Deadline TV contributor Diane Haithman files this report:
Let the countdown to the Emmys begin. That is, if the TV Academy can stop blurring what’s a final, final, final deadline for Emmy submissions. As of May 31, 2011, all TV programs should have been submitted to the Academy Of Television Arts & Sciences for nomination consideration for the 2011 Emmy Awards. Programs airing between June 20, 2010, and May 31, 2011, are eligible for submission. An exception is made for series that have new episodes airing between May 31 and June 24, 2011, which are also eligible. And since there’s no downside to entering their own show -– or, for that matter, themselves in an individual category –- almost everybody does it. The nominations will be announced July 14. “It’s important to be on the ballot,” says John Leverence, the TV Academy’s VP of Awards. “It is reviewed by more than 14,000 members of the Academy. These are your industry peers, even if you are doing a show that might not have a snowball’s chance in hell.”
But “all TV programs” does not mean “all TV episodes.” For two of Emmy’s highest-profile categories, Drama Series and Comedy Series, there is a lot of wiggle room timewise. All that was required on April 29, 2011, was a submission of the series as a “body of work” by its title. DVDs of the actual episodes to be considered for the series award — six episodes per show — did not have to be submitted until May 13, meaning that many producers spent an additional few weeks in the agonizing process of choosing their best work.
And, if any of the six episodes chosen by the producer is airing after May 13, all the TV Academy asks is that the DVD of the missing episode be sent in as soon as it has aired. Until May 31, series producers may yank an episode or episodes from the chosen six and replace them with something else. But there is yet another window for changing the episode selections just prior to the actual nominations announcement, which includes the chosen series but not the episode choices. Then that’s it for artistic indecision. “We need the choices by the time of the nomination announcement because we have to make a very fast turnaround to replicate thousands of DVDs for the Blue Ribbon [final judging] panelists,” explains Julie Shore, the TV Academy’s Director of Prime Time Emmy Awards.
The TV Academy instructs voters to make selections on the merits of one program or set of episodes. “I think to the outside world it looks like an objective evaluation of quality, but it’s not,” insists Mike Schur, showrunner for the NBC comedy Parks and Recreation, which he created with Greg Daniels and which has yet to win an Emmy. ”It’s about trends, and what gets hot, and what’s on the magazine cover at the right time.”