The Emmys have decided to go long on shorts.
The Television Academy announced Wednesday a major expansion in award categories for short form programming, as streaming studios have remade the creative landscape with "dramatic growth in storytelling" across TV, as a release put it.
- The Emmys will add a category for outstanding short form series (comedy or drama), replacing the old category of best short format live entertainment.
- There will be an entirely new award for best short-form variety series, as well the clarification of the short form nonfiction category to explicitly add reality fare to the mix.
- And there will best actor and actress awards in the short form genre as well.
As digital options have upended conventional network TV schedules, producers have responded with a blizzard of short programs. Episodes of animated series such as Cartoon Network's "Adventure Time" and Adult Swim's "Robot Chicken," for example, typically run for about 11 minutes. Maker Studios, Fullscreen, Crackle, YouTube Red and others are jumping into the fray with short programs.
"Our industry is aggressively, quickly and creatively evolving the various ways episodic stories are told," TV Academy Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Bruce Rosenblum wrote in a statement. "Our Board of Governors felt that this expansion of short form categories begins the process of ensuring that Emmy-worthy creativity will be rewarded, irrespective of format or platform."
Earlier this year the academy announced that it would divide the Creative Arts Emmy Awards -- which honors mostly technical achievements and is held the week before the Primetime Emmy Awards -- on two consecutive nights instead of one. The short form categories will be honored at one of those Creative Arts nights.