STORY BY STEPHANIE KOCER
I am a firm believer in the half-hour sitcom.
Up until this year the Emmy Awards were not.
The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences has finally made stricter rules as to what is considered comedy at the annual award show.
Last year shows like “Orange is the New Black” were put in the Best Comedy category.
These types of shows take up a nomination spot that could be going to less recognized, but equally funny in quality shows like network sitcoms.
Netflix purposefully refers to “Orange is the New Black” as a comedy because they want it nowhere near their big gun “House of Cards” when it comes to awards.
Thankfully, Emmy has ruled they can’t have it both ways.
The new rules state that a comedy is a half-hour show.
A network can start a petition to get their hour-long show a nomination in the comedy category and the Academy will consider.
“Orange is the New Black” already did that, and Emmy did not accept.
Both drama and comedy categories will now have seven nominee spots.
This gives more room for bids from beloved comedies like “The Big Bang Theory” and “Parks and Recreation.”
In the past, these shows were never seem to fit in the list of nominees due to overcrowding by shows that don’t belong there.
My hope is that this new expansion will also give the Academy room to get creative.
Maybe they will take the time to nominate shows like “Parks and Rec” (especially when this is “Parks” absolute last year to get a nomination since it has ended its run).
Call me crazy, but maybe network comedies like “The Mindy Project,” “New Girl” and newcomer “Fresh Off the Boat” can finally get some recognition.
Maybe even their leading actors can wrangle in a nomination.
The other good news for comedy is that the awards are finally making a distinction between talk and sketch shows.
Talk will go to programs like “The Daily Show” and “The Tonight Show.”
And that means “Saturday Night Live” will finally get the sketch distinction it deserves.
With this division, more variety shows have a chance at Emmy.
The talk shows are pretty much locked down (Stewart, Fallon, Kimmel, Colbert), but the sketch category is now wide open.
Perhaps Amy Schumer’s “Inside Amy Schumer” will finally get some much-deserved attention. “Portlandia” can actually win.
I would be even happier with a “Kroll Show” nomination. That would be sweet comedy justice.
With all these changes, I can’t help but wonder what networks will start considering when looking for their new shows for next season.
I would hope they start to think in this better-defined comedy landscape.
Leave the hour-long dramadies to Netflix and HBO.
Networks need to start focusing on those 30-minute comedies we are so desperately missing on our TVs.
Because the variety category is now split, maybe networks will start looking for more talented sketch performers.
And maybe that will be able to bring an SNL essence and voice to a new generation and audience.