Defending comedy series champ <i>30 Rock</i> will have extra Emmy competition in 2009. Defending comedy series champ 30 Rock will have extra Emmy competition in 2009.

This year, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences will add a sixth nominee to the 10 major Emmy categories, including best comedy and drama series, according to Variety. The lead and supporting actor and actress categories in both drama and comedy will also include a sixth nominee.

"We're trying to increase our inclusiveness," said Academy chairman and CEO John Shaffner, who noted an increase in "bubbling under" contenders in recent years. Some of the series left out in the cold last year included Flight of the Conchords, Weeds and Pushing Daisies on the comedy side. Friday Night Lights and The Wire were among the snubbed dramas.

There have been six nominees in some past years when the fifth and sixth vote-getters tied, but the Academy is now making the sixth nominee the rule rather than the exception. Shaffner noted that similar ties in the future could allow up to seven nominees in a category.

The Academy is also streamlining the nomination process, doing away with the blue ribbon panels added in 2006. Now, the TV Academy's voting body will directly nominate the six series in each category, and performer peer groups will select the acting nominees.

"We wanted to make our rules more transparent and less confusing," Shaffner said. "This is now straightforward, so everyone can understand how the process works."

Are you happy with the expansion? Do you think the added nominee slots will help more of your favorites get the recognition they deserve?