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September 16, 2016 at 8:50 am #1201923274
Was reading some Hollywood Reporter Emmy coverage and came across an interview with Andy Sale, the Ernst and Young accountant who counts the ballots. Very interesting brief interview but I was especially intrigued by the following question:
What’s been the closest race you can remember?
We had a situation some years ago when it was really one vote that separated one of the best comedies from winning. We literally spent four days manually recounting that category multiple times just to make sure we had it right.
So, GD sleuths – who do we think this is?September 16, 2016 at 9:35 am #1201923289
arrested?September 16, 2016 at 10:14 am #1201923299
Nope, Arrested Development was clearly a winner based on tapes. I’d say it’s Modern Family’s first or fifth win.September 16, 2016 at 10:48 am #1201923312
It has to be one of the Modern Family wins, or Everybody Loves Raymond winning for its finale.September 16, 2016 at 11:08 am #1201923315
Parks and Rec losing to Modern Family in 2011 or 2015?
Orange losing to modern family in 2014?
Curb your Enthusiasm losing to modern family in 2012?
Louie losing to modern family in 2013?
It has to be one of Modern Family’s wins from 2012 to 2015.September 16, 2016 at 11:17 am #1201923316
I reckon this actually could’ve been Glee vs. Modern Family in 2010. MF was obviously the critical darling and would go onto become an Emmy favourite but Glee was the most buzzed show in the world, one which many thought was going to win, and had 20 nominations (4 of which it won) so probably was also somewhat of an Emmy favourite for that year alone even if it then wouldn’t be in the later, less acclaimed seasons.September 16, 2016 at 11:20 am #1201923317
‘Parks’ was never that close. Neither was ‘Orange’. Modern Family’s first victory probably wasn’t that close. Glee was never gonna win series while it was evident they wanted to move on from 30 Rock.
My guess would be ‘Raymond’ over Arrested Development or 30 Rock’s first win or Modern Family’s last victory.September 16, 2016 at 12:01 pm #1201923334
The last two years have seemed fairly close, but he would have at least said “we had a situation once” instead of “some years ago” if that was the case. The article says that he has been doing this for seventeen years and I doubt that this happened his first year just because, so I am also eliminating 1999. Anything from 2000 to 2013 goes then.
2007: 30 Rock versus The Office
The only other Emmy that 30 Rock won was guest actress. The Office took writing and editing, plus it won series the year before and the easiest way to these things is always inertia. This was also The Office‘s strongest year ever in the nominations, as this was the one time that they got a supporting actress nomination, although tapes were still in play then to be fair. The Office was snubbed in casting though. Very suspicious is that this is one of only three instances in the 2000s when the comedy series winner was not nominated for editing. The other instances were Sex and the City and Veep, but the latter was obviously the result of massive vote-splitting because they submitted so many episodes, especially since Veep had won ACE months earlier. 30 Rock was snubbed at the ACE before the Emmys, but was nominated at the one after. Also in The Office‘s favour is that it won SAG ensemble at the ceremonies before and after the 2007 Emmys. 30 Rock won only one award in the guilds before and only three in the guilds after (PGA, WGA series, Alec Baldwin). The Office won five in the guilds before (PGA, WGA series, WGA episodic, SAG, ACE) and two in the guilds after (WGA episodic, SAG), so maybe it comes down to exactly when you think the majority of the industry shifted from one to the other.
2006: The Office versus Curb Your Enthusiasm
Jesus, this was an odd year. Only two Emmys this year were won by Outstanding Comedy Series nominees: the series award itself obviously to The Office and multi-camera editing to Two and a Half Men. I dare say that The Office‘s biggest threat was a write-in win for My Name is Earl/Will & Grace/Entourage. The Office‘s only other nominations were lead actor, writing and double editing. At least that double editing is something. In Curb Your Enthusiasm‘s favour is that it was the only series nominee nominated for casting or directing. Plus they had editing, lead actor, supporting actress and we can assume that they would have gotten writing if eligible. That is a solid haul. At the previous guilds, The Office was only nominated by one (WGA in all three categories), but it did go on to five wins in the following guilds (PGA, WGA series, WGA episodic, SAG, ACE). This was the one season for which Curb Your Enthusiasm won WGA series and was nominated for SAG actor, plus this was the first time that they got an ACE nomination, plus they had a PGA nomination and two DGA nominations.
