2012 Primetime Emmys: 'Mad Men's Historic Shutout

Mad Men wound up setting a dubious — and surprising — record at the Primetime Emmys this year. Not only did AMC’s slick 1960s-set drama see its four-year winning streak as best drama series snapped by Showtime’s Homeland, it failed to win a single trophy tonight or at the Creative Emmys last week. Heading into the awards with the most nominations, 17, Mad Men went 0-for-17 to set a record for the biggest shutout in Emmy history. It broke the mark of 16 held jointly by Northern Exposure (1993) and The Larry Sanders Show (1997). While there was a consensus that Mad Men had lost its Emmy momentum this year, few could have predicted the nominations frontrunner would be left completely empty-handed. There was a likely warning sign for this year’s drought in 2011, when the praised series was able to convert only two of its 19 nominations to a win.

Related: 2012 Primetime Emmys: By The Numbers

Mad Men already had a losing streak going on. In its five seasons on the air, the period drama has been shut out in all of its Emmy acting nominations — that’s 25 without a win. This year, Mad Men was bidding to become the first drama series ever to win five Emmys in the biggest category. It is now tied with Hill Street Blues, LA Law and The West Wing and will have to wait a year for another shot at breaking that record.

  1. And even if it does break the record with a victory for season 6 and/or 7, it won’t be consecutive, which would have been quite something.

  2. Sorry, no sympathy from me. Mad Men is seriously over-rated. One Emmy win for best show, it’s first season, okay, but four? It’s not even the best show on AMC.

    1. I agree a hundred percent. I see shows all the time with a much better cast of actors and much much deeper story lines. Mad Men is actually a very, very safe show. I think mostly un-hip people trying to be hip watch it.

  3. The Other Woman was the best hour in all of television between June 1st, 2011 and May 31st, 2012. How Emmy voters failed to recognize this is beyond me.

  4. “Zou Bisou Bisou”? The death of Lane Pryce? The pimping out of Joan? The departure of Peggy? I disagree that this season of “Mad Men” was “weak.”

    That said, I need to see “Homeland,” maybe it *was* better than “Mad Men.”

      1. Last time I looked, TV shows sought to have memorable moments in them, a.k.a. “watercooler TV.”

        Enough of these moments in the right combination often lead to high viewership, critical acclaim, and yes, Emmy love.

        Class dismissed.

  5. I just can’t believe the Emmy voters have shut out Christina Hendricks and Elisabeth Moss, again! January Jones I can see, she’s pretty awful, but Hendricks and Moss are really fantastic in their roles and so underrated by the voters.

  6. I still like Mad Men- but this last season got on my nerves. It needs better writing and better plotline.Homeland on the other hand was a knockout

  7. Emmy schmemmy. The worst hour of Mad Men is still head and shoulders above 99% of the rest of network and cable. Hate if you want, but Mad Men doesn’t need vampires, zombies, guns or explosions to make it interesting. It does need not to take a couple years between seasons though. That killed some of the momentum, I think, for casual viewers who then didn’t see how each season connects to the next.

    On the other hand, isn’t it great that these days we have an abundance of riches where it’s debatable which series is best- rather than how it’s been – with one show here and another show there that piqued our interest?

  8. Season five of Mad Men was easily the weakest so far. The plot was obvious and the writing was really unsubtle. And Matthew Wiener’s infatuation with Jessica Pare has unbalanced the entire show. Hopefully losing everything at the Emmys has deflated his ego so that next season can be better.

  9. I have never understood the love for this show but my gut the show not winning anything was more political than anything. Voters feeling the creator new contract ate into other shows on AMC that voters work on.

  10. No surprise. The central premise–essentially a mystery concerning a man who has a mysterious past who has reinvented himself and used his spin skills to work in advertising has been resolved. He’s moved on to a dysfunctional, yet relatively normal relationship, the tension that propelled the first several seasons–will his wife discover his true identity and what will happen when she does, all these issues are resolved. The biggest dramatic arc was about a second tier character and his path to suicide which was introduced late and resolved quickly. The show is still well observed, sharply written and a pleasure, but in no way stands up to the interesting dramatic tension and surprising twists of the first two seasons. Time to bring back sal!

  11. I bailed a few seasons ago…

    Not interested in Weiner’s opus. Those first couple seasons were solid, and then, like Don Draper, they strayed.

  12. Everyone here is perfectly aware of what Primetime Anytime is and how Dish is getting its pants sued off. Go sell Dish somewhere else.

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