Emmys merging Best TV Movie and Miniseries races

After two years in a row in which only a pair of nominees contended for Best Miniseries, the Emmy Awards are consolidating that category with Best TV Movie. There will be six nominees in this combined category. All of the other races, including acting, directing and writing, have considered the two genres together since the late 1970s.

Last year, HBO’s epic 10-part miniseries “The Pacific” prevailed over the PBS production “Return to Cranford.” In 2009, it was the pubcaster’s “Little Dorrit” that won over the paycaster’s “Generation Kill.” HBO has won Best Miniseries seven times since 1998. Even though a mini-series need only have two parts, the broadcast networks have not contended in the category since 2005 when the CBS production of “Elvis” lost to the PBS’s “The Lost Prince.”

HBO has held almost a complete lock on the Best TV Movie award, winning for 15 of the last 17 years. It triumphed again last year with “Temple Grandin” and for the previous five years in a row as well. The only broadcast TV movie to contend in the last decade was ABC’s “A Raisin in the Sun” in 2008; it lost to “Recount,” one of HBO’s three nominees that year.

At last year’s Emmys, HBO’s golden touch extended to the mini/movie acting races with its productions sweeping all of them as well as the directing and writing prizes. This year, it has a strong contender with the miniseries “Mildred Pierce” starring Oscar champ Kate Winslet (“The Reader”) in the title role that won Joan Crawford her only Academy Award back in 1945.

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