The Emmys have a problem in classifying TV shows as comedies or dramas for awards. What happens when a show with a lot of laughs also tackles serious subject matter, or vice versa? The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences attempted to address this issue last month – drawing a line in the sand based on a show’s length – but now a panel already has made exceptions to the new rule.
According to Variety, a nine-member panel of TV Academy leaders has decided that Showtime’s “Shameless,” the CW’s “Jane the Virgin,” and Fox’s “Glee” will qualify as comedies despite their hourlong lengths. A new rule put in place last month previously dictated that all hourlong shows would be considered dramas, while anything clocking in at 30 minutes or less would be ruled a comedy. As per the panel’s decision, the three shows will be considered comedies for all relevant categories – acting, writing, etc.
According to Deadline Hollywood, the decisions on the three programs came after each show petitioned the TV Academy to reconsider classifying them based on length. Votes from two-thirds of the nine-member panel were needed for the shows to swap categories.
The controversy is a reaction to a changing television landscape. Just 10 years ago almost everything on TV -- outside of HBO -- could be boiled down simply to a network drama or a sitcom. The boom of basic cable changed that, especially with the introduction of the so-called “dramedy” – shows that feature a mix of both comedic and dramatic elements. Suddenly, it was not so easy to categorize TV shows.
But does the new rule solve the problem at all? With the TV Academy already handing down exceptions, the answer appears to be no. There was no mention of Netflix’s “Orange is the New Black” in the decision – an hourlong show that last year competed as a comedy. Plus, with other half-hour shows, such as HBO’s “Girls,” flirting with being more dramatic than comedic, more problems seem certain to surface in the future.
The TV Academy will have to put more thought into the way it goes about classifying the many diverse shows on TV right now. It needs to act fast, too. The nominations for the 2015 Emmy Awards will be announced on July 16. The Emmy Awards are slotted for Sept. 20 on Fox with Andy Samberg scheduled to host.
Should "Shameless," "Glee," and "Jane the Virgin" be considered comedies? Answer below and tweet your thoughts to @Ja9GarofaloTV.