Against lighter competition, The X Factor‘s Top 7 results show last night (3.1/9) was even with its last Thursday episode two weeks ago and up 19% from last week’s results edition, which aired on Wednesday. Bones (2.8/7) was up a …
Ryan Murphy Prods w/ 20th Century Fox TV
Why It Was Nominated: Well, of course they had to nominate it. Love it or hate it, Glee remains the rare broadcast comedy that carries as much style as it does substance. It remained true even through a polarizing second season when the online community and critics consistently took the show to task for devolving into a parody of itself. Call it Sophomore Implosion Syndrome. But it’s still undeniably energetic and often imaginative.
Why It Has To Win: Unlike last year, it would be a monumental upset were Glee to take the prize this time. But the TV academy can surprise you. Voters are notorious for lagging a year or so behind the curve. While it’s something of an apples-and-oranges measure when compared with the rest of the category competition, Glee remains a technically flawless production, a fact that can’t be minimized at a time when series steeped in song and dance continue to pack ‘em in.
Why It Can’t Possibly Win: It wasn’t just fans and critics fueling the Season 2 backlash. It’s also been the industry itself, directed at both the show and at showrunner Ryan Murphy for his perceived arrogance amid its charmed early life. One comedy producer also noted, “Between the 3D concert movie and the (Glee Project) series (on Oxygen) and everyone talking about it endlessly, they got annoyingly ubiquitous real fast. I mean, if Glee wins, the sound of retching will prove deafening.” That probably doesn’t bode well.
Ray Richmond is contributing to Deadline’s Emmy coverage.
Nominations released this morning for the 63rd Primetime Emmys continued to demonstrate the intriguing trend of broadcast dominating comedy series and cable the drama side, to the point of near-exclusivity. No cable series broke through in the Outstanding Comedy race. The last time that happened was 2005, which coincidentally was also the most recent year that all four major nets, NBC, ABC, CBS and Fox, each landed at least one best comedy series nom apiece, as they did this time. (That last fact is sure to please the Big 4, which just signed a new eight-year, $66 million deal with the TV Academy to carry the Primetime Emmy Awards through 2018.) Last year, HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm and Showtime’s Nurse Jackie both cracked the list, while in ’09 the group included HBO’s Entourage and Flight of the Conchords as well as Showtime’s Weeds. This time, however, it was a broadcast sweep with NBC’s 30 Rock and The Office, first-timers Parks and Recreation and The Big Bang Theory as well as Fox’s Glee and ABC’s defending champ Modern Family.
In the Outstanding Drama Series race, meanwhile, the superiority was almost equally absolute on the cable/satellite side, with HBO freshmen Boardwalk Empire and Game of Thrones and Emmy maiden Friday Night Lights from DirecTV joining AMC’s three-time champ Mad Men and Showtime’s annual nominee Dexter to give non-broadcast hours five of the six slots. Only CBS’ The Good Wife prevented a clean sweep. It’s the first time that broadcast has claimed just a single nominee in any major Emmy series category. (Last year, The Good Wife was joined in the category by departing ABC series Lost.)
EMMY ANALYSIS: New Drama Series, Overlooked Comedies, ‘Friday Night Lights’, Jimmy Fallon And ‘SYTYCD’ Make A Splash
63rd Primetime Emmy Nominations
HBO’s new dramas Boardwalk Empire and Game of Thrones made a big showing in their first Emmy races, Friday Night Lights received a great sendoff for its final season, Modern Family solidified its position as the undisputed comedy king, The Big Bang Theory and Parks and Recreation landed first best series noms, and Late Night With Jimmy Fallon and So You Think You Can Dance broke into the major categories at the 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards. On the heels of its Golden Globe and SAG wins, Prohibition-era extravaganza Boardwalk Empire netted an impressive tally of 18 Emmy nominations — including best drama series, best actor (Steve Buscemi) and best director (Martin Scorsese) — second only to the drama series that has dominated awards races for the past four years, AMC’s Mad Men, which had 19 noms. HBO led the network pack with 104 nominations, followed by CBS, which was the most nominated broadcast network with 50 noms, NBC with 46, PBS with 43, and this year’s host of the Primetime Emmy ceremony, Fox, with 42. HBO’s miniseries Mildred Pierce was the most nominated program overall with 21 mentions, including one in the newly consolidated best movie/miniseries category.
