Amidst all the hullaballoo surrounding the 2014 Primetime Emmy Awards — including Netflix submitting Orange Is The New Black as a Comedy instead of a Drama, HBO submitting True Detective as a Drama instead of a Miniseries, and the ceremony taking place on a Monday instead of a Sunday — it feels like we've been talking about this awards show for ages... And we don't even know who the nominees are yet.
So when exactly will we learn which shows and actors have made it from the submission stage to the shortlist? Voting closed on June 20, and the ballots are in the process of being tabulated by the auditing firm Ernst & Young. The highly-anticipated results will be revealed live from the Leonard H. Goldenson Theatre in Hollywood at 5:35 a.m. this Thursday morning, July 10. (That's 8:35 a.m. for you East Coasters, so grab a few more hours of shut-eye before getting up to watch the announcements live like the crazy television fanatics I know we all are.)
When the nominations are revealed, you can expect a few things to look different than they did last year. Here's a summary of the changes the Television Academy's Board of Governor's made for the 66th ceremony:
- Outstanding Drama and Comedy categories can now have up to seven nominees. These categories were previously capped at six, but they can now potentially contain one more series if that last show is within 2 percent of the votes behind the sixth. This is good news for prestigious network dramas like CBS' The Good Wife and NBC's Hannibal, which are finding it increasingly hard to compete against the plethora of offerings from their cable and subscriber competitors.
- Outstanding Miniseries/Made-For-TV Movie is now split into two separate categories. The two were just recently combined in 2011 "due to a general industry downtrend of the genre." But they're being given their own categories again, thanks to a resurgence in their popularity from miniseries like FX's American Horror Story and TV movies like HBO's The Normal Heart.
- The number of nominees for Performers in a Miniseries/Made-For-TV Movie has increased from five to six. Even though the Program award for these categories has been split in two, the actors still have to compete under the same umbrella. But the Academy found a way to acknowledge the increased breadth of these formats by increasing the number of performers who can receive a nomination. Good news for Billy Bob Thornton, Martin Freeman, and the rest of the cast of FX's Fargo. (This change also applies to writers and directors of miniseries/TV movies.)
- Outstanding Reality Program has been split into two new categories: Structured and Unstructured. The former applies to reality shows with some sort of narrative and/or formula, like Discovery's MythBusters. The latter refers to quote-unquote unscripted reality shows like Duck Dynasty and Keeping Up With The Kardashians. Similarly, Outstanding Voice-Over Performance has also been split into two new categories: Narration and Character Performance.
It's nice to see the Academy making chances to allow for the continued expansion of television as an art form. But even with these adjustments, the competition this year is going to be fierce. Just think of all the awesome shows jockeying for one of the six (or seven) coveted slots in the Drama Series race: The Americans, Boardwalk Empire, Breaking Bad, Downton Abbey, Game Of Thrones, The Good Wife, Hannibal, Homeland, House Of Cards, Mad Men, Masters Of Sex, Orphan Black, True Detective, and more. There's no denying that even more changes will have to occur to allow for the existence of category-defying shows like True Detective. Perhaps separate categories for Outstanding Network Dramas and Outstanding Cable Dramas? Or maybe the inclusion of a Dramedy category for tonally diverse shows like Netflix's Orange Is The New Black and Showtime's Shameless? Or Long-Form Series (14-24 episodes) vs. Short-Form Series (13 or fewer)?
Once the nominations are announced this Thursday — with all their requisite shocks, snubs, and happy surprises — you'll have six weeks to formulate your predictions and dominate your office pool: The 66th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards will take place Monday (not Sunday!), August 25 at 8 p.m. ET on NBC, hosted by always lovable Seth Meyers.
Images: HBO (2); CBS; FX; Discovery