'Family Guy' and 'Simpsons' Writers Protest 'Community' Emmy Submission

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The Emmys can be rather confusing for all their rules and regulations, in that certain shows can't compete, or that animation can't submit itself for writing categories, instead remaining its own category.  Now, the latest Emmy ballot has the writers of 'Family Guy, 'The Simpsons' and others hopping mad, but what does 'Community' have to do with it?

As reported by EW, it would seem that 52 writers in the animation community, including 'Family Guy's Seth MacFarlane and 'The Simpsons' Al Jean have fired off a protest to Emmy overlords the Television Academy over 'Community's presence on the Best Animated Program ballot.  In addition to a number of other nominations, 'Community' found itself on the animation Emmy ballot for its submission of video game-animated episode "Digital Estate Planning."

Writers in the animation community (no pun intended) protest that this meets an unfair technicality, in which 'Community' is being considered for both live-action, and animated categories.  Emmy rules state that animation can't submit itself for live-action writing categories, only the overall Best Comedy Series, which 'Family Guy' has attempted to win for years.  Animation writing Emmys are traditionally given during the Creative Arts ceremony instead of the major prime-time telecast.

Check out the letter, and roster of names partaking in the letter sent to the Television Academy:

To Whom It May Concern:

Television Academy

We the undersigned animation showrunners and writers desire to address what we have regarded as a pernicious and unfair ruling by the Academy for the past 20 years, which we believe now, more than ever, should be redressed.

We have been told that animated program writers could not also submit their work for writing Emmys, for reasons we never understood, but supposedly pertaining to the purity of the branches.

This is why no one was more startled than we when last year “Community” was able to submit for comedy series, writing, and animated program, in the face of everything we had been told for two decades.  We were told that for some reason, a one-time waiver was granted.

Imagine our surprise when this year we see “Community” once again eligible for comedy series, writing, animated program, and short-form animated program.  This letter is in no way intended to be a slight on the terrific show “Community” but a request from us to enjoy the very same rights they now do.  Clearly the Academy’s ban on submitting in multiple categories is being enforced in an arbitrary and unfair manner.  We therefore request that we also be able to submit our programs for both animation and comedy series as well as in the writing category.

Respectfully,

Richard Appel
Mike Barker
Kit Boss
James L. Brooks
Stewart Burns
Steve Callaghan
Brett Cawley
Joe Chandler
David X. Cohen
Joel Cohen
Jim Dautrieve
John Frink
Tom Gammill
Valentina Garza
Stephanie Gillis
David A. Goodman
Dan Greaney
Matt Groening
Michael Henry
Mark Hentemann
Eric Horsted
Al Jean
Artie Johann
Stephen Kane
Ken Keeler
Brian Kelley
Jon Kern
Rob LaZebnik
Tim Long
Robert Maitia
Seth MacFarlane
Steve Marmel
Ian Maxtone-Graham
Patrick Meighan
Wendy Molyneux
Bill Odenkirk
Carolyn Omine
Don Payne
Michael Price
Eric Rogers
Michael Rowe
Jon Schroeder
Brian Scully
Mike Scully
Matt Selman
Rick Singer
Patric M. Verrone
Ali Waller
Josh Weinstein
Matt Weitzman
Jeff Westbrook
Marc Wilmore

Not only that, but the Television Acadmy has issued a response and defense of its own, saying:

It is a general rule of the Emmy competition that producers, writers and directors enter separately in their own program or individual achievement categories, e.g., comedy series writers enter the Writing for a Comedy Series category, drama series directors enter the Directing for a Drama Series category, etc.

Eligibility in animation programming is an exception to this general rule, because the animation producers, writers and directors enter the Animated Program category together as a team.  There is no separate category for the individual achievements of animation writing and directing. (However, if an animated series opts to enter in Comedy Series rather than Animated Program category, then the individual achievement categories are open to them, e.g., writers can enter Writing for a Comedy Series category.)

“Community” is a Comedy Series that for the last two years has included an animated “special episode.”  The competition includes a rule that a special episode can enter as a stand-alone special, “if it involved a significant and substantive format change throughout e.g. from whole-episode live action to whole-episode animation.” The “Community” producers followed that rule when they entered the producer-writer-director team for the animated episode in the Animation category and the regular, live-action episodes in the Comedy Series program and Comedy Series individual achievement categories.

What do you think?  Do the animation writers have a right to complain about 'Community's Emmy potential, or did the Academy make the right decision?  Tell us who you most thing deserves an Emmy in the comments below!

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