Acad’s picks ignore the crix

'Boomtown,' 'Gilmore' among faves snubbed by Emmy

A recent congratulatory ad for the Peacock’s “Boomtown” says it all. It lists orgs from which the critically beloved show received kudos this year: AFI. Peabody. Television Critics Assn. Then there’s Emmy — crossed out with a big, red “X.” The tagline? “Three out of four … not bad.”

Bitter? NBC? Naaah.

“I’ll never predict Emmy nods again,” says NBC spokesman Curt King.

Every year Emmy voters overlook shows that have been lauded by critics. And every year the masterminds behind the shows say it doesn’t matter, that working on a quality program is reward enough in itself, blah blah blah.

C’mon folks. An Emmy win can mean more audience, critical for a young show that is still seeking to impress network execs.

“It’s the kind of thing that would’ve made us a little more bulletproof this season,” says Graham Yost, “Boomtown’s” creator and exec producer. “Right now, we’re not bulletproof at all. We’ve got to get the numbers and even being a critical favorite means you have to get more eyeballs. An Emmy nomination would have helped that.”

Here are four skeins that critics rallied behind but didn’t receive much love from Academy of Television Arts & Sciences voters:


Since its bow, critics have been praising the crime drama’s “Rashomon”-style storytelling and compelling characters. Many gave it the ultimate compliment for a network show, saying that it’s good enough to be on cable.

(And, actually, it is. “Boomtown” is being repurposed on TNT.)

“I think a show needs a certain profile in order to get watched by members of the Academy,” Yost says of “Boomtown,” which picked up only one nom, main title theme music. “We didn’t quite catch the numbers. And here’s my bitching and moaning part: I don’t think there was enough done to counter that. There were not enough DVDs going out and not enough ads. It was an uphill struggle. All you can hope is that people see the show and agree with my own opinion that I’m a genius.”


The first season’s look at the drug trade in Baltimore from the perspective of the cops and dealers won widespread acclaim. Variety deemed HBO’s skein “sophisticated and significant television.” Emmy said: not so fast. “Wire” has the added handicap of competing against much-heralded sister skeins “The Sopranos” and “Six Feet Under.”


The WB’s “Gilmore Girls” was overlooked by voters, very much like the netlet’s former mainstay, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” which despite rabid fans and critics garnered only one noncraft nom during its run, for Joss Whedon’s writing in 2000.

The fast-talking gals of “Gilmore” have won the hearts of critics with its depiction of the relationship of a young-at-heart mom and her old-soul teen daughter. Alas, it has not received a single nom since its bow in 2000.


On paper, NBC’s “Scrubs” looks like a straightforward ensemble comedy set in a hospital, except it has musical numbers and dream sequences. Those features aren’t necessarily harbingers of Emmy doom — “Ally McBeal” got 33 noms and seven wins during its five-year run — but whimsy in a medical setting hasn’t yet found favor.

“I certainly think ‘Scrubs’ deserved it, because in my book it is one of the outstanding comedies,” says Rob Owen, TV critic at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and vice president of the Television Critics Assn. “It’s more offbeat than the other shows nominated in that category, except for maybe ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm.’ But that show has the HBO cachet, which changes things entirely.”

What draws TV critics to these shows, however, might be exactly what keeps Emmy voters from endorsing them. “Boomtown” and “The Wire” are just a bit off-center from the typical cop drama — and it’s hard to classify “Gilmore Girls” or “Scrubs” as either a straight comedy or drama.

“The Emmys definitely seem to go more middle of the road,” Owen says. “And they’re typically at least a year late in rewarding shows.”

Yost says they are making some creative changes on “Boomtown” hopefully to draw in more auds. There will be a number of guest appearances and “Boomtown’s” point-of-view storytelling will be more judicious and plotlines may lighten up just a bit for a number of the characters.

“We’re just going to take it a little easier,” Yost says. “But only just a little bit. Donnie (Wahlberg’s) character’s kid is going to get kidnapped during sweeps.”