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New rules tighten limits on Emmy eligibility

Those annoying onstage group hugs at the Emmys are about to be a thing of the past. Here’s why

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Chris Polk/Variety via FilmMagic

And the Emmy goes to…well, see, that’s where things get complicated. A newly announced rule by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences now limits the number of writers and producers who can receive an award if their program notches a victory in the best-show categories. (The edict allows 11 recipients for a comedy win and 10 for drama.) Trouble is, shows like 30 Rock and Ugly Betty — both of which are up for an Outstanding Comedy statuette — have 20 or more producers listed in the credits, and that includes some non-writing personnel who no longer participate in the day-to-day production of the series. The most glaring example: recently installed NBC Entertainment co-chairman Ben Silverman and executive VP Teri Weinberg, both of whom produced ABC’s Ugly Betty and NBC’s The Office while also operating Silverman’s independent company, Reveille Productions.

While Silverman and Weinberg will both be allowed to receive a statuette if Betty or The Office wins, it’s unclear whether either of them will actually take the Emmy stage come Sept. 16. To be one of those lucky few, nominees must now justify their eligibility — in writing — to the TV Academy. But that’s hardly consolation for the few writers who could go home without a statuette despite their show winning. And the Academy can only be so sympathetic. Says ATAS senior VP John Leverence, ”A lot of people with great SATs and great grades apply to Harvard but not everybody gets in.”

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