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2020 Emmys expand comedy and drama series categories to 8 nominees

The Emmy Awards will include more shows this year, expanding its series categories to eight nominees.
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

The chances of your favorite television show earning an Emmy nomination just got a little better.

Citing a 15% increase in submissions over last year, the Television Academy announced late Wednesday that it would expand the number of nominated shows in the drama and comedy series categories from seven to eight for the 72nd Emmys.

“The increase in submissions is a reflection of the number of new voices, new television platforms and a tremendous growth in content from existing platforms across our industry,” Television Academy Chairman and CEO Frank Scherma said in a release. “Despite production suspension resulting from COVID-19, there is a wealth of excellent work submitted for this year’s competition.”

The expansion comes five years after the academy increased the comedy and drama series fields from six nominees to seven.

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The organization also announced that the number of nominees in other categories would now be determined by the number of submissions, using the following criteria:

1-19 submissions: a sliding scale of zero to 4 nominations
20-80 submissions: 5 nominations
81-160 submissions: 6 nominations
161-240 submissions: 7 nominations
More than 240 submissions: 8 nominations

Jimmy Kimmel will return for a third time as host of the Emmy Awards, though he admits he doesn’t know ‘where we will do this or how we will do this.’

Going by last year’s submission numbers (and, again, entries have increased 15%), these alterations will boost the number of nominees in competitive acting categories. For instance, there would have been a mandated eight nominees in both drama supporting acting categories and seven in the supporting acting comedy races.

These acting categories have often seen a surplus of nominees in recent years, thanks to the TV Academy’s “2% rule,” which granted nominations to contenders who came within 2% of qualifying. (The comedy supporting actress category had eight nominees in each of the last two years.)

The new qualifications eliminate the 2% rule, ending the guesswork and further confirming something viewers have known in their bones — there’s an (over)abundance of television, even when you’re stuck at home during a shutdown.

Nominations for the 72nd Emmy Awards will be announced July 28. The ceremony is scheduled for Sept. 20, with Jimmy Kimmel hosting for a third time.

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