Producers Guild Awards 2017 eligibility switcheroo helps newcomers ‘Atlanta,’ ‘Stranger Things’ & ‘Westworld’

Hey, “Atlanta,” “Stranger Things” and “Westworld”: Do you know how lucky you are to be nominated at the 2017 Producers Guild Awards? After years of the PGA Awards heeding to the TV academy’s schedule of nominating programs airing between June 1 of one year and May 31 of the next, they have decided to change the eligibility period. For this ceremony only, there is a year-and-a-half eligibility on the TV side, from June 2015 to December 2016. That’s to make way for next year’s big change, when the cycle of contention will be the strict calendar year of January through December. Newcomers “Atlanta” (FX), “Stranger Things” (Netflix) and “Westworld” (HBO) all benefited from this change, which now bodes well for their upcoming Emmy Awards chances.

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While the Emmys have expanded the marquee categories of Best Comedy and Drama Series to seven nominees, the guild is sticking with five. Besides “Atlanta,” the other PGA comedy contenders are “Black-ish,” “Modern Family,” “Silicon Valley” and Emmy champ “Veep.” Three other Emmy nominees failed to make the cut with the producers guild: “Master of None,” “Transparent” and “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.”

Battling it out against “Stranger Things” and “Westworld” for the PGA’s drama trophy are “Better Call Saul,” “House of Cards” and Emmy winner “Game of Thrones.” A whopping four Emmy nominees got shut out in the cold by the producers this year — “The Americans,” “Downton Abbey,” “Homeland” and “Mr. Robot” — suggesting there’s just too much good TV these days.

In the TV movie/limited series race, will FX’s “The People v. O.J. Simpson” continue its juggernaut through the entire awards derby? It faces off against Emmy nominees “The Night Manager” and “Sherlock: The Abominable Bride,” as well as newcomers “Black Mirror” and “The Night Of” which also benefited from the PGA’s new eligibility period.

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The winners of the last year’s PGA Awards mostly echoed that cycle’s Emmys, with one major exception: “Transparent” surprised by winning Best Comedy Series over “Veep.” That upset is strange in hindsight considering “Transparent” wasn’t even nominated this year by the producers. Rounding out last year’s PGA champs were “Game of Thrones” (drama), “Fargo” (limited series), “The Jinx” (non-fiction), “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” (variety) and “The Voice” (reality).

The film motion picture and animated feature nominees will be announced on Jan. 10, while all winners for the 2017 PGA Awards will be revealed on Saturday, Jan. 28 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles.

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