The Television Academy is reversing an earlier decision that would have combined the Variety Talk and Variety Sketch categories into a single all-encompassing category, that would see a show such as “Saturday Night Live” compete with the likes of “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” or “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee”.
IndieWire reports that the Academy has changed its collective mind about funnelling both categories into one, and explained the reasoning behind the decision in a statement on Friday: “While the Academy remains concerned about the number of series produced and the relatively small pool of entries in the Variety Sketch genre, it acknowledges that the differences between Variety Sketch and Talk programs merit separate consideration.”
“As the Academy continues to engage with industry leaders and constituents,” the statement continued, “it will always endeavour to uphold the integrity of the competition and be as fair as possible.”
According to IndieWire, the rationale behind combining the categories was the scarcity of submissions.
With just 14 in the Variety Sketch category and 24 in Variety Talk, neither category managed to fulfill the Academy’s “Rule of 25,” which stipulates that any category with less than than 25 submissions during two consecutive years can be combined with a similar category.