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Emmy Ballot 2017: Bigger Than Ever, Despite ‘Game of Thrones’s’ Absence

Variety logo Variety 6/22/2017 Danielle Turchiano
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Voting in the 69th Annual Emmy Awards is officially underway, and despite air date eligibility rules that kept the winners of last year’s best actress and best drama trophies (Tatiana Maslany and “Game of Thrones,” respectively) out of the running, along with powerhouses like “Outlander,” the number of submissions is up significantly from 2016.

In the top categories, the drama series race boasts the largest number of submissions with 180 (vs. 151 from last year), with best actor in a drama following closely at 140 (109 in 2016). Best actress in a drama doesn’t fall much farther behind at 113 submissions in the category (81 last year). All of these are up more than 30 entries year-over-year, which is not surprising, given the sheer number of new shows that have popped up across platforms and the pattern of multiple submissions per show. Competition is tight given the addition of new critical darlings like “The Handmaid’s Tale,” “This Is Us,” and “The Crown” in these categories.

On the comedy side, the series race tops out at 104 submissions, up almost 10 from last year, while lead actor and lead actress in the comedy categories both have 74 submissions. Lead actress is up 10 vs last year, but interestingly, lead actor is actually down three.

That’s a trend that continues in the Limited Series performer categories: Lead actress in a limited series has 50 submissions, up markedly from 30 last year (not a surprise given the crush of series like “Big Little Lies” and “Feud”), while lead actor in a limited series has 38 submissions, down from 52 last year. And despite the growing popularity of close-ended programming, the number of entries in the limited series is flat from last year, with 25 submissions.

This year the TV Academy also added two new categories: Music Supervision and Casting in a Reality Series. Music Supervision proved to be a popular category right from the jump, drawing 90 submissions from every genre of television, while casting in a reality series brought in another 38 submissions.

Academy voters have until June 26 to read through all of the names and cast their ballots. The official nominees for the 69th Annual Emmy Awards will be announced at 8am PT on Thursday, July 13.

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