YouTube Stars Can Now Win Primetime Emmys

Television Academy expands and redefines many short-form categories

(Image: YouTube)
(Image: YouTube)

With the changing atmosphere of entertainment consumption today, it’s no wonder that stars have been made on the different, but very competitive small screen in the past decade: YouTube.

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Networks and brands are finding talent via the popular video-sharing platform, with some influencers having found their widespread success without need for a larger machine to back them. Now, some of your favorite YouTubers can vie for a coveted TV industry award like any other Hollywood actor, producer or director powerhouse.

Yesterday, the Television Academy announced it has expanded and redefined many short-form categories for this year’s Primetime Emmys, and with those changes was the addition of three awards: Outstanding Short Form Series, Variety; Outstanding Individual Actor in a Short Form Series; and Outstanding Individual Actress in a Short Form Series.

It also renamed the Short Format Live Entertainment category, as Outstanding Short Form Series, Comedy or Drama; and Short Format Nonfiction is now Outstanding Short Form Series, Reality/Nonfiction. These amended “short form” categories make YouTube stars eligible to compete against TV’s top shows and stars, as the definition includes any series having a minimum of six episodes that average 15 minutes or less.

“Our industry is aggressively, quickly and creatively evolving the various ways episodic stories are told,” said Bruce Rosenblum, TV Academy chairman and CEO, in a statement.

“These category changes reflect the broader opportunities that emerging networks and distribution platforms, such as Maker Studios, Fullscreen, Crackle, AwesomenessTV, YouTube Red, Adult Swim and others, are seizing in choosing innovative formats that enable our television community to share stories in novel and entertaining ways.”

Though the new short-form categories will not be part of the Primetime Emmys broadcast, they will be featured during the Creative Arts Emmys, which will run two nights on the weekend before the prime-time awards on ABC in September.

Also, the Academy’s Board of Governors has approved several other Primetime Emmy Awards rules and procedure changes for 2016, including an increase in the number of nominations from five to six for directing and writing in both comedy and drama series.

“The Television Academy is committed to annually assessing the Emmy Award competition to ensure it reflects the dynamic and exciting growth happening within our industry,” Rosenblum continued. “The changes we are making better align[ed] award categories with the various genres of outstanding programming today, recognize the substantial increase in eligible submissions, and streamline the online voting process for our 18,000+ voting members.”

This will be the first time those with limited-budget productions for 30- or 60-minute episodes will get a chance to ‘stomp with the big dogs,’ in terms of award nominations and mainstream industry recognition.



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