New rule changes for Emmy awards

September 24th, 2015



The 67th annual Emmy awards, held on Sunday, Sept. 20 at the Microsoft Theater in downtown Los Angeles, paid tribute to the accomplishments of the best of television programming this year.


The host of this year’s awards was Andy Samberg, star of “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” following in the footsteps of previous hosts such including Seth Meyers, Neil Patrick Harris, Tina Fey and Amy Poehlor.


This year’s Emmys were indeed star-studded, featuring popular television shows such as “Game of Thrones,” “Mad Men” and “Orange is the New Black.” However, to prevent a single series from winning multiple awards in various categories, new rules were put into effect at the beginning of this year.


According to MSN, the Creative Arts Emmys, held to honor the people who work behind the scenes in performing technical tasks, was the first award ceremony to be impacted by the new rule changes in early January 2015.


Before 2015, Emmy nominated actors had to submit a sample of their best work, such as a single television episode. If a television series was nominated, then that series had to submit a total of eight episodes to be judged.


These episodes are referred to as “tapes.” Voters are expected to watch these in secession for each category, ranking them from their least favorite to their top choice. This rule was enacted to eliminate bias and, therefore, force voters to give television series they would typically never find interesting an equal chance for winning an Emmy award.


NASA Television 2009 Philo T. Farnsworth Primetime Emmy Award

Voters would serve on “blue-ribbon” panels, subsections of the larger body of voters, and could vote on up to two categories. These smaller subsections, composed of the same judging panels, would vote year after year, sticking to an old-fashioned mindset. This system was blamed for not giving a fresh approach to judging newer television series and not giving a fair chance for new winners.


After the new rules were enforced, voters from all fields of the Academy, including writers, actors and editors, were allowed to vote in their specific category. This has made the voting process more open rather than selective, allowing thousands of people to vote rather than a small group of individuals who comprised the “blue-ribbon” panels.


This new system of changes was enforced to prevent Emmy “sweeps,” which occur when a specific television show consistently wins the same awards and also wins in several categories.  A “sweep” can occur despite what is more popular in the media and to the public.


Students at John Carroll University had their own ideas about whether this new set of rules would be beneficial or detrimental to the awards judging panel.


Freshman Alison Silberhorn said, “They are trying to make things more fair and it is also giving shows that may not have as many viewers an opportunity to win. Change is good in this case.”


Sophomore Kelsey Sprenger added, “I think that it is a better method, considering more people are able to vote and the winners are more representative of who deserves to win.”


Senior Joscelyn Zivich continued, “I think the rule changes are a great idea and it allows newer shows to shine.”


Despite select television series, such as “Veep” and “Game of Thrones,” winning a handful of awards, there was not one television series in particular that swept the competition at the Emmy Awards last weekend.


It seems as if the rule change benefited the awards season overall, giving all nominees a fair chance at winning.


Editor’s Note: Information from CBS News and was used in this report.