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).
Nothing can stop Allison Janney. The fourteen-time Emmy nominee and seven-time winner continue to receive nominations for “Mom” every eligible year. Janney won Supporting Actress the first two years of the show (2014 – 2015), and she even moved from Supporting to Lead Actress in 2017, which is where she competes this year. It’s very unlikely Janney is not nominated for this latest season. Beyond Janney, “Mom” earns very few other nominations. The other category the has consistently been nominated in is Outstanding Multi-Camera Picture Editing for a Comedy Series (2016 – 2018). Additionally, “Mom” was nominated for Outstanding Cinematography for a Multi-Camera Series category in 2016. Outside of these categories, “Mom” seems unlikely to pick up additional nominations this late in its run, particularly Comedy Series or Lead Actress for Anna Farris.
“The Big Bang Theory” wants to redeem itself in its final season. At the height of its popularity in 2013, the show received eight nominations, including Best Comedy Series. It contended for the Comedy Series crown three consecutive times (2012 – 2014), losing each year. Lead Actor Jim Parsons had better luck, winning four of his six nominations. After his final win, the Academy stopped nominating him. Just as we thought the Emmys moved on to newer shows, the show surprisingly showed up in the Comedy Directing category last year. Fans of the show from the past may come back around for the final season. “The Big Bang Theory” may be a dark horse in Comedy Series. The show also could factor back in the Directing, Writing and Acting categories. Other past acting nominees include Johnny Galecki (1 nomination), Mayim Bialik (4 nominations), Christine Baranski (4 nominations), Laurie Metcalf (1 nomination) and Bob Newhart (2 nominations).
Last year, it’s spinoff, “Young Sheldon” failed to earn a single nomination. With the focus on the flagship show this year, it doesn’t seem like “Young Sheldon” will enter the race.
One question mark in CBS’ comedy slate is the recent reboot of “Murphy Brown,” an Emmy champion of the past. In its original run, the show received five Comedy Series nominations (winning two) and seven Comedy Actress nominations for Candace Bergen (winning five). Bergen returns to the anchor desk as reboot fever takes over the networks. Unfortunately, bad reviews took down the show’s return, which finished in late December. Despite the pitfall of its return, Bergen still received a Lead Actress nomination from the Golden Globes. Negative reception sometimes doesn’t matter for Emmy legends. Laurie Metcalf was able to get nominated last year for “Roseanne,” despite Roseanne Barr’s controversial tweets and subsequent firing.
The new comedies on CBS fighting for nominations are “Fam,” “God Friended Me,” “Happy Together,” and “The Neighborhood.” Both “God Friended Me” and “The Neighborhood” already have second season pickups, while “Happy Together” has already been cancelled. CBS’ All Access first new comedy, “No Activity,” also doesn’t look to make much of a dent this Emmys race. Among returning shows, it’s likely both “Life in Pieces” and “Man with a Plan” won’t add Emmys to their mantles after never being rewarded previously.
The biggest story on the CBS’ Drama slate doesn’t come from CBS proper. This year, CBS All Access’ “The Good Fight” seems most poised to break into a number of Drama categories. It’s original show, “The Good Wife” did exceptionally well at the Emmys. “The Good Fight” star, Christine Baranski, earned nominations for six of the show’s seven seasons. So far, the series has had trouble maintaining the same stamina. “The Good Fight” only has two nominations to its name – Outstanding Original Main Title Theme Music in 2017 and Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics in 2018. However, many past contenders in the drama categories have vacated, particularly in Drama Lead Actress and Supporting Actress. This opens things up for Baranski in Lead and Audra McDonald and Cash Jumbo in Supporting Actress. If the show catches fire, even Delroy Lindo could make it into Supporting Actor.
It will be interesting to see where Jordan Peele’s “The Twilight Zone” finds its nominations if any. Critics seemed mildly disappointed by the show, however, it was an anticipated flagship series for CBS All Access. The original series competed in the drama category, winning in Writing twice. It appears this iteration will bear the same Drama classification as the original. The series stands a better shot at Emmy glory if follows the strategy “Black Mirror” recently employed. That show won its first major Emmy when it submitted episodes as standalone TV movies. Since “The Twilight Zone” is a similar anthology, this submission tactic could help it get nominated in a less competitive TV Movie field.
The “Twilight Zone” isn’t the only classic reboot from the ’60s. CBS All Access boasts the newest iteration of “Star Trek” as well. The original “Star Trek” series was able to break into the Drama Series category in 1967 and 1968. Unfortunately, the latest iteration seems less lucky. “Star Trek: Discovery” managed two nominations last year – Outstanding Prosthetic Makeup for a Series, Limited Series, Movie or Special and Outstanding Sound Editing for a Comedy or Drama Series (One-Hour). The reception of the second season doesn’t seem any higher than its anticipated first season. This makes it likely to pick up some craft nominations, but not make it into the Primetime Emmy Show.
There are a number of other CBS All Access shows with reviews ranging from positive to average. Between “One Dollar,” “Strange Angel,” and “Tell Me A Story,” all three have valid enough elements to mention. However, it will be hard to see any of them breaking through in multiple categories.
The same could be said of CBS’ new drama series this year. Other new CBS shows in contention include “Blood & Treasure,” “The Code,” “FBI,” “Magnum P.I.” and “The Red Line.” Both “FBI” and “Magnum P.I.” were confirmed for a second season pickup in late January.
CBS also has plenty of other returning dramas this year. Those include “Blue Bloods,” “Criminal Minds,” “Hawaii Five-O,” “Instinct,” “MacGuyver,” “Madam Secretary,” “NCIS,” “NCIS: Los Angeles,” “NCIS: New Orleans,” “Ransom,” “S.W.A.T,” and “SEAL Team.” None of these shows have factored into the Primetime races, and that shouldn’t change this year. However, given that many are large scale action shows, they may pick up a creative arts Emmy nomination or two.
REALITY COMPETITION CONTENDERS
Few Emmy runs are as impressive as “The Amazing Race.” The landmark reality competition show has been nominated all sixteen years in the Outstanding Reality-Competition Program has been in existence. This includes winning seven consecutive times once the category was first created in 2003. Overall, the show has won ten of its sixteen nominations. The show should easily show up once again in the category it helped to mold.
CBS hopes fellow landmark reality show “Survivor” shows up as well. But the show has not been seen in that category lineup since 2008. Instead, it routinely finds itself nominated for Outstanding Cinematography for Reality Programming and Outstanding Picture Editing for Reality Programming. Though the series missed last year, it could easily show back up there again.
CBS also premiered some new reality shows this year, including “Million Dollar Mile,” “Love Island” and “The World’s Best.”
Among talk shows, “The Late Late Show with James Cordon” seems like CBS’ best shot in the Outstanding Variety Talk Series Category. The show has been nominated three consecutive times, including twice in Directing for a Variety Series. This impressive track record should stand once again. “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” was also able to break into Outstanding Variety Talk Series two years ago. We could be headed for a third straight lineup where CBS takes two slots.
CBS also has three mainstays in the Outstanding Variety Special category. The Kennedy Center Honors remains an Emmy favorite with seven wins from twelve nominations. The special holds the record for most wins in the Outstanding Variety Special (Pre-Recorded) category. Even with this impressive track record, they haven’t been nominated since 2016, which makes them fallible. The CBS broadcast of the Tony Awards has been nominated eleven consecutive years in Outstanding Variety Special (Live). Last year was the first year it missed out on nominations. However, it could easily come back this year. Meanwhile, the Grammys have been nominated on and off for a total of three nominations. They seem less likely to return but could play a role in the Outstanding Variety Special (Live) category.
AWARDS HISTORY AND PRECURSORS
CBS was, for a time, a longstanding fixture in the Drama and Comedy series races. Currently, the network has won twenty-two Comedy Series Emmys and eighteen Drama Series Emmys. This puts it just behind NBC in overall series wins. However, CBS is not the same juggernaut it was in the 70s when it won comedy series eight consecutive years (“All in the Family,” “M*A*S*H,” “The Mary Tyler Moore Show”). The last show it has pushed to a series win was “Everybody Loves Raymond,” which won Outstanding Comedy Series in 2003 and 2005. For Drama, one has to go all the way back to 1994, when “Picket Fences” won its second consecutive Drama Series prize.
In fact, it has been years since CBS has won a single major Emmy. The last acting winner from a CBS show was Allison Janney 2015 Supporting Actress win for “Mom.” Janney currently competes in the lead actress category, so she might bring out yet another win. But it will be hard to beat “Veep’s” Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Another recent winner, Jim Parsons for “The Big Bang Theory” (2014, 2013, 2011, 2010), might be back this year for the show’s final season. “The Good Wife” was the most recent Drama Series nominee for CBS. It also brought along wins for Juliana Marguiles (2013, 2011) , Archie Panjabi (2010) and a slew of nominations for Christine Baranski, Josh Charles and Alan Cumming.
We’ve already outlined how CBS’ “The Amazing Race” has done in the Outstanding Reality Competition category. Very similarly, “Survivor” host Jeff Probst won the Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program the first four years after the category was created in 2008. However, Probst has not returned to the category since his win in 2011.
THE NETWORK CONCLUSION
The biggest question on the horizon is whether or not the Emmys will finally warm to CBS All Access. With a Drama field free of past nominees, this year is do or die for “The Good Fight.” If it can break through this year, we may see it become a perennial nominee. If it misses, it seems unlikely the Emmys will come around to it as long as it is on CBS All Access.
On the comedy front, consistent talent like Allison Janney will continue to earn a nomination. But as we saw last year in the Comedy Directing field, “The Big Bang Theory” knows how to come back at the Emmys. Since this year is the final season for the show, we should be prepared for a few goodbye nominations.
Other frequent nominees, such as “The Amazing Race,” “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” “The Late Late Show with James Corden” and “Kennedy Center Honors,” shouldn’t be too worried about their yearly slots. Expect them to stick around in their respective Reality and Variety categories.