Why Emmy Comedy Categories Are Losing Nominees This Year

Is TV getting less fun?

It’s hard to argue that, given the black humor that pervades even drama series like “Succession,” “The White Lotus,” and “Bad Sisters.” But a look at this year’s Emmy ballots, which were released Thursday at the start of the 12-day voting period for the nominations, reveals a strong trend: Comedy categories on the ballot will have fewer nominees than those categories on the ballot. last year.

And for the contenders in the Emmy comedy categories, that’s no laughing matter.

The grim stats: The Emmy ballots contain 11 categories devoted entirely to comedy. One of them, Outstanding Comedy Series, is set to eight flat nominees by Emmy rules. In the other 10 comedy categories, as with most Emmy categories, the number of nominees is determined by the number of qualified shows or people: five nominees if between 20 and 80, six if between 81 and 160. , seven if it is between 161 and 240 and eight if it is more than 240.

In seven of those 10 comedy categories, there will be fewer nominees this year than last. Lead Actor in a Comedy Series and Lead Actress in a Comedy Series both dropped below 80 entries and will be reduced from six to five nominees; the two secondary categories fell below 240 and will drop from eight to seven nominees. Comedy directing and comedy writing will drop from seven to six nominees, and casting for a comedy series from six to five.

In the drama categories, by contrast, the only category in danger of falling is Guest Actress in a Drama Series, which fell from 83 rated performances last year (6 nominees) to 80 this year (five nominees). But the number of contenders in the Guest Actor in a drama series rose from 94 last year to 102 this year, and Emmy rules say categories divided by gender must have parity in the number of nominees, which will keep the guest actress category at six.

Overall, more than half of the categories shrinking in size this year are specifically dedicated to comedy, with others such as character voice-over acting and sound editing and sound mixing for a series. of comedy or drama (half an hour) and animation, are dominated. for comedy shows.

Other categories that are slated to shrink include Outstanding Reality Competition Program and Host of a Reality or Reality Competition Program, both of which are dropping from six nomination slots to five, as well as Main Title Design, Music Supervision, and Music. and original lyrics.

Only a handful of categories are in line to grow in size, including variety special (pre-recorded), scripted variety series (which has different rating requirements this year), and directing a limited or anthology series or movie. .

Overall, more than half of the 120 Emmy categories had fewer entries than last year, while only 30 had more entries. But in most cases, the change in the number of entries was not enough to cause a change in the number of nominees.

(Note: While Emmy rules establish the number of nominees by the number of contenders, several categories each year will end with more or fewer nominees due to ties.)

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The outcome of this year’s performances will make some of the comedy races even more competitive than they already were. In Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series, for example, the presumed favorites are Bill Hader from “Barry,” Jason Sudeikis from “Ted Lasso,” Jeremy Allen White from “The Bear,” and both Steve Martin and Martin Short from “Only Murders”. in the Building,” but with only five nominees, that leaves out Jason Segel from “Shrinking,” Nicholas Hoult from “The Great,” Donald Glover from “Atlanta” and many others. With only five slots available, will voters use 40% of their votes on “Just Kills” or pick one of the Martins and potentially penalize both?

In the comedy actress category, it’s suddenly gotten a lot harder for everyone from Elle Fanning (“The Great”) to Bridget Everett (“Somebody Somewhere”), Christina Appelgate and Linda Cardellini (“Dead to Me”). , entering a field that also includes Quinta Brunson (“Abbott Elementary”), Rachel Brosnahan (“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”), Selena Gomez (“Only Murders”), Jenna Ortega (“Wednesday”) and Natasha Lyonne ( “Poker Face”).

It’s like that in every comedy category now: fewer entries, not enough slots. It’s not that fun, is it?

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