The Twilight Zone Emmy Eligibility

CBS All Access isn’t exactly overflowing with must-see content, with Star Trek Discovery and The Good Fight being the only two original hits in their library. But since The Twilight Zone reboot came along, plenty more people have been flocking to the streaming subscription service, and the show is bound to end up with some Emmy nominations later this year, but not in the category you might think.

Unlike other anthology shows that have landed accolades from the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, such as American Horror Story or Fargo, The Twilight Zone won’t be competing in the category for Outstanding Limited Series. Instead, the sci-fi series reboot will be vying for a spot in the Outstanding Drama Series category. That will give the series much more competition, but that’s not the only hurdle the series is facing when it comes to landing Emmy nominations.

Variety has news on The Twilight Zone‘s plan for campaigning for Emmy nominations this year. The reason for The Twilight Zone Emmy eligibility ending up in Outstanding Drama Series comes mostly from precedent. The original iteration of the series, which ran from 1959 through 1964, and it not only competed as a drama series, but it won two awards for writing in that category in 1960 and 1961. The latter year also saw the series nomination for Outstanding Drama Series.

Because of this precedent, CBS TV Studios had to submit a request to the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences to switch the series from being classified as a drama series to a limited series. You would think that’s where the show belongs since every season has individual episodes that don’t carry over story elements or characters from season to season. However, The Twilight Zone also doesn’t carry over characters from episode to episode in an individual season, meaning it didn’t meet the guidelines to qualify as a limited series like American Horror Story or American Crime Story.

At one time, The Twilight Zone could have maybe entered individual episodes in the Outstanding Television Movie category. Black Mirror episodes like “San Junipero” and “USS Callister” have taken that route, and they both ended up winning in 2017 and 2018 respectively. However, the Academy is trying to stop that route by saying “submissions for outstanding TV movie Emmy must now be at least 75 minutes long.” That left CBS All Access only one choice.

So The Twilight Zone will compete in the drama category, and it’ll be joined this year by American Horror Story, which also doesn’t qualify for the limited series category this year. The qualifying season this year, American Horror Story: Apocalypse, brought in story elements and characters from previous seasons, making it ineligible as a limited series and forcing it into the drama category.

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The Jordan Peele Dilemma

Even though The Twilight Zone has the category debacle sorted out, there’s one other issues CBS TV Studios still have to work out: where can Jordan Peele be submitted as performer?

Jordan Peele is the host of The Twilight Zone, but he’s not exactly playing a character. Like Rod Serling, Peele is himself when it comes to hosting The Twilight Zone. But there’s no category for Outstanding Host in a Drama Series. The only host categories that exist are for shows like reality or competition programs and variety series and specials. There’s no scripted category for hosts at all.

Now CBS TV Studios is talking with the the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences about whether or not Peele can be submitted as a supporting actor. After all, it could be argued that Peele isn’t exactly playing himself, but a version of themselves, and thus, technically fictionalized as a character.

We’ll find out how this all plays out soon enough. Nomination voting begins on June 10 and the nominations will be announced on July 16. The Twilight Zone is likely to land some nominations, but we’ll have to wait and see how many.

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