The Emmys’ Rules Change; Orange Is the New Black No Longer a ‘Comedy’

Wait, what? Photo: Jessica Miglio/Netflix

The TV Academy is making some significant changes to the rules governing the Emmy Awards. A year after the hour-long Shameless and Orange Is the New Black competed in the comedy categories, the Academy has decided that such category-blurring will no longer automatically be allowed. “To clarify the difference between the 'Comedy' and 'Drama' series categories,” the Academy says in a press release announcing the changes, shows that run 30 minutes or less will now be classified as comedies; those more than 30 minutes will be considered dramas. After HBO ticked off some of its rivals by entering True Detective in the series category — even though it was presented as a limited series with nonrecurring characters — the Academy has also decided that only shows that “have an ongoing storyline, theme and main characters presented under the same title and with continuity of production supervision” will be able to compete in the series categories. The miniseries category will be retitled “limited series” and will include productions of at least two and a half hours that “do not have an ongoing storyline and/or main characters in subsequent seasons.” (Translation: The second installments of True Detective and Fargo should now square off against each other in the 2016 Emmy battle.) Finally, because of  “the dramatic increase in series production,” seven shows — instead of six — will now compete in both the Best Comedy and Drama categories. The TV Academy says the changes will go into effect immediately, but it also offered the possibility that some shows will be able to break the new rules. It plans to establish a special industry panel to hear complaints from producers and networks that want to switch categories; if two thirds of the panel signs off, the change will be allowed. One thing that hasn’t changed: The Wire still hasn’t won an Emmy.