2005: Everybody Loves Raymond versus Will & Grace versus Desperate Housewives versus Arrested Development
At both the guilds before this ceremony and after it, Everybody Loves Raymond was only nominated by one (SAG). Not even a PGA nomination, even though PGA and the Emmys would share the next eight winners! In addition to series, Everybody Loves Raymond won both supporting Emmys that year and it was nominated across the board, so maybe the Emmys just existed in a vacuum that year. Having said that, getting editing, sound and cinematography nominations are always going to be easy in the multi-camera categories and of course they got writing and directing nominations for “The Finale”. We see shows with huge final-season hauls all the time; does not mean that they will win. I mean, that same year, Will & Grace got multi-camera nominations for editing and sound, plus a win for cinematography, plus a writing nomination for a random episode, plus it got more acting nominations than Everybody Loves Raymond. It was nominated by four guilds the following year (one win) and five the previous (one win). The big competitor is Desperate Housewives though. It dominated in Emmy wins (directing, editing, casting, theme, lead actress, guest actress), plus it had more nominations than Everybody Loves Raymond, even though it was competing with dramas in several categories as opposed to multi-camera sitcoms. It got eleven guild nominations the year before (five wins) and eight the year after (two wins). Arrested Development had won the year before, but this is when it really dominated in nominations, with triple writing (win) and triple editing.
2004: Arrested Development versus Sex and the City versus Curb Your Enthusiasm
Arrested Development never won PGA or SAG and was never even nominated by DGA, so I have to wonder how much it was carried by its tapes as opposed to broad popularity and I always had my doubts that tapes mattered much in the series races anyway. Curb Your Enthusiasm won PGA. At the Emmys that year, it had three directing nominations, two editing nominations, plus nominations in casting and lead actor and it was ineligible for writing. Granted, Arrested Development did win casting, writing, directing and editing for its pilot, but you have to wonder how much of that was tape-driven, especially when it was not double-nominated anywhere. Sex and the City went into the Emmys having just won PGA, SAG ensemble, DGA, CDG, MUAHS, plus nominations at WGA, ACE and MPSE. The final season the next year won at DGA, ACE, CDG and MPSE, plus it got multiple nominations at SAG and WGA. And it was nominated across the board at the Emmys, winning lead actress and supporting actress.
2003: Everybody Loves Raymond versus Curb Your Enthusiasm versus Sex and the City versus Friends
Getting pretty tired about writing about how close Curb Your Enthusiasm must have been, but I cannot quit now. To Everybody Loves Raymond‘s credit this year, it won writing and was double-nominated. Plus it went into the Emmys with a SAG ensemble win and even an ACE nomination. It got six SAG nominations the next year and was actually nominated for PGA on both sides of these Emmys. This still pales though to the hauls of the HBO perennials. This was the year that Curb Your Enthusiasm was quadruple-nominated for directing, resulting in a win, plus they got all of the other important nominations: double editing, casting, lead actor, supporting actress and were ineligible for writing. It went into the Emmys that year with wins at PGA, DGA and CSA. Sex and the City was coming off of ACE and MUAHS guild wins and being triple-nominated at WGA and would go on to win PGA, SAG ensemble, DGA, CDG and MUAHS, plus they got a bunch of other nominations. At the Emmys that year, they won casting and received their series-best number of nominations. Finally, Friends had no writing or directing and won only a single acting award, but hey, they managed to win series the year before without writing or directing and only a single acting award. To their credit, they are the only ninth season in Emmy history to pick up a casting nomination.
