The Primetime Emmy’s race has always including five nominees. The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences expanded the best drama and comedy categories to six shows in 2010 to make room for the competition, (a record-setting seven comedies were nominated in 2009). This has nothing to do with the official rules, but with how the Academy’s voters actually voted on each show.
The ATAS is now considering a shift to ten nominees in the comedy and drama category for the 2013 ceremonies thanks to the shift of PBS’ Downton Abbey and BBC America’s Luther to the drama category. Previously, both shows contented in the miniseries category. However, The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences suggested that the British Downton Abbey, which airs as part of the “Masterpiece” series on PBS shift to the drama category because of Emmy regulations.
According to the Emmys rule book, a miniseries consist of “a single theme or story line which is resolved in a single piece,” while a drama series is “an ongoing story line or theme, and characters are presented in under the same title with the continuity of production supervision.”
Confusing? Yes. Essentially, Downton Abbey isn’t a miniseries anymore because the period piece, which centers on a family in pre- and post- World War I Britain, would have a second season. If a second season is to be had, it is designated as a drama, not a miniseries.
Another British import, Luther starring Idris Elba will also be making the move to the drama category in 2013. Elba was nominated for an Emmy last year in the miniseries actor race, and also won the Golden Globe this year for his portrayal of the title character.
Expanding the categories to 10 nominees may make many fans happy, fans of shows that are Emmy worthy, but are often snubbed by the academy.
2013 will be a very competitive year for the drama category, especially if Downton and Luther enter the crowded category, which include last years winner Mad Men, along with The Good Wife, Boardwalk Empire, Game of Thrones, and Dexter.
NBC’s Smash, FX’s American Horror Story, HBO’s Luck, ABC’s Revenge, and Showtime’s Homeland are just a couple of worthy freshman series looking to make their way into the Best Drama category in 2013. NBC’s Parenthood, FX’s Justified, Showtime’s Shameless, and TNT’s Southland are other veteran shows that have tried to break into this category for years with no luck at whatsoever. With all these new and returning shows trying to get a piece of the Emmy pie, including AMC’s Breaking Bad, which will be eligible this year, the Best Drama series category is going to have to be expanded to ten nominees or a lot of series are going to be snubbed.
The same thing goes for the comedy category.
Modern Family, Glee, The Office and 30 Rock have monopolized the comedy category for the last few seasons, not letting in room for critically acclaimed, but always ignored comedies Community, Cougar Town, The Middle, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and Raising Hope to enter the race. With Parks and Recreation and TV’s top comedy The Big Bang Theory finally being recognized with nominations last year, and first-year series New Girl and Up All Night possibly entering the fray in 2013, the competition is starting to get crowded, and the Academy is going to have to do something about it.
Hopefully this goes into effect for the 2013 awards show. I love reigning comedy and drama champions Modern Family and Mad Men, but it would be nice to see other deserving shows get nominated from time to time, just to shake up the competition a little bit.
We’ll just have to wait and see what The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences decide on, and hopefully it’ll be expanding the categories, and spreading the Emmy love around to some new and deserving shows.