Ever since Game of Thrones first debuted in 2011, the show has been nominated every single year. That sometimes meant the show was merely honored with nominations, while other years saw the series lavished by the voting body of Academy members, winning award after award.
Why? It all comes down to timing. Game of Thrones seventh season premiered on July 16, 2017. It’s sixth season premiered on April 26, 2016. In order to be considered for a 2017 Emmy nomination, shows had to have premiered between June 1, 2016 and May 31, 2017. Even though Game of Thrones’ sixth season still had episodes air within those particular dates, the Academy does not count the “hanging episodes.” Those final four episodes of the sixth season are therefore invalid.
Game of Thrones seventh season will therefore be eligible for a 2018 Emmy — and will probably secure more than a few nominations in a variety of categories — but that’s why the show won’t be present this year.
HBO knew that it was going to have to premiere Game of Thrones later than usual because of storyline developments. Westeros is now in a state of deep winter and, from a logistical standpoint, that means production had to wait for later months and shorter days. That’s why the seventh season premiered in July this year as opposed to the standard January or February. It will probably be the same going forward, but there is quite some time before the next season airs. Game of Thrones eighth and final season, which will only be six episodes in length, will most likely premiere in 2019.
Even though Game of Thrones is out, HBO has plenty of other content to bank on for Emmys this season, including its newest series, Westworld.
The 69th annual Emmy Awards will air Sunday, Sept. 17 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.