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By Todd Cunningham
LOS ANGELES (TheWrap.com) - The Writers Guild of America is changing the rules for its annual awards, giving new media shows more equal footing with broadcast and cable TV rivals, and adding a new Quiz & Audience Participation writing award.
The union made the announcement Monday.
"Whether you're watching content on a TV screen, online on a laptop, or with a hand-held device, outstanding writing and great storytelling deserve the same recognition," said WGAW President Christopher Keyser and WGAE President Michael Winship in a statement.
"These changes in eligibility and submission guidelines reflect the evolution of distribution models in the entertainment industry.
"The revisions are in line with those made by the TV Academy, which broadened its rules to allow online and streaming productions to compete in all categories.
The changes to the Writers Guild Awards rules include:
>> Both the Original and Adapted New Media categories remain intact but will be limited to programs 15 minutes or less in length and will now be referred to as Short Form New Media
>> Original and Short Form New Media - Adapted. The "adapted" category is open to new media programs based on any source material, whether a TV series, motion picture or written work.
>> All programs over 15 minutes in length will compete in existing TV categories (i.e., overall series, episodic drama, episodic comedy, etc.), which have been expanded to encompass made-for new media programming.
>> All daytime serials will compete in the Daytime Drama category, which has also been broadened to include made-for new media programming.
>> The WGA's three series awards categories - Drama, Comedy, and New Series - will be open to all programs over 15 minutes and under one hour in duration, regardless of the platform for which they were created.