For 34 years running, miniseries have been holding the record for most Emmy wins by a program in a single year: first Roots, then Angels in America, followed by current record holder John Adams. Now, following last night’s vote by the TV Academy, the storied TV genre will no longer have its own best program category as it is merging with best TV movie. The combined best TV movie/miniseries field is being expanded to 6 nominees.
There was no outcry today from producers and cable networks that make miniseries. Gary Goetzman from one of the biggest players in the genre, Playtone, which produced 3 Emmy winners for best miniseries, Band of Brothers, John Adams and The Pacific, took the news in stride. “I think they should merge all categories into one, best program of the year,” he quipped. “Just name the winner and we can all go and hit the bar.”
The board of the TV Academy was acting within its rulebook, which triggered the category consolidation because of the lack of qualifying minis in the past 2 years that led to only 2 getting nominated in the top category in both 2009 and 2010. Ironically, 2011 is shaping up to be stronger for miniseries than the last 2 years with 3 solid contenders: HBO’s Mildred Pierce, Sundance Channel’s co-production Carlos and Starz’s acquisition Pillars of the Earth.
So who are the winners and losers from the folding of the best miniseries …