TV Academy restores movie and miniseries categories for Emmy Awards

TV Academy restores movie and miniseries categories for Emmy Awards
Michael Douglas cradles his Emmy for HBO's "Behind the Candelabra" at last year's Emmy Awards. (Lawrence K. Ho/Los Angeles Times)

The TV Academy has decided that TV movies like "Behind the Candelabra" shouldn't have to compete with the likes of "American Horror Story" anymore.

Late Thursday, officials announced that for the 66th Primetime Emmy Awards in August, separate categories for miniseries and TV movies will be restored. The academy had combined the two categories back in 2011, reasoning that the decline in the network miniseries business had made it unnecessary to hand out two separate awards.

But since then, miniseries have exploded on basic cable networks, with Emmy-nominated hits such as "The Bible" and "Hatfields & McCoys."

"The Television Academy acknowledges the increased programming of both movie and miniseries over the past three years and returned them to their pre-2011 status as separate program categories," Emmy officials said in a statement. The academy also bumped up the number of nominees that can be named in the writing, directing and performing categories, from five to six.

It's a piece of happy news for HBO and other cable networks that do extensive long-form programming, as it roughly doubles their chances of getting a nomination that will burnish the network's reputation.

Organizers made additional changes as well. Outstanding reality program will now be divided into "structured reality" and "unstructured reality" shows. The academy considers structured reality to be shows such as "Mythbusters," which revolves around humorously testing commonly held assumptions each week. An unstructured show would be something like "Duck Dynasty" or "Pawn Stars" - although anyone who has seen either series know they have plenty of structure.

The voice-over award will now be split between general narration and character voice-over, while the number of possible nominees in the outstanding drama and comedy categories will be expanded from six to seven.