Gold Derby Editors Clash Over Best Comedy Series
HBO’s “Veep” has won the Emmy for Best Comedy Series for the last two years in a row (2015-2016), and repeats have become standard operating procedure in this category following three straight wins for “30 Rock” (2007-2009), followed by five in a row for “Modern Family” (2010-2014). So is “Veep” a lock to win again? Gold Derby editors Tom O’Neil, Paul Sheehan, Daniel Montgomery and Marcus James Dixon disagree on who will take the prize. Watch our editors’ slugfest above or listen to the podcast version below.
Montgomery argues for an upset victory for “Black-ish.” He explains, “It’s rising in notoriety. It picked up its first nomination for Best Comedy Series last year. It just ended its third season, but it just won its first Golden Globe for Tracee Ellis Ross, and it was nominated for Best Comedy there. It just got for the first time at the SAG Awards for Best Ensemble. So it’s a show that’s on the rise right now.” Indeed, the TV academy sometimes like to play catch-up. After all, “Veep” didn’t win the top prize until its fourth season.
Dixon also argues that “Veep” may be vulnerable because “voters may have politics fatigue. Think about how much we’ve been talking about politics the last two years … We’re done with politics now, we want to move on.” But Sheehan insists that politics work in “Veep’s” favor: “[This season] it’s about an ex-politician. And it was about somebody who was president who really shouldn’t have been president … so I think there’s some wishful thinking on the part of the voters.”
But what about HBO’s other top comedy, “Silicon Valley,” which has been nominated for the last three years in a row. O’Neil warns, “‘Silicon Valley’ could actually win. Isn’t it the show that keeps getting more nominations every year?” Indeed it has, picking up five nominations in 2014, then seven in 2015, and then nine in 2016. Dixon adds, “It always gets multiple nominations for writing and directing, and that’s something we really have to look for in Drama Series and Comedy Series because if you don’t have one or both of those, chances are you’re not going to win.” In the race for Best Comedy Series, no show has won with neither a writing nor directing nomination since “Friends” in 2002.
But what about the freshman breakout “Atlanta,” which won Best Comedy at the Golden Globes and PGA Awards? “It could get 10 or more nominations,” says Dixon about the FX series. “It’s a very niche type of show. I don’t know if it’s the Emmys’ type of show.” And Montgomery adds that an “Atlanta” victory would be unprecedented: “Unlike in the drama field, where cable TV and streaming have really taken over … the only cable network that has ever won [Best Comedy Series] was HBO, which was just two shows: ‘Sex and the City’ and now ‘Veep.’ So ‘Atlanta’ on FX would be historic for basic cable.”