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1979: Literally a 3 Show Race.

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    Digging through the nomination history of the Emmys, I have come across an odd trend. During the 5 nominee era, it was not uncommon for a category to have 4, or even 3, nominees. The poster child for this phenomenon is the 31st Emmys from 1979.

    In ’78 only Comedy Writing had less than 5 nominees for a “Big 7” category. Here is the resume for 1979.

    3 nominees
    -Drama Series
    -Limited Series
    -Supporting Actress, Drama
    -Directing, Mini/Movie

    4 nominees
    -Lead Actor, Drama
    -Lead Actress, Drama
    -Lead Actor, Mini/Movie
    -Supporting Actress, Comedy
    -Supporting Actress, Drama
    -Directing, Drama
    -Writing, Drama

    Despite the shrunken field, Lou Grant still received 12 noms. 1980 would have 8 categories with empty slots.

    Does anyone know the cause of this? Was there a voting threshold in place?

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