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TV Q&A: 'New Normal' and Emmy rules

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Entertainment,Associated Press

Q: What do you think of the show "The New Normal"? Does it have a chance of doing more than one season? -- Joe, 39, New York

A: "The New Normal" is holding up pretty well ratings-wise and NBC ordered a full, 22-episode first season. It's too soon to say if the show will survive to have a second season, but so far the ratings are decent.

As for the quality of "The New Normal," it can be a bit of a disjointed muddle. Sometimes the show is hilarious in its political incorrectness; other times it strikes an overly strident tone. But of all the new shows this fall, "The New Normal" is trying hardest to do something different, to express a different voice than viewers normally hear in prime time. Because of that, it's the new series I'm most excited to see each week, even if I sometimes come away disappointed.

Q: What are the rules for cable shows to be eligible for the Emmys? "The Daily Show" on Comedy Central is an annual winner, but what about foreign-produced shows like "Doctor Who" or "Copper" on BBC America? -- John, 45, North Huntingdon, Pa.

A: It's a good question with a complicated answer. John Leverence, senior vice president of awards for the Television Academy, explains it this way: "The Emmy-eligible distribution platforms are broadcast network, cable (and that includes BBC America), satellite, syndication and Internet.

"As a general rule, any domestic program is eligible to enter the Prime-Time Emmy competition if it is originally, nationally broadcast, cablecast, syndicated or streams in prime time. Also as a general rule, any foreign program is ineligible for the domestic Prime-Time Emmy competition (although eligible for the International competition run by the International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences in New York). A third possibility is a joint production (financially and creatively) between a U.S. and foreign entity, which is eligible in the Prime-Time competition, e.g., 'Masterpiece' programming is a co-production of WGBH/PBS in the U.S. and a foreign entity."

I know that "Copper" is a co-production, making it eligible for the Emmys.

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