This year, the TV academy is allowing for the seventh place finisher in the Comedy and Drama Series races to also reap a bid if it comes within two percent of the show in sixth place. And many Emmy pundits are expecting there to be expanded lineups as it such a competitive year for both drama and comedy.
With the way Emmy voting works — i.e., voters list up to 10 shows in each series race — what matters most is the tallies for those contenders jockeying for the sixth slot. Will seven nominees be the new normal? Vote in our poll below as to how many nominees you think there will be for both Comedy and Drama Series.
We have had seven nominees in both races once before.
That was back in 2009, the year the TV academy expanded the comedy and drama series and acting races from five to six nominees. There were ties in both series categories for that sixth slot, resulting in seven contenders for Best Drama Series and Best Comedy Series; “Mad Men” and “30 Rock” won those respective races.
In the four years since, there have been six nominees for each of these top prizes. So, what happened in 2009? Unlike this year’s crowded slate, it was a relatively weak year for both genres as evidenced by those series that made the cut.
Among the seven drama series nominees that year, six were repeats from 2008, including reigning champ “Mad Men,” which had won for its inaugural season and would prevail again in 2009 (as well as 2010 and 2011).
Of the other five repeat contenders, “Breaking Bad” was on the first of four nominations (and counting), “Damages” was on the second of two, “Dexter” was on bid two of four, “House” was on the last of its four and 2005 champ “Lost” was in the middle of its category comeback with the second of three consecutive bids.
The seventh nominee was “Big Love” and what it did may have been unprecedented as this was its only nomination that year. This also marked its only bid for Best Drama. Was it the series that tied for sixth place? And, if so, with which of the other nominees did it share that distinction? Both “Damages and “House” were on the last of their multiple nominations.
The 2009 comedy series lineup was led by reigning two-time champ “30 Rock” which won this third of seven consecutive bids and 2006 winner “The Office” which was on the fourth of six nominations. “Entourage” picked up the last of three in a row and faded from the Emmys thereafter. Indeed, for its last three seasons, it reaped only a single sound mixing bid.
The rest of the field was filled with four first-time nominees — “Family Guy” (for season seven), “Flight of the Conchords” (for season two), “How I Met Your Mother” (for season four) and “Weeds” (for season four) — which would never contend again.
2008 nominee “Curb Your Enthusiasm” did not air any new episodes in time for the 2009 awards while “Two and a Half Men” was snubbed in 2009 after three consecutive nominations. And, among new series, only “United States of Tara” landed any acting nominations, with Toni Collette winning Comedy Actress.