Tired of seeing the same batch of housewives, presidential cabinet members and flamboyant buds and their platonic gal-pals walking away with Emmys year in and year out?
So were the folks behind the awards.
The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences on Tuesday announced plans for an overhaul of the nomination voting process, designed to end the reign of terror of perennial nominees and give overlooked rookies a shot at Emmy gold.
The changes will affect the nomination process of six major categories: Best Actor, Actress and Series in both comedy and drama genres.
The nominees in each category will now be whittled down by both popular vote and a judging panel, rather than the old method, which determined finalists through a simple member vote. The result was a traditionally Nielsens-dominated crop of nominees chosen more for their popularity than by virtue of performances, and routinely ignored much-heralded yet low-rated shows.
Here's looking at you, Lauren Graham.
The new system will still canvass TV Academy voters, but asks members to list 15 possible nominees for acting and 10 for series, rather than the standard five. The finalists from that vote will then be asked to submit a sample TV episode to a blue-ribbon judging panel, which convenes in North Hollywood on June 24-25, and which will--get this--actually watch the nominated shows and performances before naming the five nominees.
The more democratic--and critic-pleasing--process is not a new one.
"We currently use the same process to determine the nominees for performers in a music variety show and guest actors in a series," TV Academy director John Leverence said. "Now we're extending it to the lead acting categories and best series. At this point we are not yet introducing it in the supporting actor races."
The new rules will also allow for 700 more voting members. The TV Academy is inviting a slew of directors and casting executives to cast their votes in the acting categories, which were previously decided on by 1,400 actors alone.
"This new voting initiative hits the issue of a narrow nomination's process head-on," TV Academy Chief Executive Dick Askin said. "It significantly increases the potential for the widest and most diverse selection of nominees as possible."
But only time will tell if the extra vetting process makes any real dents in the nominees or if, come this summer, it'll be more of the same old, same old.
It's the second time in as many years that Emmy officials have attempted to overhaul the staid program with some major changes, increasing the pool from which nominees were chosen in 2004 to allow new blood into the often predictable winners circle.
Needless to say, the enacted changes weren't exactly successful.
Bringing new nominees into the stale mix may also help boost the Emmys' perpetually low-rated ceremonies. Critics have argued that the lack of suspense in honorees has driven away viewers, particularly younger ones who feel disenfranchised that their favorite shows are routinely shunned from the awards.
Here's looking at you, too, Kristen Bell.
Emmy nominees will be announced July 6, with the new and improved kudosfest airing Aug. 27.