Emmy Spotlight 2007: Comedy Series

Jun 4, 2007  •  Post A Comment

When the Primetime Emmy nominations are announced on July 19, will the traditional sitcom—shows like “Entourage,” “My Name Is Earl” and “The Office”—take center stage in the comedy series category? Or will the hybrid, one-hour comedy-dramas, shows like “Ugly Betty” and “Desperate Housewives,” be the industry darling? That’s one of the key questions to consider when making predictions.
“Some of these shows, you wonder if they’re comedies or dramas,” said TV Guide columnist Michael Ausiello. “‘Gilmore Girls’ is one that has always straddled that fence. ‘Ugly Betty’ is definitely more of a comedy. We can expect ‘Ugly Betty’ to be in the best comedy show category, and I wouldn’t be surprised if a couple of supporting actors get in there, too.”
Having already been cited this year by the Peabody Awards and Golden Globes, “Ugly Betty” is a consensus favorite for Emmy, say the critics—and it is entered as a comedy. Wesley Hyatt, author of “Emmy Award-Winning Nighttime Television Shows, 1948-2004,” also is high on “Ugly Betty’s” potential.
“‘Ugly Betty’ will be nominated for sure. Its one drawback is that it is a dramedy, and some voters may dismiss it out of hand as being unfair to compare against standard half-hour comedies. But it will certainly do well in the supporting actor category—with Christopher Gorham, Michael Urie, Tony Plana and even young Mark Indelicato all having good shots—and supporting actress as well.”
ABC’s other dramedy, “Desperate Housewives,” was shut out of the major Emmys last year, but it’s likely to be back in the mix this year. “They had a bounce-back year, especially in the first half of the season,” said M.C. Cooper, TV editor at Men.com. “Between ‘Desperate Housewives’ and ‘Ugly Betty,’ ABC seems to have cornered the market on hourlong comedies. They could even put ‘Boston Legal’ in the comedy category, if they wanted to.”
What about last year’s winner, “The Office”? The NBC single-camera sitcom grabbed the comedy series Emmy, despite “My Name Is Earl’s” wins for writing and directing. “‘The Office’ will win again, because it is a strong ensemble effort that Emmy voters admire, and it won last year, both favorable indicators,” said Mr. Hyatt. “Also, I predict only ‘Two and a Half Men’ will repeat from last year, and I am not really confident about that one. ‘Scrubs’ nearly was canceled, and I do not think it will have the momentum behind it that the two NBC sitcoms I have listed do.”
Mr. Ausiello is pinning his hopes on a third NBC sitcom. “I hope ’30 Rock’ sneaks in there. It’s another small show that has struggled in the ratings but it’s one of the, if not the, funniest shows on TV.”
“When it comes to traditional sitcoms I think CBS is the best, and they could get some surprise nominations here,” said Ms. Cooper. “‘Two and a Half Men’ was a nominee last year, and ‘The New Adventures of Old Christine’ was a winner for Julia Louis-Dreyfus. The show could be nominated this year, and if I had a vote, I’d include ‘How I Met Your Mother,’ which had a great second season.”
“‘My Name Is Earl’ has its moments,” said Mr. Hyatt, “but I’ve always had a soft spot for ‘Reno 911,’ which is one of those so-lowbrow-I-dare-you-not-to-laugh efforts.”
HBO’s “Entourage” and Showtime’s “Weeds” are strong candidates in the comedy series category. “‘Entourage’ is one of the funniest TV shows ever about the entertainment business, and you know the industry is watching it. I predict it’ll get a handful of Emmy nominations, for show, writing and directing probably,” said Ms. Cooper. “‘Weeds,’ which I think is also worthy, may just get the acting nods more than best comedy.”
For the first time in its run, “Gilmore Girls” will not be eligible in the comedy category, so if the show and its stars, Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel, are to get nominated, it’ll be for their dramatic work. “This year, interestingly enough, they are entering in drama,” said Mr. Ausiello. “Amy Sherman-Palladino, who created the show, always said they had to stick to comedy and not go back and forth. But since she left last year, they made the decision this year to try their luck in drama. A lot of people think the reason Lauren Graham never got a nomination was because some of her best work has been dramatic. I’ll be cheering if she gets a nomination, but this hasn’t been her strongest year. It’ll be interesting to see.”
At a Glance
Leading Contender
The Office (NBC)
Other Likely Nominees
Ugly Betty (ABC)
My Name Is Earl (NBC)
Entourage (HBO)
Desperate Housewives (ABC)
Solid Picks
Weeds (Showtime)
Two and a Half Men (CBS)
The New Adventures of Old Christine (CBS)
Deserve to be Nominated But Won’t Be
30 Rock (NBC)
How I Met Your Mother (CBS)

One Comment

  1. I sure hope they bring Rose back. She is a PRIZE !! The whole show worked together so good that I can’t imagin the show leting her go. Berta, Rose, and the Mother, are as much of the shows success as Charlie and Allen. It has to be the funniest show that has EVER been on TV. You just have to be FAST and your MIND has to be in the RIGHT place !!! A. Sciolaro

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