Emmy Rule Change: TV Movies Must Be 75 Minutes in Length, Hanging Episodes, and More

It might be Oscar season, but the Emmys changed some rules around for their upcoming ceremony. Of the rule changes, two, in particular, stand out above the rest. A new minimum runtime was instituted for the TV Movie category, and new rules for the so-called “hanging episode” have changed.

The first is a redefinition of the Television Movie category. The category has been won by “Black Mirror” each of the past two years, as well as “Sherlock” with their “Abominable Bride” episode. You can easily argue that all three episodes are not “Movies” as we would traditionally define them. However, under the new rules, only the “Black Mirror” episode “San Junipero” would not have been eligible. However, it is a clear warning shot to Netflix to ensure the category is not changed in a substantial fashion.

Meanwhile, the “hanging episode” might become a thing of the past. For some shows that air in April or May, not every episode of the series can air before the May 31st. To alleviate the pressure, hanging episodes could air after the deadline, and the show would remain eligible for the Emmy year, as long as 50% of the season aired before May 31st.

Previously, every episode of a show had to air before the conclusion of the voting deadline. This year, that date is June 24th. However, the rule change now requires episodes must air prior to the voting process beginning. That date is June 10th. This should force shows to move up their start times, and potentially drop more episodes in order to reach the deadlines. To potentially help with this, the Emmys will allow studios to add unaired episodes to a private distribution platform, but every episode must still air by the end of June.

These are just a couple of the changes. The full list of changes can be found below!

Full List of Emmy Changes Listed Below

New Category: Outstanding Music Composition for a Documentary Series or Special (Original Dramatic Underscore)

The Academy has approved the addition of a new category, Outstanding Music Composition for a Documentary Series or Special, recognizing the unique creative process and evaluation criteria for documentary scoring, versus scoring for scripted series or specials.

Restructured Choreography Categories

There will be two separate juried awards:

Outstanding Choreography for Variety and Reality Programming (Variety Series, Variety Special, Structured Reality, Unstructured Reality and Competition Program)
Outstanding Choreography for Scripted Programming (Comedy Series, Drama Series, Limited Series and Television Movie)

Defined Minimum Run Time for Television Movie

The Academy has set a minimum running time of 75 minutes for a Television Movie.

Nomination Tracks for the following Sound Mixing Categories

Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Variety Series or Special: Entries in this category
will be recognized in two genres, variety series and variety specials. The number of
nominees will be proportional to the number of submissions in each genre, with at
least one nomination for each.

Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Nonfiction Program: Entries in this category will be
recognized in two genres, documentary/nonfiction programs and reality programs.
The number of nominees will be proportional to the number of submissions in each
genre, with at least one nomination for each.

Short Form Vetting Procedure

The Academy will adopt a new vetting procedure to identify Emmy-competitive
entries in the Short Form categories on nomination-round ballots.
Panelists, randomly selected from a member pool, will evaluate these entries.
Panel vetting for placement on the nomination-round ballot will apply to Short Form
categories including:
● Outstanding Short Form Drama or Comedy Series
● Outstanding Short Form Variety Program
● Outstanding Short Form Nonfiction or Reality Series
● Outstanding Actor in a Short Form Drama or Comedy Series
● Outstanding Actress in a Short Form Drama or Comedy Series

New Voting Eligibility for Music Supervisors

Music Supervisors will now vote in all music categories (previously Music
Supervisors only voted for Outstanding Music Supervision).

Stunt Coordination

Voting in both categories shall be determined in a three-step process:

● All entries will be viewed in their entirety by the Stunt Coordination Peer
Group Executive Committee (PGEC).

● Based on a weighted score of all the entries by the PGEC, up to the top 10
scoring entries in Comedy Series or Variety Program and up to the top 15
Drama Series, Limited Series or Movie will be presented to the Stunt
Coordination peer group via “at home” online viewing to determine the

● Winners will be determined by the members of the Stunt Coordination,
Performer and Director Peer Groups via “at home” online viewing of the
nominated entries.

Hanging Episode Eligibility

Eligibility changed from “airing prior to the nomination-round voting deadline” to
“airing prior to the start of nomination-round voting.”

Addendum to Hanging Episode Rule:

Programmed networks may post episodes on a distribution platform in advance of
the episodes’ airdates in cases where they otherwise would be “hanging” or
ineligible because they are scheduled outside the eligibility period. Posting must
meet the following criteria:

● Episodes must be posted within the current eligibility year (i.e., by May 31).
● Episodes may be posted on a private distribution platform accessible only to
Television Academy membership.
● Episodes must be the same in form and content as they will later appear in
their regular time slots.
● The subsequent airing of the episodes must take place within the month of

What do you think of the new Emmy rules? Let us hear your thoughts in the comments below! 

The 71st Emmy Awards will air on Sept. 22, 2019. They will cover television from June 1, 2018 until May 31, 2019. 

Be sure to check out the Official Oscar Predictions Page to see where this year’s films and performances rank among the contenders!