Tuesday, June 27

New rules for Emmys rock Hollywood

Source: The Chronicle Herald

LOS ANGELES — In a town where self-recognition is an art form, Hollywood is afraid that some of its stars are not receiving enough attention.

The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, the overseer of the annual Emmy Awards for prime-time television, has revamped its procedures in an attempt to spread the wealth of Emmy nominations — if not the actual awards — to a broader array of actors, actresses and shows.

That could result in some overlooked and new titles — like "Gilmore Girls" or "Battlestar Galactica" — making the list of nominees in the top Emmy categories for the first time when this year’s nominations are announced on July 6.

The nature of prime-time television is that successful shows run for several years with largely the same casts. That dictates that the Emmys, unlike the Oscars, Tonys and Grammys, do not field a unique group of candidates each year.

As a result, each year’s list of nominees "tends to be a same-old, same-old situation," said John Leverence, senior vice president for awards at the academy. "You might well get a 60 percent to 80 percent repetition of the prior year’s nominees."

The rule changes, however, should result in "a quantitative and a qualitative freshening of the pool," Leverence said.

The changes have Hollywood buzzing.

"It has been a big topic of conversation," said Michael Jelline, a talent agent at International Creative Management.

"The television landscape and the types of programs being done has grown exponentially" with the addition in recent years of original series on cable networks like FX, TNT and Showtime, Jelline said. "That has brought a different realm of shows into the conversation. But the system by which shows are voted on has not changed."

Until now. In past years, the whittling of the 4,500 entries to five nominees in each category was a two-step process. The members of each academy peer group — performers, directors, makeup artists and the like — voted on the eligible shows, with the top five vote-getters in each category being named as nominees. The winner was then chosen by smaller panels of peer-group members.

This year an interim step has been added. The first vote narrows the eligible shows to a list of 10 or 15 potential nominees, and a specially chosen committee then screens and rates an episode of each of those shows, with the ratings used to narrow the list to five nominees. Then a larger panel of peer-group members, numbering from a dozen to several hundred depending on the category, votes to determine the winner.

Because of the academy’s adding both a screening and a committee vote to the nomination process, performers and shows that might not have placed high enough in a popular vote get another chance to impress their peers.

Newshound: Reverend J

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