Peter MacNicol stripped of Emmy nomination for ‘Veep,’ will be replaced

Peter MacNicol won an Emmy Award for “Ally McBeal” in 2001, but he won’t be winning one for “Veep” this year. The Best Comedy Guest Actor nomination he received last week for playing political consultant Jeff Kane on “Veep” has been rescinded after Gold Derby asked the Television Academy about his eligibility to appear on the guest ballot.

The academy released this official announcement: “Upon review of the Guest Actor in a Comedy Series category, the Television Academy has determined that Peter MacNicol unfortunately exceeds the number of episodes permissible for inclusion in that category. HBO’s guest actor entry for Peter MacNicol was accurate at the time of the submission deadline, but he was subsequently included in an additional ‘Veep’ episode. Unfortunately, that additional appearance places him in 50% of the season’s episodes and makes him no longer eligible to compete in the guest actor category. This decision is in no way a diminishment of Mr. MacNicol’s stellar performance on this season of ‘Veep.’ A new nominee for Guest Actor in a Comedy Series will be announced shortly.”

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Last year, the Emmys changed their eligibility rules for the four guest star races. Now, these categories are strictly “for performers appearing in less than 50% of the eligible episodes.” Since MacNicol appeared in five of 10 episodes (i.e., exactly 50%), HBO should have campaigned him as a supporting actor, not a guest star.

What will happen to MacNicol’s now-vacant slot? “A disqualification would elevate the seventh highest vote-getter to the sixth position and a nomination,” an academy insider tells us. We are still waiting to see who that lucky man will be. The other five nominees are Larry David (“Saturday Night Live”), Tracy Morgan (“Saturday Night Live”), Martin Mull (“Veep”), Bob Newhart (“The Big Bang Theory”) and last year’s winner Bradley Whitford (“Transparent”).

2016 Emmy Awards: Complete list of nominations

MacNicol is now the second performer this year to be deemed ineligible after initially appearing on the Emmy ballot as a guest contender. Our sister website Variety reported last month that Jason Sudeikis, who appeared in 11 of “The Last Man On Earth’s” 18 episodes, was removed from Emmy consideration after the error was discovered. Like MacNicol, Sudeikis could have campaigned in the supporting category.

The two-year-old rule also affected other performers this year. Kate Burton (“Scandal”), Hugh Laurie (“Veep”), Mark Margolis (“Better Call Saul”) and Margo Martindale (“The Good Wife”) were all billed as guest stars on their respective shows, but since they popped up in 50% or more of the season’s episodes, they were correctly submitted as supporting players on the Emmy ballot. All were snubbed.

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Gold Derby’s savvy forum posters were the first to notice MacNicol’s ineligibility, among them our contributor Riley Chow (screen name “thedemonhog”). Jf123 even correctly predicted, “We could see another Henry Winkler situation.” In 2000, Winkler was nominated as a guest star for NBC’s police comedy “Battery Park.” However, after it was discovered that his episode aired after the eligibility deadline of May 31, his nomination was rescinded and William H. Macy (“Sports Night”) replaced him as a nominee. Bruce Willis (“Friends”) won that race.

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