Emmys: A Glut of Great TV Will Lead to Big Snubs

Great TV Leads to Emmy Snubs

We live in a world where every kid gets a trophy just for showing up to soccer or gymnastic camp. But unfortunately, that’s not so among grownups. The morning of July 10 is going to bring disappointment for many actors, writers and producers. Despite lavish “For Your Consideration” ad campaigns and much-debated category jockeying, plenty of deserving names are not going to get called.

Consider that Michael Landon — star of “Bonanza,” “Little House on the Prairie” and “Highway to Heaven” — was never even nominated once. Not once.

Small comfort, then, that Hugh Laurie, crown prince of the era of misanthropic main men, never claimed the golden statue, despite being nominated six times.

Perhaps this will finally be Jon Hamm’s year: He’s earned a nod every year for “Mad Men” but has gone home empty-handed.

Bob Newhart finally won an Emmy last year as guest star for “The Big Bang Theory,” after being nominated six times for his iconic roles.

Angela Lansbury may hold the record with 18 nominations but not a single win.

The list of Emmy snubs goes on: Andy Griffith. Jerry Seinfeld. Steve Carell. “The Wire.” “The Wire”!

My point is this: Now more than ever, there is simply too much TV. And with the glut of programming, the snubs are only going to get more outrageous.

The little shows that could are going to get drowned out by the noisier, louder shows, which breaks my heart — though probably not as much as it does theirs. It’s an embarrassment of riches for television lovers like me.

I’m not sure I have a solution.

But I’m also not sure that the current Emmy category definitions work, either. They reflect the TV culture I grew up on, when comedies were all 30-minute, chuckle-along-to-the-laugh-track sitcoms, and dramas were hourlong, edge-of-your-seat narratives.

Now there are too many 30-minute shows that aren’t funny but are forced to define themselves as comedies by virtue of their length. This was one of “Nurse Jackie’s” darkest seasons yet. And “Louie” is brilliant, but my heart breaks more often than my gut busts.

Meanwhile the drama field is more crowded than the 405, packed with worthy hourlongs of various episode lengths and storytelling structure that simply won’t make the cut of the top six. You can argue whether “True Detective” truly is a drama, but it’s all-but-guaranteed nom pushes out yet another contender.

I completely understand the frustration of the creatives behind “Shameless.” I can’t tell you how many conversations I’ve had lately where everyone praises it as one of their top shows. So its move into comedy, while a little eyebrow-raising (were we supposed to laugh when Fiona was being strip-searched?), at least gives it a fighting chance.

Believe me, there’s nothing I love more than putting everything in tidy little boxes. But that doesn’t reflect the current TV landscape.

“Orange Is the New Black” executive producer Jenji Kohan recently suggested simply renaming the categories “30 minutes” and “60 minutes.” Intriguing idea — and perhaps that would level the playing field.

I’ve also heard an even more radical idea: Steal from the Oscars. Combine both categories, increase the number of nominees, and call it “Best Show.” (Yes, I can hear the screams of panic.)

But what I hear more than anything from creators is: Make the rules clear, simple and apply them for everyone. The prizes shouldn’t go to those who complain the loudest, but to those who deserve it the most.

Here’s to the quiet ones. I hope your phone rings on July 10.

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  1. foodvixennyc says:

    Elizabeth Montgomery totally deserved an emmy! What the heck?! I saw a picture of her once looking so hopeful to win her emmy award. I felt so bad when she didn’t. :'( Either way, she was one awesome actress. I love her.

  2. Indeed….Elizabeth Montgomery, iconic star of TV’s Bewitched, was nominated several times for the show, but never won. She was also some nominated for her ground-breaking TV-movies, A Case of Rape and The Legend of Lizzie Borden. What’s up with THAT?!!!

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