2014 Emmy Awards: The Categories Need a Change

Aug 6, 2014

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TV is evolving at an extremely fast rate. Shows have become more serialized and less episodic in order to appeal to a binge watching culture. This evolution has allowed for TV to become more realistic and complicated. Writers and actors work to create well-rounded characters that have wins and losses just like the rest of us. As a result, some television shows no longer fit into a traditional genre. But award shows – like the Emmy Awards – haven’t updated their award categories to reflect this.

Just take a look at one of this season’s most popular series, “Orange is the New Black.” This Netflix series has taken off and become one of the most watched and talked about shows in a long time. It’s also one of the most nominated TV shows for the 66th Primetime Emmy Awards. It’s racked up nominations for many of its stars, all in the comedy category. This show is fantastic, and definitely deserves to be nominated…but it’s not really a comedy. The prison abuse, drug overdoses, and unwanted pregnancies probably shouldn’t fall under the “comedy” umbrella. But at the same time, there have been countless times where I have laughed out loud at “OITNB.” There should be more room at the Emmys for shows like this. So, I’m asking the Television Academy to evolve with TV.

The Emmy categories need to be shaken up, or at least more well defined. Should someone who is critical to the plot line and in every episode of a season be nominated as a “guest star” (Natasha Lyonne, “Orange is the New Black”)? And should a show with 13 episodes per season that’s been on air for 3 years be considered a “mini-series” (“American Horror Story”)? These shows and performers deserve to be recognized, but they deserve to be recognized for what they actually are. The current Emmy categories don’t really allow for that.

The Television Academy has already begun to change up some of the categories, which means they’re probably aware that more needs to be done. For example, this year they’ve split the “reality” category in two: “structured” (think “Antiques Roadshow” and “MythBusters”) and “unstructured” (think “Deadliest Catch”). They’ve also increased the number of nominees in each category from five to six. There have been talks about splitting the “drama” category into two as well: 22 episode seasons and shorter form seasons. This would give more dramas the chance to be nominated, leaving more room for the comedies. Though, Academy Chairman Bruce Rosenblum has said that the solution for this problem is not more categories.

For the most part, I’m pretty happy with this year’s nominees. The competition was incredibly tough this year, and the shows that deserve to be recognized are being recognized, even if they don’t necessarily fit in to their categories. Hopefully, though, we’ll see a change in how these shows are categorized in the near future.

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  • Andrew Ryback Reply
    2018-03-07 21:55:41

    We're glad you found this to be useful, Margaux. Let us know if there's anything we can help with.

  • Margaux Ford Reply
    2018-03-07 05:57:06

    I appreciate the tips on hiring a production staffing company to have more time to focus on the creative aspects of the project. Hiring a production crew is a tedious task, and can take up much of your time. We're currently working on a huge production, and I'll share this article with my boss so he'll consider on delegating the recruitment to a staffing company. I like that you mentioned that staffing company can ensure to have the right team onboard for the project. Thanks!

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    2017-10-31 19:05:18

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  • Nicole Rohde Reply
    2017-05-27 22:28:45

    Hey Andrew, Any word as to whether or not the Jokers will be back for Comic Con this year? Please let me know. Thanks!!!

  • Aaron Estabrook Reply
    2017-02-23 16:26:57

    I'll be tuning in for sure!

  • David Patton Reply
    2015-01-16 13:16:02

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  • Andrew Ryback Reply
    2015-01-13 14:44:19

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  • Gregory Hart Reply
    2015-01-13 06:35:00

    While I am part of the 55 year old demographic that still has TV boxes and does TV viewing, I do my viewing using DVRs and networked PCs playing video files from an in-home server. I too have noticed that I view a handful of shows on a regular basis and have found various other sources for these shows. And now it has gotten to the point to where I am seriously considering ending my very long relationship with DirecTV and going streaming. Working in the TV industry also helped to open eyes to this as well. This transition from "old" TV is coming and the networks (Les Moonves, I am looking at you!) had better plan for it.

  • Gary Reply
    2013-08-08 09:44:39

    You've left out a HUGE part of this story by not mentioning Howard Stern's effect on the Sharknado buzz! #siris-ly

  • Marybeth Harrison Reply
    2013-08-07 14:46:29

    I can almost hear the theme song from Jaws as I read your post!