. This led him down the path to obsessing about awards. Much later, he found himself at GoldDerby, led by Tom O’Neill and then migrated over to Oscarwatch (now AwardsDaily), headed up by Sasha Stone before breaking off to create AwardsWatch. He is a member of the International Cinephile Society, GALECA (The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics), the International Press Academy and is the founder/owner of AwardsWatch.

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