Cynopsis Media presents
Before the Ballots: Comedy
2010 Primetime Emmy® Award Pre-Nomination Special Report
by Daisy Whitney
Good morning. It's Wednesday, May 269, 2010, and this is the first of five special reports focused on the Pre-Nomination phase of the 2010 Primetime Emmy® Awards.
There's no question Alec Baldwin and company ignite the small screen with laughs every Thursday night. But whether that's enough for the three-time Emmy® -winning 30 Rock to snag the best comedy trophy for a fourth year in a row is in question in 2010.
Television critics and Emmy® watchers say the comedy stalwart will face tough competition from the new kids on the block this year. The nominations, to be announced on July 8, are likely to include many fresh faces.
The Nods for Noms
While 30 Rock is virtually a shoe-in for a nomination, a number of shows are hot on its heels. Here's a preview of which shows will likely be tapped for consideration on that all-important day in July.
Fan favorite Glee and critics' darling Modern Family are likely to earn nods. The Office has had an up and down season but will likely be in the running, especially because of the strength of the Jim and Pam Wedding episode. Experts also expect Curb Your Enthusiasm be picked, due in part to the Seinfeld Reunion this past season. That sixth slot is up for grabs though and could be nabbed by Entourage, Community, Weeds, Family Guy, How I Met Your Mother and possibly even Big Bang Theory, which has yet to be tapped despite being a fan favorite.
But the race is likely to be a two-way one between frontrunners 30 Rock and Modern Family.
New Kid Versus Heavyweight
"Without a doubt, Modern Family is the funniest new show to hit the ground running since Arrested Development,'[which won in 2004]" said Frank Nicotero, host of Yahoo TV's Primetime in No Time daily recap show and also a comedian. "It's so rare a sitcom has characters so defined in the first season. It's smart and it doesn't insult you with simple jokes. When Friends came out it was a phenomenon and Modern Family is the same way."
Other Emmy® experts are betting on Modern Family as a freshman win too. "It's just a flat-out comedy with a lot of laughs and some very recognizable comedy stars," said Chris Beachum, a long-time Emmy® watcher at AwardsHeaven.net and a forum moderator for the LATimes.com awards sections.
But then there is 30 Rock, which is undeniably a power house. The show is clever, iconoclastic and packs in the laughs. "As soon as the opening credits start, you're two minutes in and there are more jokes than almost any other show has in a full half hour," Nicotero said.
However, voters like new blood and after three years on top, the buzz seems to be with Modern Family. Plus, the Academy often prefers shows that perform well in the ratings too and Modern Family isn't just a well-reviewed show; it's regularly trouncing 30 Rock in the ratings.
Expect crowd-pleaser Glee to earn a nod too after taking home a Golden Globe win for best comedy season earlier this year. The show has become a juggernaut in its first season, winning the hearts of many TV fans. But voters will be tougher, Beachum pointed out.
The show is a hybrid between musical and comedy and that makes it harder to win. "When a judge is voting they are looking for laughs and the most laughs," he said. With Glee there are laughs, but the show isn't solely a comedy. Plus, it weighs in at an hour and shows that length don't often win the comedy award. Ally McBeal was the last hour-long comedy to win back in 1999. Even Desperate Housewives for all its buzz in its debut season in 2005, didn't take home the trophy.
The Office isn't likely to win either, but it's a smart comedy and with four nominations (and one win), experts expect yet another nod. Curb Your Enthusiasm is sure to slide into that fifth slot thanks to the four-episode Seinfeld reunion arc, which was billed as "the closest you'll get to a Seinfeld reunion."
Up for Grabs
The final slot is truly up for grabs. Noted TV critic Aaron Barnhart likes NBC's Community, starring Chevy Chase. "A slam-dunk nominee for best comedy is Community. The billiards and paintball episodes were superior to anything I saw on last year's nominated comedies," said Barnhart, TV critic with TVBarn.com and Kansas City Star.
Beachum is betting on Big Bang Theory to finally earn a best comedy series nod. He likens it to Everybody Loves Raymond, a popular show that voters warmed up to over time. Everybody Loves Raymond wasn't nominated until its third year and then it won twice. "I just think [Big Bang Theory] is the single best, multi camera traditional-type comedy with an audience watching it live," Beachum said.
This 5-part series of 2010 Primetime Emmy ® Award Pre-Nomination Special Reports are available to read or download on the Cynopsis website in our Archive section.
Daisy Whitney for Cynopsis
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