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The White Lotus Will Have to Compete as a Drama at the 2023 Emmys

The drama category is sure to be a bloodbath this September.
  • Jennifer Coolidge in The White Lotus (Photo: HBO)
    Jennifer Coolidge in The White Lotus (Photo: HBO)

    The White Lotus' days as an anthology series are numbered, as Variety reports the HBO show is no longer able to compete in the Limited/Anthology Series category at the Emmys. 

    Despite Jennifer Coolidge’s return as Tanya McQuoid, Season 2 of The White Lotus was initially ruled to fall under the Outstanding Limited or Anthology Series category. According to the Television Academy, a show is considered a limited series when “the story arc [is] completely resolved within its season, with no ongoing storyline and/or main characters in subsequent seasons.” In that sense, Coolidge’s character Tanya passed on a technicality, as she wasn’t considered to be a “main character.” But the Academy has now offically ruled that the series will have to be submitted in the Outstanding Drama categories for the 2023 Emmys. 

    Looking ahead, the drama category is sure to be a bloodbath. While The White Lotus dominated at the Emmys last year, there’s no telling how it will do in September. Critical darling Succession, which nabbed the top honor in 2022, returns for its fourth season on March 24, well within the eligibility timeframe. Other major contenders include the final season of Better Call Saul (hopefully giving Bob Odenkirk the Emmy he truly deserves), as well as newbies The Last of Us and House of the Dragon.

    The Television Academy appears to be following in the footsteps of the SAG Awards and the Critics Choice Awards, which both already shifted the series from limited to drama. And since The White Lotus has been renewed for a third season, it’s clear that the boundaries for what constitutes a limited series have been pushed. But Mike White's drama is hardly the first to be recategorized — several notable television shows have had to make the move from limited series to drama, including Downton Abbey, American Horror Story, and most recently, Big Little Lies.

    Dianna Shen is a TV Writer at Primetimer based in New York. Her work has been featured in Paste Magazine and Decider, among other outlets.

    TOPICS: The White Lotus, HBO, Mike White, Emmys