Emmy Comedy Speculation

Who will take the vacated 'Curb' slot?

We’re enjoying the Interregnum between the first round of Emmy voting and the July 18 announcement of the nominations. Tuesday was spent speculating on the drama series category; today brings points of intrigue in comedy.

Requiem for a champion? It ain’t over ’til it’s over, but it just seems like the winning streak is due to end for three-time defending champion “Modern Family.” Ratings are slightly down, and a certain level of fan ennui seems to have increased. Even if it’s going to be a bridesmaid, however, there remains no more likely bet for a nomination.

Requiems for the veterans? It’s the last Emmy rodeo for NBC’s “30 Rock” and “The Office.” The Tina Fey showcase has been nominated every year of its existence, and critics mostly agreed that the show bid farewell on a high note (though I’ll admit to being less enamored of the finale than others). The five-year nominations streak for “The Office” ended in 2012, the first season without Steve Carell, making it more of a longshot. However, a final season that seemed more substantial than the previous one and that brought nice closure to the series (along with a Carell cameo) puts it back in the conversation.

Too “Big” to fail? “The Big Bang Theory” didn’t get its first series nomination until after its fifth season, but with its critical and ratings bonafides at their peak, a third nomination in a row seems a foregone conclusion, Logic would dictate that there’s no more likely show to inherit the “Modern Family” throne, but …

HBO, HBO … HBO? Emmy comedy isn’t the slave to cable that Emmy drama has become, but HBO is certainly doing it share to change that. Twelve years after “Sex and the City” became the only cable series to win the comedy Emmy, the paybler has two prime candidates: the conversation piece that is “Girls,” and the dryly cutting humor of “Veep.” Each was nominated a year ago as freshman, and each arguably built more momentum in season two. Whether either can win is one thing, but whether they’ll be in the final six is much less debatable. Then there’s “Enlightened,” which was canceled after a second season that knocked the critics for a loop. With “Curb Your Enthusiasm” on hiatus, there’s room for another HBO comedy to ascend to the championship round.

“Arrested” paroled? In its three-year run on Fox, “Arrested Development” never went without an Emmy nomination, despite low ratings. Its rise from the ashes on Netflix met with initial mixed reviews, though those who didn’t race to react seemed to find more value in it as time went on. Netflix’s campaign for the show has been strong, helping to keep “Arrested” in the running for the slot vacated by “Curb.”

But what about? “Louie” has been nominated for five Emmys, but never for comedy series. Given the love for Louis C.K. (and the awareness that the show will be ineligible next year due to its own hiatus), this is a serious contender. “Parks and Recreation” was nominated in 2011 but omitted in 2012. Now-canceled “Happy Endings” is the kind of cult show whose fans could make the most noise over a perceived snub. “The Middle” has a broader base but still feels like an outsider. Showtime would like to get in on the fun, but “Nurse Jackie” (last nominated in 2010) and “House of Lies” seem better suited for the acting races. “New Girl” quietly put together a strong second season, but perhaps the window of appreciation has already closed.

Freshman freezeout? “The Mindy Project,” “Legit” and “Maron” are among the newcomers with merit, but it’s unlikely they can make a dent against the group lined up ahead of them.

One man’s wish list: “The Big Bang Theory,” “Louie” and “Parks and Recreation” are the most fervent hopes.

One man’s best guesses: “30 Rock,” “The Big Bang Theory,” “Girls,” “Louie,” “Modern Family,” “Veep.”

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