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New Emmy Rules Might Hurt Comedy Hits Like 'Orange Is The New Black'

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The Television Academy announced a new round of changes to their voting rules for the Emmys this morning. While the new rules make an attempt to keep up with changing world of TV, they might also stand to hurt shows like Orange Is The New Black when it comes to award season. Here's what's new:

Seven Nominees Instead of Six

For both Comedy and Drama series, there will now be seven nominee slots available instead of six, Variety reports. This is purportedly the 'Golden Age of Television,' after all.

No More Hour-Long Comedies

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From now on, shows that run over 30 minutes will automatically be considered dramas. Likewise, 30-minute shows will be considered comedies.

Maybe before the difference used to be a no-brainer but nowadays TV is smarter and made for smarter people. Better Call Saul can have you in stitches, even if the scene has to do with how badly to injure a pair of rude teenagers. Maybe Tyrion Lannister on Game Of Thrones has made you laugh more than any character ever has on Modern Family. Perhaps you find Jeff Winger's speeches on Community more arresting than Frank Underwood's on House Of Cards. Or maybe you were conveniently chopping onions when Ben Wyatt proposed to Leslie Knope on Parks And Rec. What I'm saying is: TV has a lot of nuances that can't quite be summed up by asking if something lasts 30 or 60 minutes.

In particular, this will affect Netflix's Orange is the New Black, which was entered into the Comedy category at last year's awards. I'm not sure how it lost to Modern Family, but these new rules mean it will be competing against the final season of Mad Men. Notably, if a producer feels that the length requirement is significantly miscategorizing the show, the producer may file a formal petition to get the Academy to reconsider. Other shows this might affect include Glee and Shameless. Though these shows certainly have their dramatic moments, they're no Game of Thrones or Breaking Bad.

Minseries Becomes Limited Series

The Academy also sought to distinguish between series and miniseries. This was confusing last year. Shows like Fargo and American Horror Story were considered miniseries; however, True Detective was considered a regular drama series. True Detective is absolutely an anthology series, taking on a different story and characters every season, just like American Horror Story and Fargo. (Though, AHS tends to keep the same cast and slip them into different roles.)

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Now, mini-series will be known as limited series. Limited series must have two or more episodes, be 150 program minutes and tell one completely contained story with no recurring characters or story elements in subsequent seasons. True Detective, you're officially a limited series.

Another thing to wonder: will this impact British TV shows, which have shorter seasons? Luther was nominated in the mini-series category this year, but each season involves Idris Elba solving crimes as the title character.

New Rules for 'Guest' Actors

Guest actors must now appear in a maximum of 50 percent of the show. It used to be that a guest actor would appear in only one episode, but deliver a great performance. Remember when Peter Boyle played the title character in the X-Files episode titled Clyde Buckman's Final Repose? He won an Emmy for that part. In more recent years, actors who played recurring minor characters were snagging nominations. This is another rule that will likely impact Orange is the New Black, as three of the actresses who played inmates (Laverne Cox, Uzo Aduba, Natasha Lyonne) surrounding protagonist Piper Chapman (Taylor Schilling) appeared in numerous episodes, but were nominated for Best Guest Actor in a Comedy.

Variety Series Splits

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There are now two separate categories for Variety Series: sketch and talk. This means shows like last year's winer The Colbert Report and The Daily Show will not run against a sketch show like SNL.