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Change coming to Emmys

More nominees might mean fresh winners
/ Source: The Associated Press

The television academy is shaking up Emmy rules to try and freshen a competition that sees the same shows winning trophies year after year.

As part of changes approved this week by the academy’s Board of Governors, members will have the opportunity to choose up to 10 nominees per category — double the current five.

The top five vote-getters will end up as the nominees in each category, keeping the number of contenders the same as it has been traditionally.

But the mix should be more representative of the growing bounty of programming on cable and newer broadcast channels, academy spokeswoman Pam Rubin Golum said Friday.

“This gives the approximately 12,000 academy members a chance to expand the field of nominees,” she said.

Unlike the Academy Awards, which recognize a new crop of films each year, the Emmys fall into rerun territory because shows are eligible as long as they air original episodes in the Emmy calendar year.

The result has been winning streaks like that of NBC’s White House drama “The West Wing,” named best drama series for the last three consecutive ceremonies.

It makes for impressive records but predictable shows. Observers have also complained that less mainstream fare, such as UPN’s “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” are routinely shut out of major awards.

The modification, one of several approved by the board Wednesday, comes under new Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Chairman Dick Askin.

“Our awards rules and procedures have remained virtually unchanged over the last ten years,” Askin said, adding that the approach will be “more representative of television as it is today.”

Among other changes, the board also altered how many episodes must be submitted in the drama and comedy series categories. More episodes, six rather than three, must be included as an original submission seeking nomination; for the final round of judging to determine winners, voters will consider six rather than the previous eight episodes.

The new rules will be in effect when academy members vote on the 2004 prime-time Emmy, to be held Sept. 19 and air on ABC. Nominations will be announced July 15.