In its final Emmy hurrah, high school football drama Friday Night Lights earned its first best series nomination for its final season on DirecTV, along with the second consecutive best actor and best actress noms for stars Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton. In the best drama series category, Boardwalk Empire, Game of Thrones and FNL joined returning nominees Mad Men, Dexter and The Good Wife, which was once again the sole representative of broadcast TV in the top drama series category. Game of Thrones took a spot occupied by another genre series last year, HBO’s vampire drama True Blood, while notable omissions in the best drama series field include AMC’s high-profile new entries The Walking Dead and The Killing as well as FX’s Justified, all considered strong Emmy contenders, though the last two landed acting noms for stars Mireille Enos and Timothy Olyphant, respectively, and standout supporting players Michelle Forbes (The Killing), with her co-star Joel Kinnaman overlooked, and Margo Martindale, Walton Goggins and Jeremy Davies (Justified). Left out in the cold were Showtime’s drama Shameless and HBO’s Treme, as the TV Academy continues to show little love for Treme co-creator David Simon.
Following its complete dominance of the awards races following its best comedy series win at last year’s Emmy Awards, ABC’s Modern Family was once again the top comedy dog with 17 nominations, including best comedy series as well as acting nominations for the entire adult cast of the show, all of whom submitted themselves as supporting: last year’s winner Eric Stonestreet, Ty Burrell, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Sofia Vergara, Julie Bowen and Ed O’Neill, who was surprisingly left off last year’s nominee list. With no new comedy series making a big splash this past season on broadcast or cable, Emmy voters took a second look at series that had been passed over for best series recognition in the past. Both NBC’s Parks and Recreation and CBS’ The Big Bang Theory landed their first best comedy series nominations this year for their third and fourth season, respectively, but NBC’s offbeat sophomore Community and its cast were once again overlooked. Both Parks & Rec and Big Bang already had had lead actor nominations for stars Amy Poehler and Jim Parsons, who won for best comedy actor last year. Both are back in Emmy contention this year. However, Poehler’s co-star Nick Offerman was snubbed, while in another Emmy gain for Big Bang, Parsons is facing fellow star Johnny Galecki, who earned his first Emmy nomination. Joining Modern Family, Parks and Recreation and Big Bang in the best comedy series category are last year’s nominees Glee, The Office and 30 Rock.
It wasn’t a strong year for new broadcast series, so it is not surprising that none broke the best series categories. But three actresses from freshman sitcoms — Melissa McCarthy of CBS’ Mike & Molly, Martha Plimpton of Fox’s Raising Hope as well as Laura Linney of Showtime’s The Big C, which just started airing its second season — made the cut for best actress in a comedy series, where they will compete against returning nominees Tina Fey of 30 Rock, Poehler and last year’s winner Edie Falco of Nurse Jackie, though Showtime’s medical dramedy failed to repeat as best series nominee.
Here’s is the Deadline/TVline assessment of 2011 Emmy comedy races:
Deadline/TVline: 2011 Comedy Series Overview
Competition for Emmy nominations among this year’s Outstanding Comedy Series contestants is no laughing matter. The showdown between two 20th Century TV hits …
Competition for Emmy nominations among this year’s Outstanding Comedy Series contestants is no laughing matter. The showdown between two 20th Century TV hits is more intense than ever, with Modern Family showrunners Steve Levitan and Christopher Lloyd trying to score their second consecutive Emmy win, while Glee executive producer Ryan Murphy is hoping to edge them out. That is, if one or more of a duo of up-and-comers — Community or Parks and Recreation — don’t act as spoilers. Then again, past Emmy stalwarts 30 Rock or The Office could resurface. Or Showtime’s bold, female-skewing dramedies Nurse Jackie or newbie The Big C might seize the spotlight. And don’t rule out the possibility of CBS’ The Big Bang Theory finally scoring a nod in its fourth season, or How I Met Your Mother receiving recognition in its sixth. And then there are the underdogs. As The Middle’s co-showrunner Eileen Heisler (with DeAnn Heline) says about ABC’s Wednesday night lineup, “We’re really grateful to Modern Family for bringing attention to family shows. We’ve benefi tted from their success, but I think it takes a little longer for people to realize the next door neighbor in The Middle is edgy and wry.”
If Modern Family does repeat, no ABC sitcom has managed that feat since Taxi more than 30 years ago. Of course, NBC’s won three years running. And Frasier took home a record five in succession between 1994 and 1998. So it can be done. But that doesn’t mean Modern Family’s Christopher Lloyd thinks it’s a shoo-in. “Among certain segments of the blogosphere who first anointed the show that everybody is supposed to be watching, there’s another rush to declare that it stinks now. And then there will be others who’ll want to say ‘I told you so’ when it wins again.”
There’s general agreement it would take a miracle for any freshman broadcast network comedy to crash this year’s top comedy series’ Emmy party, with the possible exception of Fox’s Raising Hope. Though there’s a sliver of daylight for a newbie cable show like The Big C, despite the fact it’s a dramedy. Cable continues to make inroads in the comedy series categories, evidenced by Showtime’s Nurse Jackie capturing eight Emmy nominations last year, including one for top comedy; with Showtime’s Weeds as well as HBO’s Entourage and Curb Your Enthusiasm landing series nods in recent years. This year, TV Land’s Hot in Cleveland has Emmy buzz. But only one cable comedy has ever won: HBO’s Sex and the City in 2001.
