Will ‘Modern Family’ win fifth straight Emmy like ‘Frasier’ or lose like ‘Mad Men’?

Last year, “Modern Family” won Best Comedy Series for the fourth time in as many years. However, it claimed just one other Emmy — Directing — from its series low eight nominations.

Is the TV academy starting to tire of this ABC laffer as it did with “Mad Men,” which claimed the top drama prize for four years running before being shut out of the Emmys? Or will “Modern Family” tie the record set by “Frasier” with five wins in a row? That show too suffered a slump at its fourth Emmys, winning just two of nine bids, but staged an staggering comeback the following year.

Which way will it go for “Modern Family”?

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That “Modern Family” just one of its strongest season may be irrelevant to its prospects. And that there is no single clear alternative to “Modern Family” this year also may not matter.

Remember, the fifth season of “Mad Men” looked relatively strong against a divided field that included “Breaking Bad,” “Downton Abbey” and “Homeland.” It was as acclaimed as any of the four winning ones had been and featured strong performances from featured players Christina Hendricks and Jared Harris. Indeed, it was favored to take home its fifth consecutive Drama Series trophy but lost to newcomer “Homeland.” It had second-best odds in Writing, Supporting Actor and Supporting Actress, but went home empty-handed with “Homeland” also taking the writing race and Aaron Paul (“Breaking Bad”) and Maggie Smith (“Downton Abbey”) winning the featured player prizes. 

Those losses may have been foretold by relatively poor showing of “Mad Men” at the previous year’s Emmys. That fourth season included the series’ most acclaimed episode — “The Suitcase” — which had been predicted to win the show a fourth consecutive award for Drama Writing and earn Jon Hamm his first Emmy. However, the series finale of “Friday Night Lights” took both awards, including a first trophy for star Kyle Chandler. Despite these defeats, “Mad Men” still won Best Drama Series for the fourth time over, among others, the debut season of “Boardwalk Empire” which had prevailed at the Producers, Directors and Screen Actors Guild Awards. Its only other win that night was for Hairstyling and it has been shut out of the Emmys ever since. 

Last year, “Modern Family” featured performers Ty Burrell and Julie Bowen were considered to have the strongest episode submissions but lost to third-ranked Tony Hale of “Veep” and seventh-ranked Merritt Wever of “Nurse Jackie” respectively. Could their unexpected losses signal a shift in voting this year as happened with “Mad Men”? 

Or will “Modern Family” still prevail in the top race as “Frasier” did for its fifth season? Compare the track records of these two laffers below and then cast your ballot. 

“Modern Family”

Season 1: three wins from nine nominations
Series, Supporting Actor (Eric Stonestreet), Writing.

Season 2: five wins from 12 nominations
Series, Supporting Actor (Ty Burrell), Supporting Actress (Julie Bowen), Directing, Writing.

Season 3: four wins from 10 nominations
Series, Supporting Actor (Eric Stonestreet), Supporting Actress (Julie Bowen), Directing. 

Season 4: two wins from eight nominations
Series, Directing

“Frasier”

Season 1: five wins from 11 nominations
Series, Actor (Kelsey Grammer), Directing, Writing, Editing

Season 1: five wins from 11 nominations
Series, Actor (Kelsey Grammer), Directing, Writing, Editing.

Season 2: five wins from 12 nominations
Series, Actor (Kelsey Grammer), Supporting Actor (David Hyde-Pierce), Directing, Writing.

Season 3: four wins from 11 nominations
Series, Writing, Editing, Sound Mixing. 

Season 4: two wins from nine nominations
Series, Directing.

Season 5: four wins from 11 nominations
Series, Actor (Kelsey Grammer), Supporting Actor (David Hyde-Pierce), Editing. 

While “Frasier” never won the Comedy Series race again, it continued to rack up wins at each Emmys, taking home an additional 17 trophies over the next six years, including a half dozen for its swan song 11th season. 

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Below, take a photo tour through this year’s top 10 contenders for Best Comedy Series. And be sure to use the easy drag-and-drop menu below to make your predictions in this race. 

3 thoughts on “Will ‘Modern Family’ win fifth straight Emmy like ‘Frasier’ or lose like ‘Mad Men’?

  1. Lovely analysis. I think MF’s tea leaves will be evident by its nominations-haul, particularly in the acting branches where a stronger alternative like Veep or Orange may emerge more daunting. I don’t think it ever deserved one of its top gongs, let alone a fifth one (Emmy-bait wedding be damned).

  2. it absolutely was their strongest season since the first year. it might make a difference based on best comedy series. but i find the young whuny ex fans of the show in reality (and this might correspond to some of the voters) just got tired of the format… forgetting it’s a network series with 20 plus eps and a formula. they’ve gotten used to something that seemed fresh 4 years ago. but in reality the show had a strong season. the allowing the kids to age in their stories helped a lot.

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