Magazine article Variety

Emmys Stoke Genre-Bending Frenzy

Magazine article Variety

Emmys Stoke Genre-Bending Frenzy

Article excerpt


Everyone was granted a pardon - except for "Orange Is the New Black."

In a surprise move, the TV Academy denied the Netflix show's bid to be considered a comedy in the 2015 Emmy Awards - while it granted similar petitions to three other hourlongs: Fox's "Glee," the GW's "Jane the Virgin" and Showtime's "Shameless."

The Academy had introduced guidelines at the end of February in the hopes of addressing the so-called category jockeying that plagued last year's awards, with some shows opting to enter the less-competitive comedy race.

Going forward, half-hour series would be defined as comedies, and hourlongs as dramas. Industry observers even dubbed it the "Orange Is the New Black" rule.

But the new guidelines also included a "get out of jail free" card, allowing shows to petition to change their designation. And so they did.

While some in the industry are privately celebrating the move to deny "Orange's" petition, others are asking why single out the show, which has competed as a comedy (earning 12 nominations last year, and winning three), while giving a green light to, say, "Shameless," a tonally similar program. And some question whether there's still a lingering bias against new media.

Netflix took the ruling in stride, with chief content officer Ted Sarandos telling Variety, "While we're disappointed in the committee's decision, we believe that 'Orange' represents the best of television in either category."

The Academy declined to comment, though a source there said it anticipated some first-year problems, but simply defining the parameters of drama and comedy felt like progress. …

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