WGA Calls Plan To Reduce Writing Categories On Live Telecast “Misguided”

The announcement this morning that the upcoming 75th Emmy Awards will feature three writing categories on the main telecast vs. the customary four is not sitting well with the WGA.

“The Television Academy’s plan to reduce the number of writer awards being televised this year is misguided given the essential role writers play in the creative process of variety series and generating value for this industry,” the guild said in a statement to Deadline. “Variety series – the category being eliminated from the broadcast – were the first shows back after the WGA strike and those writers should be recognized on the live TV show.”

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The WGA is referring to the fact that variety series such as late-night talk shows and Saturday Night Live, were able to come back right away after the end of the writers strike as they are covered under a different SAG-AFTRA agreement, giving the broadcast networks much needed fresh scripted content.

To make room for Variety Special (Live) to return to the main telecast while keeping the number of awards given out to 25, the TV Academy is eliminating Outstanding Writing for Variety Series, whose turn it was in the spot where it has been alternating with Writing for Variety Special. This time both will be presented at the Creative Arts Emmys. For the past seven years, the Writing For Variety Series Emmy has been won by Last Week Tonight With John Oliver.

The TV Academy previously shook up things in 2020 when the categories on the live main telecast went down to 23. That involved reducing the number of writing and directing awards handed out to three each, bellow the four the WGA and the DGA had been contractually guaranteed by the TV Academy.

Both the WGA and DGA at the time came out to say that they had not signed off on the changes. A year later, the categories on the live show went up to 25, a number that has been maintained since. The directing fields remained at three but the four writing categories were restored, with writing For Variety Series/Special continuing to alternate.

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