Emmy Network Spotlight: Can the Fox Network Find a Place at This Year’s Emmys?

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Fox's "Empire"

Welcome to the 2019 Emmy Circuit series, where we analyze and predict all your favorite TV series and their chances with the Television Academy (at least at this time of publishing).  The series examines the shows and performances about their awards potential, most notably the Emmy Awards.  Emmy nomination voting opens June 10 and closes on June 24.  The official Emmy nominations will be announced on Tuesday, July 16 while the ceremony airs on FOX Sunday, Sept. 22.  All Emmy pieces run with the following schedule: Mondays (Dramas), Tuesdays (Network Spotlight), Wednesdays (Comedies), Thursdays (Network Spotlight), Fridays (Limited Series, Variety Series, Below-the Lines).

COMEDY CONTENDERS

Donald Trump and Peter Griffin

Popular comedies “The Simpsons,” “Family Guy,” and “Bob’s Burgers” are currently part of Fox Network’s lineup and will most assuredly receive Emmy nominations specifically for animation and voice-over. In 2009, the seventh season of “Family Guy” managed to score a nomination for Outstanding Comedy Series, although the show did not take home the gold. Nevertheless, it was momentous to see an animated program represented side-by-side with the likes of NBC’s “30 Rock” and Showtime’s “Weeds.”

There are two live-action comedies on Fox the network is hoping will receive Emmy love. After one season, Fox recently cancelled “The Cool Kids.” But this show may still be one to watch as it has an “uncommon” ensemble. While most shows rely on young, attractive casts to attract viewers, this sitcom focused on the over 70 crowds. Comic Icon and Emmy winner Vicki Lawrence (CBS’s “The Carol Burnett Show” and NBC’s “Mama’s Family”) once again had the opportunity to demonstrate her unflappable comedic chops. And she was surrounded by a trio of comedically talented men, including David Alan Grier, Martin Mull, and Leslie Jordan.

“The Cool Kids” also managed to score some recognizable veteran actors to guest star, including Lesley Ann Warren, Patrick DuffyEd Begley Jr., and Julia Duffy. Ms. Duffy (CBS’s “Newhart”) has notably been nominated for seven Emmys, with no wins. Can she finally take home a golden lady for her guest spot?

Last year, Fox jumped at the chance to bring back the canceled ABC show “Last Man Standing.” The show has transitioned well to its new home on Fox, as “Last Man Standing” is one of the few network television shows with a more conservative slant. To the show’s credit, inclusivity is always at the forefront. All of the characters, no matter their opinions, are likable and have the opportunity to speak. Comedian Tim Allen, who has received only one Emmy nomination (for ABC’s “Home Improvement”) during the course of his career, is hilarious as the last man standing in a house full of women and is more than worthy of a second Emmy nomination.

DRAMA CONTENDERS

Oliver Stark, Angela Basset, Peter Krause, Jennifer Love Hewitt on Fox’s “9-1-1.”

Fox’s “Empire” is looking to overcome some bad press and find its way back into the Emmy fold. Taraji P. Henson, who stars as the resilient, outspoken matriarch Cookie Lyon, received nominations in 2015 and 2016. Henson has been the stand out since the show first aired, and even won a Golden Globe for Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series in 2016. She missed out on an Emmy nomination last year, so a comeback in an ever-crowded field is not likely. The sure thing is a nomination for “Empire’s” contemporary costumes. The series has been nominated every season since its debut for the fierce wardrobe that matches its character’s personalities.

Fox recently renewed “The Resident” and “9-1-1,” which have helped increase Fox’s Monday night viewership. “The Resident” follows a cocky internal medicine doctor and his fellow healthcare workers as they navigate season-long mysteries. The show recently added television veterans Malcolm-Jamal Warner (NBC’s “The Cosby Show”) and Jane Leeves (NBC’s “Frasier”) as series regulars. The casting of Warner and Leeves has added a real jolt to the show. Although these actors might be more famous for their comedic skills, both seem quiet at home in the dramatic world.

In the days of network dominance, “9-1-1,” an action-packed drama about first responders, would have likely joined the ranks of ABC’s “NYPD Blue” or NBC’s “ER.” With the sheer mass of programs now, the show will probably miss out on any significant category nominations at this year’s Emmys. That does not mean that this ensemble shouldn’t be extremely proud of their weekly work, as stars Angela Basset, Peter Krause, Aisha Hinds, and Jennifer Love Hewitt leave it all on the table every Monday night. Episodes “Merry Ex-Mas” and “Fight or Flight” were real standouts this season.

REALITY CONTENDERS

Gordon Ramsey on Fox’s “Hell’s Kitchen”

Most primetime slots on Fox are devoted to reality television, and cooking is a huge draw for the network. Four shows on Fox feature celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay. On Wednesdays, he visits failing restaurants across the United States hoping to revitalize them in “Gordon Ramsay’s 24 Hours to Hell and Back.” On Fridays, audiences watch Ramsay as head chef devouring wannabe chef’s egos and food on “Hell’s Kitchen.” On “Master Chef” and “Master Chef Junior” cooking competition programs, Ramsay shares the throne with other judges but still manages to be front and center due to his larger than life personality. Ramsay was nominated for his first Emmy in 2017 for Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program for his work on “Master Chef Junior.”

Other non-scripted shows on Fox have individuals competing based on various talents. People move to a beat on “So You Think You Can Dance,” they identify songs on “Beat Shazam,” they sing on “The Four: Battle for Stardom,” and they put their minds to the test on “Mental Samurai.” With such a massive reality show lineup, Fox may be able to snag a nomination or two in categories for Variety, Music or Nonfiction Programming.

AWARDS HISTORY AND PRECURSORS

Calista Flockhart as Ally McBeal from “Ally McBeal” and Dylan McDermott as Bobby Donnell on “The Practice”

In the 1990s, Fox was riding high with two David E. Kelley shows. “The Practice” and “Ally McBeal” were massive hits for the network, both focusing on lawyers living in Boston. “The Practice’s” Dylan McDermott, Camryn Manheim, and Steve Harris gave portrayals of lawyers trying to make a buck while keeping their morals intact. “Ally McBeal’s” Calista Flockhart, Peter MacNicol, and Robert Downey Jr. were joyous and downright weird as lawyers in search of love and purpose. These actors, along with others from these two popular shows, received many nominations and/or wins during their runs. In 1999, these two Fox series took home the Emmys for Outstanding Drama and Comedy Series.

The last time Fox was awarded an Emmy in one of the main categories was back in 2006 for the hit show “24.” “24” won the Outstanding Drama Series, and Kiefer Sutherland took home Best Actor in a Drama. “House” was also a staple at the Emmys during its eight-season run from 2004-2012. In 2005, “House” creator, David Shore won an Emmy for Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series for the episode “Three Stories.” The show managed to score four nominations for Outstanding Drama Series, with star Hugh Laurie garnering six nominations for Best Actor in a Drama.

THE NETWORK CONCLUSION

Fox’s “The Simpsons” on Abbey Road

In terms of Primetime Emmy nominations, Fox has not had a day in the sun for quite a few years. This is not to say that there are not worthy shows airing on this network; it is merely becoming incredibly difficult for the core networks to compete with such a varied television platform. With any luck, Fox will manage to snag a few nominations in reality programming. And perhaps the network can surprise in a couple in the top categories.

What do you think Fox’s chances are at the Emmys? Let us know in the comments!

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