Sheila Nevins


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Why American Horror Story is a Miniseries, and This Year's Other Emmy Trivia

The decision to place American Horror Story in the movie and miniseries categories paid off for the show — probably better than anyone expected. The anthology series received a whopping 17 nominations, tied with Mad Men for the most this year.

American Horror Story could have gone into the drama field — but the Academy of TV Arts and Sciences ruled earlier this year that it was eligible to be classified as a miniseries. (PBS' Prime Suspect is a previous example of a show that competed in the miniseries category.)

"The rules of the academy are pretty clear," says TV academy chairman Bruce Rosenblum. "If a show qualifies in more than one category that producer is entitled to choose which category they want to submit. The American Horror Story example is unique. The way the show is designed, it's a very close-ended series this year. Our academy was convinced that this belonged in the miniseries category and voted accordingly." That decision hasn't sat well with some movie and miniseries producers ("I feel the academy made a very poor decision," Hatfields & McCoys executive producer Leslie Greif told TV Guide Magazine last month.)

But the debate over how to classify TV shows that defy categorization — witness the debate over whether Desperate Housewives is a comedy — is an ongoing one at the TV Academy. "It's an evolving industry," says Rosenblum, who notes that the organization is still figuring out how to deal with the growth of programs produced for digital platforms.

Here are several more trivia nuggets and curiosities that have emerged out of this year's Emmy nominations:read more


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TV Listings



Year Title Description
2012 The Weight of the Nation TV Show Series, Executive Producer
2012 Don't Divorce Me! Kids' Rules for Parents on Divorce TV Show Series, Executive Producer
2011 The Great American Dream Machine TV Show Series, Appearing
2011 The Latino List TV Show Series, Executive Producer
2011 Prayer for a Perfect Season TV Show Series, Executive Producer

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