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Rethinking TV Award Ceremonies

After watching the Golden Globes last night, Jonathan and I discussed our general discomfort with the award categories, so we brainstormed for a bit to come up with our ideal TV award design. Here are our suggestions:

  1. Get rid of the arbitrary drama/comedy distinction. Increasingly, it’s more difficult to say what’s what (see: Season 2 of Louis). Instead, have short form (30 minutes or less) and long form (more than 30 minutes) categories, plus a category for longer, one-off events, such as movies or mini-series.
  2. Get rid of the gendered actor/actress distinction. Have best performer in a lead role and supporting role for each of the different time categories.
  3. As abolishing the gendered split would mean there are far fewer awards, instead introduce two different streams- best performance in an episode and best performance in a series. Voting for the series would be done by a small panel who watch all the required episodes. Actors would submit a selection of three consecutive episodes for consideration.

So, the awards night would look like this (Obviously the names need some work):

  • Best short form television series
  • Best long form television series
  • Best featured television program
  • Best featured performance in a short form television episode
  • Best featured performance in a short form television season
  • Best featured performance in a long form television episode
  • Best featured performance in a long form television season
  • Best featured performance in a featured television program
  • Best supporting performance in a short form television episode
  • Best supporting performance in a short form television season
  • Best supporting performance in a long form television episode
  • Best supporting performance in a long form television season
  • Best supporting performance in a featured television program

This solves a bunch of problems in the current award system. It solves the good-submission-episode problem (where one good episode wins you an award over performers who have been much better consistently), the arbitrary divisions of comedy/drama and of male/female.

My only real concern would be that dramatic performances are given a weight that comedic performances aren’t, and there’s a strong possibility they’d dominate but, frankly, that already happens- performances that don’t come close to being comedic get nominated- and win- in comedy categories simply because the show is fewer than 30 minutes.

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