TV Academy Responds to Writers' Protest Over 'Community' Eligibility in Emmys' Animated Field
Writers of TV animated series launched a complaint against the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences for allowing "Community" to join the race in two animated categories. "Family Guy" creator Seth MacFarlane, "The Simpsons" showrunner Al Jean and 50 other writers/producers have signed a letter which demands an equal treatment for animated show writers.
"We have been told that animated program writers could not also submit their work for writing Emmys," so part of the letter, which was sent to TV Academy and its chair Bruce Rosenblum, read. "Imagine our surprise when this year we see 'Community' once again eligible for comedy series, writing, animated program, and short-form animated program."
Noting that the letter was not "intended to be a slight" on "Community", they requested "to enjoy the very same rights" which the NBC live-action series is entitled now. They added, "Clearly the Academy's ban on submitting in multiple categories is being enforced in an arbitrary and unfair manner. We therefore request that we also be able to submit our programs for both animation and comedy series as well as in the writing category."
The TV Academy has since responded to the complaint by releasing a statement. "It is a general rule of the Emmy competition that producers, writers and directors enter separately in their own program or individual achievement categories, e.g., comedy series writers enter the Writing for a Comedy Series category, drama series directors enter the Directing for a Drama Series category, etc," so the organization began explaining.
However, "eligibility in animation programming is an exception to this general rule, because the animation producers, writers and directors enter the Animated Program category together as a team. There is no separate category for the individual achievements of animation writing and directing."
On "Community" eligibility to submit in consideration for two animated categories, the TV Academy said, "The competition includes a rule that a special episode can enter as a stand-alone special, 'if it involved a significant and substantive format change throughout e.g. from whole-episode live action to whole-episode animation.' "
"The 'Community' producers followed that rule when they entered the producer-writer-director team for the animated episode [titled 'Digital Estate Planning'] in the Animation category and the regular, live-action episodes in the Comedy Series program and Comedy Series individual achievement categories."
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