Emmys Update Submission Rules Ahead of Voting, Lowering Threshold Required for Nom and Invites Members to Join Scripted Variety Jury

Ahead of the Emmy nomination voting on Thursday, the Television Academy has revised its Emmy rules regarding submissions and nominee numbers. This update will significantly impact the scripted variety category, which includes “Last Week Tonight With John Oliver” and “Saturday Night Live.”

The new Rules and Procedures document on the Emmys website, updated on May 22, details changes under the Nominations Procedures section. Previously, categories with fewer than seven submissions required contenders to be screened by a peer group, with nominees needing at least 90% approval. If no submissions met this threshold, the highest vote-getter would be declared the winner.

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The updated rules have lowered the nomination threshold from 90% to 70%, as well as capped the number of potential nominees at two.

In 2023, the scripted variety category had 12 submissions, resulting in three nominees. This year, Variety has been tracking only four expected submissions: last year’s winner John Oliver, “SNL,” CBS’s “After Midnight” hosted by Taylor Tomlinson and HBO/Max’s now-canceled “Painting With John.” Variety has also confirmed Netflix’s “The Magic Prank Show With Justin Willman,” which had planned its campaign in the scripted variety space, was not accepted in the race. Instead, it will compete in outstanding structured reality program alongside its streaming counterparts, “Love Is Blind” and last year’s winner “Queer Eye.”

A notable issue that’s been bubbling the past few weeks is not having a specific peer-group for “scripted variety.” Traditionally, this category is one of 17 races that are voted on by the entire membership, not a particular group. The TV Academy has addressed this by an email sent to members on June 5, inviting them to serve on the jury. The viewing and voting period for juries is from June 28 to July 8, taking place after the nomination voting period for all other categories, which runs from June 13 to 24. The deadline to sign up for the jury is June 21.

The vetting process requires members to list their involvement with any scripted variety series and acknowledge they will watch all videos before voting.

The scripted variety and talk series categories are continuing to face significant challenges that will likely spark significant updates or a category merge next cycle. The talk series race, which had 19 submissions last year, is expected to have only 13 this year. This would be a significant decrease that could potentially yield only three nominees with names like Jimmy Kimmel, Seth Meyers, John Mulaney and Stephen Colbert in the running.

Other language updates in the rules were found under sound mixing and special visual effects awards. The former reads, “There is no guarantee that all entrants listed will be approved by the Peer Group Executive Committee, regardless of past rulings.”

The latter is found in the “voting” section, stating, “A panel comprised of voting members from the Special Visual Effects Peer Group will prescreen all submissions to determine the nominations.”

Official submissions will be revealed when voting opens on Thursday, June 13.

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