About a dozen changes to the Emmy Awards rules have been announced by the the Television Academy this week, including new rules regarding “hanging” episodes and voting in the children’s categories. The rules will take effect during the 2020 Emmy Awards nomination and voting process.
The first significant change made to the rules is that so-called “hanging” episodes, or episodes of a series that air outside the window of eligibility for their current year, may now be considered for the following year’s Emmys. For example, this means that any new episodes of a series that aired after the 2019 Emmys this September may now be considered for the 2020 Emmys. The catch is that the hanging episodes must be available on a “member accessible platform” to be considered; in other words, the Television Academy members have to be able to stream the hanging episodes, either on the network’s streaming platform or the Academy’s own platform. This rule change will mostly benefit shows that already exist on streaming platforms, like Disney+’s The Mandalorian, which aired after the 2019 Emmys had already been decided. The switch to using the Academy’s streaming platform is part of an initiative to stop sending out DVD screeners to eliminate waste.
Changes have also been made to the nomination and voting rules in several categories. In the children’s categories, only Daytime and Animation Peer Group voting members will be allowed to vote, with the goal being to limit the voting pool to only individuals who are experts in children’s content. The Academy will also be reviewing all self-published and short-form submissions before putting them up for vote to determine whether the content is “suitably competitive.”
The category descriptions for Outstanding Structured Reality and Outstanding Unstructured Reality Programs, Interactive Programming categories, Makeup and Hairstyling categories, and Sound Mixing and Technical Direction categories have all been updated. The Informational Series or Special category been re-titled the Hosted Nonfiction Series or Special category, to emphasize the importance of the personality-centered style of documentary.
After overseeing all of these changes, Senior Vice President of Awards John Leverence will be retiring from the Television Academy at the end of this year. Leverence has worked for the Academy for 40 years and has overseen 39 Emmy Awards shows.