LOS ANGELES – While "Desperate Housewives" and "Lost" sought to repeat their Emmy Awards dominance, changes to nominations rules gave lower-profile series a new shot at recognition. Bids for the 58th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards were to be announced Thursday by past Emmy winners Julia Louis-Dreyfus ("Seinfeld") and Brad Garrett ("Everybody Loves Raymond").
In February, Emmy officials revamped the awards rules for the second time in as many years to try to make the field more inclusive.
Although ABC newcomers "Desperate Housewives" and "Lost" captured top awards last year, critically acclaimed shows on smaller networks, such as WB's "Gilmore Girls," once again couldn't even get into the contest.
Under the new approach, blue-ribbon panels picked the five nominees each for comedy and drama series from 10 front-runners as decided by a vote of the academy's general membership. Videotapes of shows were used by panelists in their decisions.
Previously, leading vote-getters in the general vote were declared the final nominees.
Another change occurred in the comedy and drama series acting categories, with the performers who make the first pass at picking the nominees joined by directors and casting executives. A panel decided the final nominations list.
A brief ceremony focused on nominees in the top 11 categories was set for the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences' Leonard H. Goldenson Theatre, with the academy's chairman, Dick Askin, joining Louis-Dreyfus and Garrett. There is a total of 94 Emmy categories.
The Emmy Awards are scheduled to air Aug. 27 on NBC, with Conan O'Brien as host of the Shrine Auditorium ceremony. The awards, traditionally held in September at the start of the TV season, were moved up because of NBC's addition of Sunday-night football to its schedule.
Other Emmy honors, including those for technical achievement and guest actors and actresses in series, will be given at the creative-arts ceremony on Aug. 19.