Mike Bruno
February 05, 2009 AT 04:19 PM EST

The TV Academy is expanding the number of Emmy nominees for several key categories, Variety reports. The number of nominees will grow from five to six for Best Comedy and Drama, as well as Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor, and Supporting Actress in both the comedy and drama fields. The Academy made the decision after noticing how often the sixth-place finisher is neck and neck with the fifth-place finisher. The Academy has also dropped its “Blue Ribbon Panel” process, in which a smaller group of voters met each June to help whittle down a list of 10 nominees, chosen by the entire Academy (the ultimate nominee list was a 50/50 split between the panel and the membership at large). Under the new rules, the entire voting body will now determine the series nominees, and acting nominees will be picked by performer peer groups. Academy of Television Arts & Sciences chairman-CEO John Shaffner said, “We wanted to make our rules more transparent and less confusing….This is now straightforward, so everyone can understand how the process works.”

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