EMMY ANALYSIS: Broadcast TV's Big Awards Comeback

Emmys Live-Blog; Backstage At The Emmys; Emmys By The Numbers; Red Carpet Executive Arrivals

The broadcast networks staged a major comeback on a wild night at the Emmys, which started and ended with wins that were widely predicted but saw some real curve balls in between. Broadcast’s dominating performance was led by the five Emmys for ABC’s heavy comedy favorite Modern Family, which won every category it was nominated in, sweeping the first four trophy presentations of the night — for best supporting actor/actress and best writing/directing in a comedy series — and making the final award of the night, for best comedy series, a foregone conclusion. Modern Family won that too for a second straight year, and its sweep shut out rival Glee, leaving Emmy host Fox empty-handed. Broadcast shows also claimed the lead actor/actress in a comedy series categories, which provided two of the major upsets of the night. Melissa McCarthy of CBS’ Mike & Molly won for lead comedy actress despite most pundits having her as their fifth or sixth pick in the category and Golden Globe winner Laura Linney considered a strong front-runner for The Big C. Fellow CBS leading man Jim Parsons denied Steve Carell an Emmy for his iconic role on The Office. (The Office and fellow 30 Rock were left out completely tonight.) McCarthy’s and Parsons’ wins also meant a comeback for the multi-camera genre, which had its first double lead actor/actress win in a long time.

Broadcast’s big night continued with Julianna Margulies winning as best actress in a drama series for CBS’ The Good Wife. The Eye network scored again in the reality competition series, where The Amazing Race won for the eighth time in nine years in the category. Additionally, Friday Night Lights, which originated on NBC and continued to air second runs on the broadcast network, scored two big wins for its final season. One went to star Kyle Chandler for lead actor in a drama series and another to showrunner Jason Katims for writing. Add to that the strong showing of pubcaster PBS, whose Masterpiece Theatre mini-series Downton Abbey won four major awards: best TV movie/miniseries, best supporting actress, Maggie Smith, and best writing and directing for a TV movie/miniseries.

Taking it on the chin was HBO, which saw its longform projects snubbed in key categories. Its praised new drama Boardwalk Empire had 18 nominations but won only for Martin Scorsese’s directing tonight after winning best drama series and best actor (Steve Buscemi) at the Golden Globes. (Its total Emmy haul was 8 awards, including 7 from the Creative Arts Emmys.) As for Mildred Pierce, the first sign of its potential vulnerability came at last week’s Creative Arts Emmys, where the mini entered as the most-nominated program this year with 21 noms, but ended up tied for fourth place with The Kennedys, just one more than Downton Abbey, which had far fewer nominations (10 and 11, respectively).

Also put in a corner was awards darling AMC. With its dark drama Breaking Bad sidelined this year, it didn’t land a single award until the very last category, best drama series, won by its veteran Mad Men. It’s very unusual for a drama series winner to claim the top prize without landing a single other trophy on Emmy’s main night. It was the same “Suitcase” episode, written by Mad Men creator Matt Weiner, that won the show the best drama series award but lost out to Friday Night Lights in the writing category and for lead actor in a drama series, in which Jon Hamm had been considered a favorite alongside Buscemi.

Ray Richmond contributed to this report.

  1. Yeah, “Mad Men” winning best show without winning anything else is total b.s. It’s a great show, but…”The Good Wife” and “Friday Night Lights” had much better seasons, and no filler episodes. Well, here’s to next year when they won’t be nominated due to the schedule push back and someone else can finally win!

      1. Well I won’t try to argue, as you’re obviously a Mad Men superfan, but regardless of your hatred for a good show, other shows have outshown Mad Men and didn’t win against them either. (The best example would be Dexter season 4. Should have cleaned up all the way around.)

  2. Amazing to see Friday Night Lights finally get some recognition. Though it should have won best drama as well.

  3. Kyle Chandler winning was the best thing to happen all might. Don’t watch and won’t watch mike and molly but I’ve loved Melissa McCarthy since Gilmore girls. Chuck lorre must have been thrilled to see two of his leads win.
    And yes Friday night lights should have won best drama. Enough with Mad Men already.

  4. This was without a doubt the worst awards show to watch ever. The opening number was okay. The writing was terrible, the jokes were not funny, there was no music and many of the top rated shows were ignored. The only stirring moment was the In Memorium and the beautiful voices of the four Candian Singers who were never even introduced. Jane Lynch tried hard but she could not single handedly put any energy, oomph, talent or creativity into the show. To sum it up…BORING!!!!

  5. McCarthy’s win was a surprise for sure but Mike and Molly got stronger by the end of the season. It made my own best show list.

    I thought the Suitcase episode of Mad Men was the best drama episode I’ve seen in years and I love “The Good Wife”

    Friday Night Lights winning anything was a shocker since it barely registered on the tube.

    Julie Bowen winning was a shocker because I think she is the weakest character on Modern Family.

    I actually enjoyed this year’s Emmy showed. I was fearing it would be one huge FOX commercial but they did a good job of including other studios. Jane Lynch surprised me. she was pretty decent as host.

  6. Let’s all thank Modern Family for their existence. Because otherwise all those awards could go to Glee and all those Lea Michelles, and Will Shusters (what-his-real-name). And in first season Glee was such a Golden Girl. It won, it was nominated, everyone was talking about it, and Lea Michelle was some Golden Girl new star. But then Modern Family begin to take away all comedy awards. And this year even Jane Lynch and Chris Colfer did not get any. Everyone forget that Glee even exists.

    It’s amazing how fast it fall from stardom. Like Heroes Glee is one of those shows that can’t live up to it’s first briliant season.

  7. Bull shi t Award. Carrell never wins. Laurie is never gonna win too. How sad is that? F uck the Emmys. The only reason why I care about it is bc my favorite actor / actress cares about it too. I’m sorry, Steve / Hugh.

  8. I think all the winners were very deserving as well as a deserving group of nominees. I think this year Emmy got the actual awards right. Would have loved to see more love for Friday Night Lights but Mad Men had a powerful fourth season.

  9. All wrong in the comedy category
    Best comedy : Community
    Best actor: Steve Carrell
    Best actress: Amy Poehler
    Best sup actor: Neil Patrick Harris
    Best sup actress: Jane Lynch
    that’s the real deal

  10. Modern Family is a good not great comedy, and its success comes from its amazing cast. Need proof? Look at that producer who kept talking and making it about himself, then look at Ty Burrell’s amazing speech. End of run for MF.

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