Emmys Consolidate Shortform Acting Categories, Introduce New Guest Performer Rules

Just a little over a week after the 2023 Emmys aired, the Television Academy is introducing some rule changes for the upcoming 2024 edition.

Among the notable shifts: the Academy is consolidating the shortform actor and actress awards into one shortform performer category and it has made some clarifications about the eligibility of guest stars.

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In the shortform categories, the Academy notes that there has been a “decline in submissions over the past years.” Actor in a shortform comedy or drama series and actress in a shortform comedy or drama series are now combined into one category: Outstanding performer in a shortform comedy or drama series. Another change: the shortform animated category has been combined with the animated program category but “two tracks have been created, one for shortform programs (between 2–20 minutes) and one for all other programming (over 20 minutes).”

With respect to guest performers, the Academy already mandates that they have to appear in less than 50 percent of eligible series episodes. But now the Academy is also clarifying that “the minimum stand-alone and contiguous-screen time (performer has an ongoing engagement in the scene, on or off camera) for eligibility is 5 percent of the total running time of the submitted episode.” The Academy says this adjustment is designed “to ensure that a guest performer’s role is significant to the episode being submitted.”

The Academy also added two Emmy-eligible credits: “line producer” on documentary/nonfiction specials and series and hosted nonfiction programs and “head of workroom (aka cutter/fitter)” for costume design.

And the hairstyling and makeup for a variety, nonfiction or reality program categories now only have panels to prescreen the submissions for nominations. The full peer group votes in the final round to determine who receives an Emmy. These had been juried categories.

Submissions for the 76th annual Emmys, set to take place in September, open on Thursday, Feb. 29. More info about the rule changes is available here.

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