2002: Friends versus Curb Your Enthusiasm versus Everybody Loves Raymond versus Sex and the City
I mean, come on. No writing or directing? Their only series win comes for their eighth season? They only pick up one other Emmy? This screams fluke. They could not even get Lisa Kudrow nominated that year and there had been two years previously where she had literally been the show’s only Emmy nomination. Now, Curb Your Enthusiasm only had one other nomination that year (directing), but they went on to win PGA for the same season and exploded to ten Emmy nominations for the following season. So there was definitely a colossal shift between the time of 2002 Emmy nominations and the PGA winner being announced at the start of 2003. Could it have been between Emmy nominations and Emmy winners? Maybe! Everybody Loves Raymond won the next year, was double-nominated for writing and was nominated over Friends at the following PGA, plus it was coming off of a WGA win and would go on to win SAG. Getting pretty tired of talking about Sex and the City, but it was just always a force. It won directing, casting and costumes for this season and was nominated across the board as always. It had just won PGA, SAG and ACE among many other nominations and it would go on to win ACE and MUAHS among many other nominations again. The only nominee that you can count out this year was Will & Grace
2001: Sex and the City versus Will & Grace
By this point, you know how well Sex and the City always did in the nominations and with the guilds. Still, it is a bit suspicious that it won no other Emmys this year and if it always did so well in the nominations and at the guilds, why was this the only year that it won? What about how it is the only dramedy in the 2000s to have won? But it did not have the steepest competition and it did win PGA and a SAG award on both sides. Will & Grace was coming off of the Emmy from the previous year, plus SAG ensemble and DGA wins and would go on to win both SAG individual awards, CSA, ADG and MUAHS. Sex and the City also notably missed editing in a series-winner rarity.
2000: Will & Grace versus Sex and the City
No writing, but Sex and the City missed directing that year. Still, always suspicious when something wins series only once and the show that beat it the next year is in contention, plus Sex and the City beat it at PGA for the same season.September 16, 2016 at 12:05 pm #1201923337
VEEP vs. Modern Family two years ago, for sureSeptember 16, 2016 at 12:08 pm #1201923340
2013, it was Modern Family’s fourth season and 30 Rock’s last. Modern Family didn’t receive a writing nomination while 30 Rock had two, and won. Modern Family had 3 supporting actor nominations instead of 4. And more notably, didn’t win. Now, neither did 30 Rock, but that’s precisely what this is, a close race. The only major award, except Series, that Modern Family won was Directing. Oh, and 30 Rock had the most nominations.September 16, 2016 at 12:17 pm #1201923342
I forgot how much of a surprise SaTC’s victory was. That’s an option.
I doubt ‘Curb’ was ever that close.September 16, 2016 at 12:19 pm #1201923344
Sale reports that this close vote was “some years ago.” According to his bio, he has been at Ernst and Young since 1985.
I suspect the close vote was farther back than posters here are considering.
My first guess is the first season of The Golden Girls winning over the second season of The Cosby Show.
If not then, I would think that four year span when Cheers and Murphy Brown were going back and forth as Outstanding Comedy Series is a likely contender.September 16, 2016 at 12:31 pm #1201923349
Wow, great responses! I honestly have no idea but love reading all your guesses.September 16, 2016 at 12:40 pm #1201923355
The article opens with, “For 17 years, Ernst & Young accountant Andy Sale has been counting Emmy ballots (he also leads the Golden Globes process), a task that became a lot less strenuous since ditching the old Scantron ballots in favor of an almost entirely digital system.” So I think that he has been at Ernst & Young since 1985, but only took charge of the Emmy balloting in 1999 and it does make sense that he would not gain control of it as a young accountant.
I definitely think that at least Modern Family‘s last win is out of the question because it was not “some years ago”. I also would not read anything into the final season of 30 Rock doing so well in the nominations the previous year. We see final seasons get boosts like that every year and it almost never translates to wins. Plus Modern Family still won the next year. Parks and Recreation was never close. Louie was closer, but not close.
I should mention that Sex and the City‘s series Emmy was the first Emmy that it had ever won, as it was shut out for its first two seasons. Why do you doubt Curb Your Enthusiasm? Just because you would think that if it was that close so many times that it would have worked out at least once?September 16, 2016 at 1:05 pm #1201923363
I’ve always figured CYE was a “we kinda like the show, but we respect Larry David and HBO so we will keep voting for it” series. It was too “out there” and acerbic for the time to win for one of its earlier seasons. The improvised aspect probably worked against it. In its latter seasons there were always more popular and Emmy friendly outs in its later seasons. It has only two main Emmy wins for 8 seasons (both in directing, which seemed to be the only branch that really embraced it). I don’t think it was ever on the cusp. I do believe that if it returns it might have its best chance yet.
Glee was not that close to beating MF. I still believe 30 Rock came second that year. Glee had already experienced a minor backlash. No doubt it flopped in the tape system. It didn’t go home with many Emmys considering the amount it was nominated for. It was hard to see a show mainly focused on teenage characters winning series. And Modern Family was just a perfect Emmy show for that time.