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Emmy voting schedule and some eligibility rules shift due to COVID-19

The Emmy Awards’ eligibility window has expanded slightly, shrinking the voting schedule, due to the coronavirus outbreak. The ceremony is still scheduled for Sept. 20.
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

The latest entertainment dominoes to fall before the COVID-19 pandemic affects the run-up to the 2020 Emmy Awards and screening rules for the next Golden Globes. The ceremony date for the 72nd Emmys remains unchanged at Sunday, Sept. 20.

Friday morning, the Television Academy announced some procedural and qualifying changes to accommodate for production delays caused by the outbreak, including eligibility rules and the voting timetable.

“Hanging” episodes, or episodes of a series that fall outside the established eligibility window (ending May 31) though the series premiered within the window, will now be eligible for consideration through June 30. This applies to both limited and regular series, though limited series must make all episodes available before June 30 and regular series must make a minimum of six episodes available before that date. If the complete limited series isn’t available by then, it and its “individual achievements ... will be eligible in the subsequent eligibility year,” said the academy’s announcement.

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The announcement reiterated the suspension of all For Your Consideration events, which took effect earlier this month. The FYC events, “whether with a live audience, streaming or recorded for posting on a viewing platform, have been suspended for this Emmy season,” the announcement said.

A spokesman for the Television Academy told The Times that even virtual Q&As, for instance, that don’t put viewers at risk were part of the ban to maintain a level playing field: “We appreciate the sensitivity of the moment but didn’t think it was the right thing. Some talent might want to participate, others don’t. We understand the issue. We’re trying to be fair to the entire industry.

“We did receive some feedback from actors and showrunners in agreement with our position,” he said, but “the Television Academy made this decision because we thought it was the right thing to do.”

Of course, screeners are mostly online these days, as is voting, so academy members should still have access to what they need to see and be able to vote on it. The spokesman noted that items such as “booklet mailers related to online screeners may continue.”

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The Emmy voting schedule has compressed somewhat to accommodate the longer eligibility window without moving the ceremony back. The new schedule:
June 5: Entry deadline
July 2-13: Nominations voting
July 28: Nominations announced
August 21-31: Final awards voting
Details on the revised Emmy Awards calendar are available at Emmys.com.

The Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. also announced changes to its Golden Globe eligibility requirements this week: Since the pandemic has forced the closure of theaters and screening rooms, the rule that films must be screened specifically for voters has been dropped. Physical discs or screening links sent to members will now suffice.

To qualify, films must have only “had a bona fide theatrical release planned to begin in Los Angeles” during the period of March 15-April 30, 2020, the HFPA announcement said. This applies directly to films now seeing their theatrical releases canceled and that “may instead be released first on a television format (e.g. subscription streaming service, subscription cable channel, broadcast television, etc.).” The rule change is temporary, though the HFPA says that the changing situation may allow or force further modifications.

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The date of the 2021 Golden Globe ceremony has yet to be announced, though Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are to return as co-hosts.


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