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.”

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • Cara Delevingne'Carnival Row' TV show premiere,

    Amazon Prime Video Signs Distribution Deal With Altice Europe (EXCLUSIVE)

    Amazon Prime Video has unveiled its first distribution deal with a telco in France, signing a pact with Altice Europe, which owns leading French internet, mobile and cable-TV provider SFR. The deal will give SFR customers access to the service via their set-top boxes, which is crucial in France, where households still consume content mostly [...]

  • Courtney Kemp Agboh'Power' TV show final

    'Power' Creator Courtney A. Kemp On Why Starz Series Hasn't Gotten Awards Recognition

    “Power” is a top ratings performer for Starz and has a hugely committed fanbase, but the series has lacked in its awards recognition. Other than honors from the NAACP Image Awards, “Power” has not received any awards or nominations from the Emmys, Golden Globes or SAG — something that star and executive producer Curtis “50 [...]

  • Breaking Bad Movie

    'Breaking Bad' Movie: Watch the First Teaser for 'El Camino'

    In case you hadn’t heard, Emmy-winning drama “Breaking Bad” is cooking up a movie sequel. On Saturday, after details of Netflix’s project quietly leaked online, the streaming giant issued the first teaser for “El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie,” which will be released on October 11. Starring Aaron Paul as Jesse Pinkman, the “Breaking Bad” [...]

  • Breaking Bad

    'Breaking Bad' Movie Release Date, Title and Plot Revealed

    The “Breaking Bad” movie is coming to Netflix sooner than you might think. The film, titled “El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie,” is now set to be released on Netflix on Oct. 11, according to a report from the New York Times, with Aaron Paul returning as the series’ popular meth cook Jesse Pinkman. Jesse [...]

  • Laurence FishburneNational Memorial Day Concert Dress

    Laurence Fishburne to Produce 'Marvel's Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur' Series for Disney Channel

    Laurence Fishburne is stepping into the animation game. The “Matrix” star is set to executive produce “Marvel’s Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur,” an animated series which has been given the greenlight at Disney Channel. Based on Marvel’s comic book series, the show hails from from Disney Television Animation and follows the adventures of 13-year-old super-genius [...]

  • Aracne

    Chile’s Sanfic, Mexico’s Morbido Fest Pact to Promote Latino Horror (EXCLUSIVE)

    Mexican horror festival Morbido and Chile’s Santiago Intl. Film Festival (Sanfic) have agreed on a long-term collaboration intended to strengthen the genre film industry in Chile and across Latin America. This partnership will see Morbido representatives attend the Sanfic industry section each year to aid in the promotion of horror projects and advise those projects [...]

  • 'The Simpsons' Producers on Disney, Spinoffs

    'The Simpsons' Producers Talk Potential Disney Spinoffs, Confirm Apu Will Remain

    “The Simpsons” has never shied away from lampooning Disney over the years, but maybe that’s no longer the case. Homer, Marge and co. are of course now part of the Disney family and made their first appearance at the Mouse House’s D23 Expo convention, where the show’s producers were asked plenty of questions about what [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content