Emmys open up awards to web series
James R | On 04, Mar 2016
The Emmys is opening up its doors to web series, as part of a wave of new reforms to its awards.
The TV Academy has accepted shows such as House of Cards and Transparent, which are released online, for some time, but the new rules will open up the playing field even further to short-form content, which is more typical of the kind of independent series produced for YouTube, Vimeo and Instagram every day.
That means networks such as Maker Studios and Awesomeness TV will be in the running for awards, but also means that individual filmmakers could stand the chance of picking up a streaming accolade. Or, to put it another way, it’s now possible for PewDiePie to win an Emmy.
New award categories include Oustanding Actor / Actress in a Short-Form Series and Outstanding Short-Form Series, as well as separate categories for Outstanding Short-Form Series (Comedy or Drama) and Outstanding Short-Form Series (Reality / Non-Fiction). Any series that runs for six episodes or more, with an average of 15-minute episode runtimes or less, are eligible for the new prizes.
This move forms the first peer-voted awards for web series, with other US prizes, such as the Webbys and Streamys, allowing the public to vote for winners.
“Our governors recognize the volume of really exceptional work of our members and the people on other platforms,” Academy chairman and CEO Bruce Rosenblum told The Hollywood Reporter. “Look at the quality of talent working in this space. It’s the responsibility of our organization to recognize that.”
The expansion in short form awards categories comes on the heels of the Academy’s announcement last month that it will hold its Creative Arts Emmy Awards ceremony over two consecutive nights, both of which will take place the weekend prior to the Emmy Awards telecast. The expanded short form categories will be presented as part of the Creative Arts Emmy Awards ceremonies.
The Academy is also adding an additional nominee (six, rather than five) for writing and directing categories, as well as abolishing ranked voting during final rounds – previously, voters ranked their choices in order of preference, but will now be asked to vote for just one winner.
Emmy nominations for this year will open on 13th June.