×

Trio of ‘Modern Family’ nominees stake claim

Road to the Emmys: The Director - Comedy

Pamela Fryman
“How I Met Your Mother”
CBS
Episode: “Subway Wars”
Highlight: The premise itself, in which the gang races to lower Manhattan, employing various modes of transportation in an effort to prove which is the swiftest.
Why she might win: This is a chaotic episode of “How I Met Your Mother” for sure, but the chaos is mined for plenty of laughs. A map displays the progress each person is making, and the inevitable conclusion — they arrive around the same time — feels cathartic.
Maybe not: Except for its four consecutive Emmys for multicam art direction (2006-09), the show has never truly resonated with TV Acad voters.

Steve Levitan
“Modern Family”
ABC
Episode: “See You Next Fall”
Highlight: Phil and Claire hop off the back of a pick-up truck and fall down a hill, arriving at Alex’s graduation in almost Wile E. Coyote fashion.
Why he might win: This was a fitting way to gear up for the end of the second season, with the entire family finding itself trapped inside Jay’s property (the driveway door wouldn’t open) and having to work together frantically to escape.
Maybe not: Despite excellent situational and physical comedy throughout the episode, it ended on a fair amount of cheese.

Gail Mancuso
“Modern Family”
ABC
Episode: “Slow Down Your Neighbors”
Highlight: Cameron and Mitchell argue while Cameron’s stuck inside Lily’s princess house.
Why she might win: Uncomfortable humor is a delicate thing, and “Slow Down Your Neighbors” keeps perfect tabs on the Phil/Claire storyline — Claire’s angry at a speeding neighbor, but Phil is hoping to sell the woman a house — without letting it go off the rails. Phil masterfully plays both sides.
Maybe not: James Marsden guesting as a pseudo-hobo — too weird?

Beth McCarthy-Miller
“30 Rock”
NBC
Episode: “Live Show”
Highlight: Jon Hamm reprising his role as Drew Baird (the guy with hooks for hands) and performing in an infomercial.
Why she might win: This was one of the most ambitious undertakings in comedy this year — a show known for its frequent flashbacks and flights of fancy, performed totally live. The episode was a rousing success, marrying the goofy sensibility of “30 Rock” with the immediacy and danger of live TV.
Maybe not: “Live Show” was a hell of a lot of fun, but wins more points for novelty than substance; there have been stronger “30 Rock” episodes this season.

Michael Alan Spiller
“Modern Family”
ABC
Episode: “Halloween”
Highlight: Haley lifts up a serving tray to reveal Cameron’s disembodied head. Children scream.
Why he might win: “Halloween” wove the families’ troubles into a laugh-packed, cohesive story, culminating in a group effort at a haunted house.
Maybe not: There were few twists and turns — predictably, the haunted house, at first in disarray, came together and went off without a hitch.

ROAD TO THE EMMYS: THE DIRECTOR
Film directors reign at Emmys
Drama | Comedy | Minis, Movies and Dramatic Special | Nonfiction | Variety, Music and Comedy

More TV

  • Baldvin-Z

    Iceland’s Baldvin Z Crime Series “Black Sands” Added to All3Media Slate (EXCLUSIVE)

    GÖTEBORG, Sweden  All3Media is to handle international rights on Icelandic crime series “Black Sands” which, currently in development, is to be pitched at the Göteborg Festival’s TV Drama Vision confab on Thursday. “Black Sands” marks the first crime thriller to be created by Icelandic helmer Baldvin Z (“Trapped”) since the hit series “Case.” Commissioned by [...]

  • Justin Timberlake performs onstage during the

    Ad Time in Fox's Super Bowl Was Sold Out. Until it Wasn't

    Fox declared in November that it had sold all the advertising time available in its looming February 2 broadcast of Super Bowl LIV. But just this week, it found a little more. After holding nearly two months’ worth of discussions, Fox and the National Football League have devised a way to add commercial inventory to [...]

  • NBC Orders Drama Pilot 'Ordinary Joe'

    NBC Orders Drama Pilot 'Ordinary Joe' From 'House' Alums

    NBC has given out its fifth drama pilot order for the 2020-2021 season. The broadcaster has commissioned “Ordinary Joe.” It explores the three parallel lives of the show’s main character after he makes a pivotal choice at a crossroads in his life. The series asks the question of how different life might look if you [...]

  • Bong Joon Ho 'Parasite' Director

    Listen: Who Will Take Home the Oscars for Best Director and Picture?

    The Oscars are just two weeks away, so it’s time to start making final predictions about who is going to win. On this week’s episode of “The Big Ticket,” Variety and iHeart’s movie podcast, I invited the magazine’s deputy awards and features editor (and my “Pick of the Week” co-host) Jenelle Riley onto the show [...]

  • Dazzler, Tigra, Hit-Monkey, and M.O.D.O.K.

    'Howard the Duck,' 'Tigra & Dazzler' Animated Marvel Shows Not Moving Forward at Hulu

    Marvel Television’s remaining slate continues to dwindle. Variety has confirmed that the animated shows “Howard the Duck” and “Tigra & Dazzler” — two of four animated Marvel projects set up at Hulu — are no longer in the works at the streamer. The other two shows, “M.O.D.O.K” and “Hit Monkey,” are currently still on track [...]

  • Star Wars Obi-Wan Kenobi movie

    After 'Star Wars' Obi-Wan Kenobi Delay, Is the Force Still Strong With Disney Plus?

    The issues on Disney Plus’ Obi-Wan Kenobi series are either a minor stumble or a portent of trouble ahead, depending on who you ask. It was reported on Thursday that series writer Hossein Amini was no longer attached to the project as Disney wished to overhaul the scripts. The move led to pre-production in London [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content