With the end of the 2010-2011 TV season over last week, the speculation has begun as to what shows will get nominated for the TV industry's top honors: The Emmy Awards. If you go to sites like TVLine.com, Deadline.com, Television Without Pity or Entertainment Weekly, you will find many articles about who the front-runners are in the respective categories. So this week, on my blog I will discuss and breakdown the various Comedy categories and their potential nominees. The reason I am only discussing the Comedy categories is because the only Dramas that I have been watching are the "procedurals" (like NCIS and Criminal Minds), which are loved by many but rarely on the Emmy Radar. The only Emmy-worthy drama I watch is The Good Wife, and that is poised to be the only network drama nominated amongst a range of cable hits (re: Mad Men and Dexter). Therefore, I don't feel qualified to give my opinion on the Drama categories just yet (we'll wait until the nominations come out and I have had a chance to catch up on the Emmy-worthy dramas). With that said, let's dive right in! I have broken each of the five major Comedy categories down into four "Distinctions" (or Sections), the definitions for which can be seen below.
For Sures: These are the ones that are definite locks to get nominated (for whatever reason!).
Favorites: Their nomination is not as guaranteed, but have extremely strong chances.
Possibles: This is the "Wild Card" section, where any one of these can pull off a surprise and get nominated.
Long Shots: These are the ones that get mentioned in "Dream Ballots," but their chances are less likely.
Now, on with my speculations:
BEST COMEDY SERIES
Glee - There have been many hit shows over the years that have been plagued with what is referred to as a "sophomore slump," meaning that their second season is not as good as their first. An argument can certainly be made that the FOX musical mega-hit has suffered from that ailment, but the network is throwing so much weight behind the series that the show will inevitably garner a second Emmy nod for Best Comedy (despite its more dramatic overtones).
30 Rock - NBC's awards darling won this award 3 years in a row and garnered a nod last year (for a generally considered also-ran fourth season). Despite losing to Modern Family, the show stepped up its game for its fifth season and is still considered by many critics to be one of the smartest sitcoms on Television. It has become a staple of the category.
The Big Bang Theory - The CBS hit made a bold move to Thursdays and won the ratings battle (Thanks in large part to last year's Emmy win for star Jim Parsons!). The show could find itself getting its first nomination in the top category for a much-lauded fourth season.
Hot In Cleveland - TV Land's first original scripted series is a throwback to the nostalgic multi-camera, live-audience sitcom. It is bolstered by a industry-beloved cast (including the phenomenal Betty White!) and a massive awards campaign behind it from the cable network.
The Office - With the departure of star Steve Carell, the NBC hit had a creative resurgence this year that many critics felt was long overdue. The show could be honored with a nod (and a potential win!) just for Carell's last episode alone.
The Big C - The new Showtime "dramedy" surprised many by garnering a Golden Globe nomination for Best Comedy Series earlier this year. The strength of star Laura Linney's performance could garner the show a nomination in the top category (much like Nurse Jackie got last year!).
Community - The NBC show's exclusion from the category last year riled a few pundits and they opined that the series' second season is quite Emmy-worthy (despite its quirky/subversive style). But with 30 Rock and The Office getting more campaign support from the network (not all, just more), it is unlikely NBC can pull off a hat-trick and dominate the category (like they once did in the 1980s and early '90s).
Nurse Jackie - Showtime's dark and serio-comic series received a Best Comedy Series nod last year mainly because of the strength of star Edie Falco (who won the Best Actress award). The show could repeat but it faces tough competition from its own network (see The Big C).
Parks and Recreation - NBC's plucky mockumentary-style series has become a critical favorite and had a creative resurgence with the addition of Rob Lowe to the cast. While many critics would love to see this series make it all the way to the Winner's Circle on Emmy night, the network is throwing more support behind more perennial favorites (like 30 Rock and The Office).
Chuck, NBC; Cougar Town, ABC; Eastbound & Down, HBO; Entourage, HBO; Episodes, Showtime; How I Met Your Mother, CBS; It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, F/X; The Middle, ABC; Raising Hope, FOX; Weeds, Showtime
BEST ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES
CATEGORY BREAKDOWN - Previous winners Jim Parsons and Alec Baldwin are shoo-ins to get nominated and Steve Carell's swan song season is guaranteed to garner him a nod. Cable stars Thomas Jane and Matt LeBlanc are favorites with the critics and with Tony Shalhoub and Larry David out of the race this year, spots have opened up. Matthew Morrison could ride the success of his show to a second nod, but he (and Jane and LeBlanc) face tough competition from newcomers Lucas Neff and Rob Lowe (who is submitting himself as a lead!) and previous non-nominees David Duchovny and Joel McHale. And Charlie Sheen missed the deadline to submit (but he could get "written-in" if the voters are so inclined!).
Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock; Steve Carell, The Office; Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory
Thomas Jane, Hung; Joel McHale, Community; Matthew Morrison, Glee
Louis C. K., Louie; David Duchovny, Californication; Matt LeBlanc, Episodes; Rob Lowe, Parks and Recreation
Johnny Galecki, The Big Bang Theory; Zachary Levi, Chuck; Danny McBride, Eastbound & Down; Lucas Neff, Raising Hope; Charlie Sheen, Two and a Half Men
BEST ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES
CATEGORY BREAKDOWN - Showtime stars have seemed to dominate this category recently and it is unlikely that will end anytime soon. Laura Linney is riding high from a Golden Globe win and last year's Emmy champ Edie Falco is likely to join her on the list of nominees. Tina Fey is one of the most respected comedic actresses around and is assured a fifth nod (she won back in 2008!). Toni Collette (another Showtime star and 2009's winner) could muster a nomination even though her show was recently axed by the cable network. Last year's newcomer-nominees Lea Michele and Amy Poehler remain in position to repeat with respective nominations, that is unless Courtney Cox or Mary-Louise Parker can get similar (and even more) support from their respective networks. And let's not forget the highly respected and much-lauded newcomers Melissa McCarthy and Martha Plimpton.
Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie; Tina Fey, 30 Rock; Laura Linney, The Big C
Toni Collette, United States of Tara; Lea Michele, Glee; Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation
Courtney Cox, Cougar Town; Melissa McCarthy, Mike & Molly; Mary-Louise Parker, Weeds; Martha Plimpton, Raising Hope
Marcia Cross, Desperate Housewives; Kaley Cuoco, The Big Bang Theory; Teri Hatcher, Desperate Housewives; Patricia Heaton, The Middle; Felicity Huffman, Desperate Housewives
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES
CATEGORY BREAKDOWN - Chris Colfer has had one of the best years on his show and the most character growth (he was rewarded with a Golden Globe for his effort). Ty Burrell and Eric Stonestreet (last year's winner) are assured nominations as they usually stand out in their show's impressive cast. Their co-stars Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Ed O'Neill, while not as over-the-top memorable, certainly could earn nods for their work. Then there is Neil Patrick Harris, who is the category's favorite perennial nominee. While this would polish off the category's six spots, there is competition in the form of Jon Cryer, Nick Offerman and Rainn Wilson. And don't count out past winner Jeremy Piven!
Ty Burrell, Modern Family; Chris Colfer, Glee; Eric Stonestreet, Modern Family
Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Modern Family; Neil Patrick Harris, How I Met Your Mother; Ed O'Neill, Modern Family
Jon Cryer, Two and a Half Men; Nick Offerman, Parks and Recreation; Jeremy Piven, Entourage; Rainn Wilson, The Office
Garrett Dillahunt, Raising Hope; Ed Helms, The Office; Tracy Morgan, 30 Rock; Mike O'Malley, Glee; Danny Pudi, Community
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES
CATEGORY BREAKDOWN - Last year's champ Jane Lynch is most assured to get a nomination (thanks to her Golden Globe win earlier this year!). Betty White's career resurgence has made her a favorite with many industry voters (as her SAG win proved). Sofia Vergara has received praise (even from her own co-stars!) and her colleague Julie Bowen also has a strong chance of making her way onto the nominations' list. Perennial favorite Jane Krakowski is always welcome at any awards show and Kristen Wiig is the most beloved cast member of the long-running variety series (having been nominated twice before). Betty White's co-stars made a bold move and decided to submit themselves in the Supporting category (as opposed to the Lead), so Wendie Malick or Jane Leeves could find they have nominations. Then there are previous nominees Jenna Fischer and Holland Taylor who may get their respective chances. Quite frankly, with Lynch, White and Vergara (and possibly Bowen) as locks, the rest of the category is up in the air!
Jane Lynch, Glee; Sofia Vergara, Modern Family; Betty White, Hot In Cleveland
Julie Bowen, Modern Family; Jane Krakowski, 30 Rock; Kristen Wiig, Saturday Night Live
Mayim Bialik, The Big Bang Theory; Wendie Malick, Hot In Cleveland; Jane Leeves, Hot In Cleveland; Holland Taylor, Two and a Half Men
Valerie Bertinelli, Hot In Cleveland; Jenna Fischer, The Office; Tamsin Greig, Episodes; Swoosie Kurtz, Mike & Molly; Merrit Weaver, Nurse Jackie
We will know the answer to the "Who will be Nominated?" question come July 14 when the Emmy nominations are revealed. Soon after that, I will have my predictions as to who will win! Next Week, 10 FAVORITES returns and goes (back) to Broadway!