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Emmys: Comedy’s Lack of Change Says Something, But What?

The more things don’t change, the more people wonder

If the 2013 Emmy comedy series category looks overly familiar, well, it should.

With just one exception, this year’s nominees — including NBC’s “30 Rock,” HBO’s “Girls,” ABC’s “Modern Family,” CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory” and HBO’s “Veep” — are the same as they were in 2012.

The only change in the comedy series nominations lineup was the addition of FX’s “Louie,” which took the place of HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” which hasn’t produced a new season since 2011.

“We’re in an incredible period of excellent dramas, but I don’t think the same can be said about comedy,” says Denver Post TV critic Joanne Ostrow. “That said, there are some worthy nominees. It’s great to see ‘Louie’ join, and I think this year ‘Veep’ broke through in the public consciousness.”

HitFix.com smallscreen critic Alan Sepinwall says Emmy voters have their favorites and like to stick with them.

“The easiest way to get nominated for an Emmy is to be nominated for an Emmy,” he quips.

TV Guide critic Matt Roush agrees the Emmys are known for getting stuck in a rut of rubber-stamping nominations for the same shows and stars repeatedly, but this year in this category it may be more about a dearth of other potential nominees.

“There are clearly shows in given years that pop, but this is a year with no breakthroughs in comedy,” Roush says, though he shares the view of others in pointing out a program that didn’t get the nomination. “Why ‘Parks and Recreation’ flies under the radar is mystifying. It seems to have all the elements of an Emmy favorite.”

While critical darlings are well-represented, so are top-rated hits with nods for “The Big Bang Theory” and “Modern Family.”

“It’s good for the state of the business,” Sepinwall says. “It makes (Emmy voters) feel good about the industry in which they work.”

Jeff Hidek, TV critic for StarNews Media in Wilmington, N.C., pointed to the frequent refrain heard from those who work in the industry that, because of their work schedules, they don’t have time to watch TV, which may lead them to vote for programs they have heard are good.

Would-be nominees can take solace in their odds improving next year: With “30 Rock” ending, at least one slot will be available to other comedy series the next time nominations roll around.

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