In Depth

Emmy Splits Up Series and Specials for Variety Awards

David Letterman's writers will no longer have to compete with the likes of Tony Bennett as part of a just-announced Emmys rule change.

The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences has decided to split up the series and specials categories for both writing and directing in a variety, music or comedy program. Until recently, one-off specials were grouped together with ongoing series such as "Late Show with David Letterman" or "Real Time with Bill Maher."

“The Television Academy’s Board of Governors, writers and directors peer groups have long wanted to see separate competitions for the VMC series and specials,” ATAS Chairman John Shaffner said. “Now, writers and directors working on both VMC series and specials will take part in competitions that recognize the creative challenges posed by each format, as well as the talent required and accomplishments possible in both the series and specials categories.”

The change required the cooperation of Hollywood's labor guilds, a fact acknowledged by Mr. Shaffner in his statement.

“We are grateful to both the Directors Guild of America and Writers Guild of America East and West for working with us on this change and graciously granting a modification to our current clip fee waiver that accommodates this rotation,” he said.

In order to not add yet another batch of awards to the prime-time broadcast of the Emmys, the awards for variety series and specials will be rotated between the regular prime time Emmy broadcast and the Creative Arts Emmy telecast.

In March, ATAS announced plans to drop the award for performance in a variety series or special. Performers will now be nominated alongside producers and creators in the series or special competitions.

CBS will air this year's prime time Emmys on Sept. 20. The Creative Arts telecast is set for Sept. 12, with E! airing the show Sept. 19.

(Editor: Baumann)