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Showtime’s ‘Shameless’ Switches to Comedy for Emmy Race

Showtime’s “Shameless” is switching sides in the Emmy race this year, submitting in comedy series categories after three years in the drama heat.

The move was OK’d by Television Academy officials. The John Wells Prods./Warner Bros. TV series starring William H. Macy and Emmy Rossum as the heads of a highly dysfunctional, debauched family of misfits has competed for the past three years a drama.

Shameless,” now in its fourth season, has its ardent fans but it has been mostly overlooked by Emmy voters, with the exception of three consecutive guest actress noms for Joan Cusack. Showtime noted that the show has been considered a dramedy by fans and that some of its key writers — Mike O’Malley, Alex Borstein, Nancy Pimental and Cindy Caponera — come from a comedy background.

The switcheroo will undoubtedly raise eyebrows as a strategic move to better the show’s chances of Emmy recognition by moving out of the ultra-crowded drama categories. The show has drawn a higher-than-usual volume of praise this year particularly for Rossum’s portrayal of a woman falling apart again after having straightened out her life, at least for a little while.

“Shameless” is based on a British format created by Paul Abbott. Abbott exec produces with Wells, Andrew Stearn, Mark Mylod and Pimental.

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