You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Emmy Preview: Emmy-nominated once, chances for repeat are great

Noms beget fame, delivers more noms, Rosenthal sez

At awards time, there’s the familiar refrain, “Just being nominated is honor enough, winning is icing on the cake.” When it comes to the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences’ Prime Time Emmys, the same series tend to have their cake year in, year out.

Although last year’s Emmys saw comedy “Will & Grace” and drama “The West Wing” take home the best show hardware in their respective categories in their first year nominated, the two NBC programs were up against rivals that were each in at least their second trip to the races.

The laffer field also featured HBO’s “Sex and the City” and CBS’ “Everybody Loves Raymond,” both marking its their second straight date in the show category. NBC’s “Frasier” marked its seventh nom (having won five times 1994-98), and “Friends,” also on NBC, racked up its third nomination.

In the drama field, frosh “The West Wing” beat out perennials — NBC’s “ER” (the 1996 winner’s sixth nom), ABC’s “The Practice” (the third for the two-time victor of 1998 and ’99) and the Peacock’s “Law & Order,” which marked its ninth entry into the race, having won once (1997). HBO’s critically beloved “The Sopranos” was left still gunning for a win after its second straight nom.

Checking back to only the 1996 awards, every show nominee marked at least two appearances, with many, as seen above, becoming serial competitors.

Phil Rosenthal, TV critic of the Chicago Sun Times, believes the nominee-list stickiness is due in part to a perpetual cycle: Noms beget fame, which delivers even more noms.

“It’s generally because — it’s a dirty secret in Hollywood — if you talk to people in the industry, few of them have time to watch the shows. When most of the primetime shows are on, they’re still at work,” he says. “They don’t see television the way most people see television. Shows can coast for a long time on buzz. Saying it’s an Emmy nominee helps it coast a lot longer.”

And as far as “The West Wing” helping to usher in a new era, Rosenthal chalks up the show’s win to broadcast TV players resisting a growing cable presence represented by “The Sopranos.”

“Frankly, I think that was West Coast guys looking out for West Coast guys. ‘The Sopranos’ are still considered as outsiders,” he says, adding that voters also could have sided with “The West Wing” for its quality while working under tighter creative constraints vs. the loose cable reins on “Sopranos.”

Ultimately, Rosenthal says, the awards are of more consequence to the industry than the average viewer.

“Emmys are one of those things that people are aware of, and they do their voting every night of the week.”

According to Meryl Marshall-Daniels, ATAS chairman-CEO, there is only one explanation for why programs garner multiple Emmy noms.

“The reason why shows repeat themselves as nominees is that quality shows are hard to come by, and when they are created they have a tendency to last.”

More TV

  • ‘Stan & Ollie’ Producer Making Joan

    ‘Stan & Ollie’ Producer to Make TV Series About Joan and Jackie Collins

    The colorful lives of movie star Joan Collins and her bestselling novelist sister, Jackie, will be dramatized in a TV series. Sony-backed Fable Pictures, the British film and TV producer behind “Stan & Ollie,” will make the series, having secured the TV rights to the Collinses’ story. The series, which has the working title “Joan [...]

  • Friends From College

    'Friends From College' Canceled by Netflix

    Netflix has canceled comedy series “Friends From College” after two seasons. “Friends from College will not return for a third season,” a Netflix spokesperson said in a statement Monday. “We’re grateful to creators Nick Stoller and Francesca Delbanco for creating a wise, funny and supremely relatable show. We also want to thank the hard-working crew, [...]

  • Mandy Moore

    Mandy Moore Opens Up About Her Marriage to Ryan Adams: ‘I Was So Sad’

    Mandy Moore opened up about her marriage to Ryan Adams on Monday’s episode of Marc Maron’s “WTF” podcast. While the interview was taped before the publication of the Feb. 13 New York Times report in which multiple women, including Moore, accuse Adams of sexual misconduct or emotionally abusive behavior, she speaks freely about the “unhealthy dynamic” in [...]

  • Lisa Borders Time's Up

    Time's Up President Lisa Borders Resigns

    Lisa Borders has resigned as president of Time’s Up, she and the organization announced on Monday. Borders is resigning due to family issues, she said in a statement. Time’s Up COO Rebecca Goldman will now serve as interim CEO. “As Time’s Up continues to grow, I am proud of the work I have done to [...]

  • Alfonso Cuaron71st Annual Writers Guild Awards,

    Alfonso Cuarón on Academy's 'Inevitable' Reversal on Televised Oscar Categories

    Alfonso Cuarón isn’t exactly surprised that the Academy reversed its decision and will now air all the Oscar categories during the live show on Sunday. Feb. 24. Calling the decision “inevitable,”Cuarón tells Variety that he thinks the Academy should take things even further. “Let’s stop calling them technical categories!” he told Variety on Sunday night [...]

  • Desus Nice The Kid Mero

    TV Shows to Watch the Week of Feb. 18, 2019: Academy Awards, 'Desus & Mero'

    Welcome back to Tune In: our weekly newsletter offering a guide to the best of the week’s TV. Each week, Variety’s TV team combs through the week’s schedule, selecting our picks of what to watch and when/how to watch them. This week, the Academy Awards air and Desus & Mero make their debut on Showtime. [...]

  • WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01

    BBC Takes Stake in New Company Set Up by ‘Luther,’ ‘Bodyguard’ Exec

    BBC Studios has taken a minority stake in Firebird Pictures, the new drama indie being set up by BBC execs Elizabeth Kilgarriff and Craig Holleworth. Kilgarriff’s credits include “Luther,” “Poldark,” “McMafia” and upcoming Richard Gere-starrer “MotherFatherSon.” She commissioned breakout drama hit “Bodyguard.” Holleworth will be the new company’s COO, having run business and operations for [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content