Emmys: Comedy’s Lack of Change Says Something, But What?

The more things don’t change, the more people wonder

If the 2013 Emmy comedy series category looks overly familiar, well, it should.

With just one exception, this year’s nominees — including NBC’s “30 Rock,” HBO’s “Girls,” ABC’s “Modern Family,” CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory” and HBO’s “Veep” — are the same as they were in 2012.

The only change in the comedy series nominations lineup was the addition of FX’s “Louie,” which took the place of HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” which hasn’t produced a new season since 2011.

“We’re in an incredible period of excellent dramas, but I don’t think the same can be said about comedy,” says Denver Post TV critic Joanne Ostrow. “That said, there are some worthy nominees. It’s great to see ‘Louie’ join, and I think this year ‘Veep’ broke through in the public consciousness.”

HitFix.com smallscreen critic Alan Sepinwall says Emmy voters have their favorites and like to stick with them.

“The easiest way to get nominated for an Emmy is to be nominated for an Emmy,” he quips.

TV Guide critic Matt Roush agrees the Emmys are known for getting stuck in a rut of rubber-stamping nominations for the same shows and stars repeatedly, but this year in this category it may be more about a dearth of other potential nominees.

“There are clearly shows in given years that pop, but this is a year with no breakthroughs in comedy,” Roush says, though he shares the view of others in pointing out a program that didn’t get the nomination. “Why ‘Parks and Recreation’ flies under the radar is mystifying. It seems to have all the elements of an Emmy favorite.”

While critical darlings are well-represented, so are top-rated hits with nods for “The Big Bang Theory” and “Modern Family.”

“It’s good for the state of the business,” Sepinwall says. “It makes (Emmy voters) feel good about the industry in which they work.”

Jeff Hidek, TV critic for StarNews Media in Wilmington, N.C., pointed to the frequent refrain heard from those who work in the industry that, because of their work schedules, they don’t have time to watch TV, which may lead them to vote for programs they have heard are good.

Would-be nominees can take solace in their odds improving next year: With “30 Rock” ending, at least one slot will be available to other comedy series the next time nominations roll around.

More TV

  • Leonine Takes International Rights to Premium

    Leonine Takes International Rights to Premium Series 'Herzogpark'

    German media group Leonine has taken international distribution rights to the six-part premium series “Herzogpark,” following a deal with its producers Letterbox Filmproduktion (“Bad Banks”). The rights for German-speaking territories are held by Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland. The dramedy centers on four women from Munich’s upscale Herzogpark district, for whom keeping secrets has become a life’s [...]

  • Luna Nera Netflix Italy

    Italy's Women Filmmakers Set to Make Waves

    The Berlinale in recent years has been a prime launching pad for Italian films directed by women, which though fewer in number to their male counterparts, make up a considerable portion of the country’s representation on the festival circuit — Alice Rohrwacher (“Happy as Lazzaro”) at Cannes, Susanna Nicchiarelli (“Nico”) at Venice, and Berlin regular [...]

  • Love Me Scandinavian Cinema

    Scandinavia Ups Its Game With So Many Markets for Its Fare

    When the Nordic entertainment group, one of Scandinavia’s largest media groups, announced last month during the Goteborg Film Festival that it was pulling out of non-scripted content to focus on scripted drama, and film production and distribution, it underscored two market trends in the Nordics: Subscription-based services, whether local or global, are driving the region’s [...]

  • Louis Hofmann in Prélude

    Berlin: Louis Hofmann Cast in Damian John Harper's 'Fresh' (EXCLUSIVE)

    German star Louis Hofmann is set to topline Damian John Harper’s upcoming drama “Fresh,” a German-language adaptation of Scottish writer Mark McNay’s novel of the same name. Hofmann plays a young man who must emancipate himself from his tyrannical older brother. Unlike the book, which is set in the outskirts of Glasgow, the film’s story [...]

  • Steve Stark

    Steve Stark Named President of Newly Formed MGM/UA Television

    The newly formed MGM/UA Television label has found a president in Steve Stark, who previously served as MGM’s president of scripted television production and development. MGM Worldwide Television Group chairman Mark Burnett made the announcement late Friday, adding that Stark has extended his contract with the studio as part of his new role. “We are [...]

  • Bad Education

    TV News Roundup: HBO Sets Premiere Date for Hugh Jackman's 'Bad Education' (Watch)

    In today’s TV News roundup, HBO Films set the premiere date for “Bad Education” starring Hugh Jackman and Allison Janney and “Volcano Live! with Nik Wallenda” tapes Chris Harrison and Sage Steele as hosts. CASTING “The Bachelor” host Chris Harrison will host “Volcano Live! with Nik Wallenda” alongside co-host Sage Steele of ESPN, ABC announced. [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content