Here’s our assessment of the chances for this year’s comedy series in alphabetical order:
Although the NBC hitcom’s three-year winning streak ended last year (done in by ABC’s freshman breakout, Modern Family), it remains an industry darling — with good reason. While not as consistent as its earlier seasons, its comedy quality never seems to wane. So, without ever actually going away, it could be primed for a comeback. But the show, which celebrated its 100th episode this season, may also be mistakenly placed in the “been there, done that” category, even with red-hot writer/producer/actress/author Tina Fey at the helm (the recent Tracy Morgan scandal notwithstanding). But if the Academy revisits NBC’s quirky workplace comedies, they just might opt for the newer Parks and Recreation or Community.
THE BIG BANG THEORY
As popular as this CBS smash is, it has yet to be Emmy nominated despite originality in its scripts and ensemble. Kudos to the producers for broadening the cast this season and stepping up the romance for Mayim Bialik’s and Melissa Rauch’s roles, especially after Jim Parsons was acknowledged as last year’s Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series winner for nerd-chic hilarity. If you’re going to vote for a Chuck Lorre show this year, this one’s decidedly less baggage-laden than Two and a Half Men, which lost its Sheen.
THE BIG C
With lead Laura Linney considered a shoo-in for an Emmy nod, a side effect is that her show’s chances of breaking into the Outstanding Comedy Series Emmy race likely increases as well. Question is, did they increase enough? Is the TV Academy ready to honor a dark comedy centering on a woman’s battle with cancer? Perhaps it’s time. If so, there could be two Showtime noms in this category for the first time, assuming Nurse Jackie repeats. Says showrunner Jenny Bicks, “It’s not going to be an easy fight for us.”
Forever floating on the renewal bubble (it will live on for a fifth and final short season of 13 episodes next season), Chuck has a well-earned reputation as The Little Show that Could. But, plucky as it is, the unlikely spy yarn remains a significant Emmy long-shot. Besides, NBC already has a couple of potential sleeper contenders at the ready in Parks and Recreation and Community.
What is arguably NBC’s most innovative comedy shoots high creatively but has yet to land commensurate ratings. Critics, however, have been quick to sing the show’s praises, perhaps loudly enough to help get it noticed by Emmy voters. Remember when Fox’s Arrested Development used critical praise to trump low viewership? Showrunner Dan Harmon likens Community’s comedy to “Krispy Kreme — we just have to get it into people’s mouths.” Or, in the case of Academy voters, into their DVD players.
In its second season, the wine-soaked “Friends for grownups” really came into its own as an ensemble comedy rather than just a Courteney Cox vehicle. And it’s even poking fun at the icky title that long ago ceased to have anything to do with the series premise. Nonetheless, it’s probably not ABC’s Wednesday night show with the most heat in this comedy category because of Modern Family.
EASTBOUND & DOWN
This back-to-fi rst-base comedy about a washed-up baseball player enjoys the prestige of HBO and the marquee value of Will Ferrell as a producer. But it’s perhaps too raunchy for older TV Academy voters. Given that producer-star Danny McBride says this forthcoming third season will be its last, Eastbound & Down likely will strike out Emmy-wise.
After landing nominations in the top comedy category for three years running, HBO’s Hollywood insider send-up didn’t make the cut the last go-round. If shut out again, it’s because Academy voters have moved on from an aging series that returns for its shortened eighth and final season on July 24th. It didn’t help when news leaked out in May that HBO pulled it from broadcast syndication by Warner Bros Domestic TV.
If the television industry’s insiders love anything more than laughing, it’s laughing at itself (see 30 Rock, Curb Your Enthusiasm). And there’s been buzz about how this Showtime Brits-out-of-water comedy reinvented Matt LeBlanc. But, even if he might, the series probably doesn’t have a high enough profile yet to garner an Emmy nod.
In 2009, the Fox show that wouldn’t die became the first animated series in nearly half a century to win an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Comedy Series. But it was shut out the very next year. So expect the next TV Academy recognition for Family Guy around 2060. One question mark is whether the toon’s unique in-your-face way of campaigning for Emmy helps or hurts to sway voters. Then again, this is the comedy series category.
At last night’s Parks and Recreation panel at the PaleyFest moderated by TVLine’s Michael Ausiello, the show’s co-creator/showrunner Mike Schur laughed off speculation that co-star Rob Lowe could be leaving Parks to replace Charlie Sheen on Two and a Half Men. Per TVLine, he first suggested that several other Parks …
The cast of NBC’s Parks & Recreation is marking the return of the comedy series on the air after a 5-month hiatus with a spoof on FunnyOrDie featuring a funny (and profane) co-star Rob Lowe. Season 3 of Parks & Recreation premieres tomorrow night. Here is the clip: