Ray Richmond is an AwardsLine contributor
A couple of longstanding records could fall at this year’s 64th Primetime Emmy Awards, both of them on the drama series side. The most discussed possibility involves AMC’s Mad Men, which hopes to accomplish something that Hill Street Blues, L.A. Law, and The West Wing could not: win a fifth Emmy for outstanding drama series. What’s more, the series would be doing it as a streak in consecutive years of eligibility. Hill Street (1981-84) and West Wing (2000-03) also turned the trick in successive years. But like L.A. Law, neither show could manage that fifth one. We’ll see if Mad Men can.
On the comedy side, Frasier earned five outstanding comedy series trophies in as many years (1994-98) to hold that mark. ABC’s Modern Family will be trying for its mere third in a row.
Another record involves Bryan Cranston of AMC’s Breaking Bad and his quest to win his fourth Emmy in succession for drama lead actor on the series. That would tie him with Dennis Franz of NYPD Blue for most in the category. However, Franz didn’t earn his in consecutive years (1994, ’96, ’97, ’99), while Cranston would be winning for the fourth straight time that he’s been eligible. That’s never been done before on the drama acting side.
The only other performer to win Emmys in four consecutive years for the same role on the same series is John Larroquette, who managed the feat as supporting comedy actor for Night Court (1995-98). (Larroquette would later win a fifth statuette for guest actor on The Practice.) The only performers to win five Emmys for the same series role are Don Knotts as supporting comedy actor for The Andy Griffith Show (1961, ’62, ’63, ’66, ’67) and Candice Bergen as lead comedy actress for Murphy Brown (1989, ’90, ’92, ’94, ’95).
Meanwhile, there is one other winning streak that’s on the line this year. Comedy Central’s The Daily Show With Jon Stewart is poised to win an astonishing 10th consecutive Emmy in the top variety series category. The show continues to pad its own record for a program with each passing year. But it’s become such a slam-dunk to win that it scarcely even rates a mention anymore.