Shrewd home-stretch Emmy campaigns: ‘Louie,’ ‘Modern Family,’ ‘Big Bang Theory’

Emmy voting is in full swing here in Hollywood, and several of this year’s nominated series are taking the chance to do some last-minute tub-thumping and wooing of voters.

Louie,” “Modern Family” and “The Big Bang Theory” all staged special events around town in the hopes of attracting extra Emmy attention before ballots are due on Aug. 30. They invited hundreds of members of the TV Academy to watch episodes or mingle with the casts, while serving tasty treats (gourmet mini-pizzas to extra-long chilidogs) and drinks. FX network is celebrating “Louie’s” breakthrough as the first basic-cable TV series ever nominated for Best Comedy Series by blitzing the town with billboards and ads reminding Hollywooders that many top TV critics hail the show as the year’s best.

The “Louie” event showcased Louis C.K. making a rare appearance at the TV Academy in North Hollywood to talk about the show’s six Emmy nominations. After a screening of the episode “Daddy’s Girlfriend, Part 1” (for which he’s nominated as Best Comedy Actor and Best Comedy Writing along with Pamela Adlon) they also unspooled the first few minutes of “New Year’s Eve” (for which he’s nominated as Best Comedy Directing).

C.K. engaged in a lengthy discussion on the same stage of the TV Academy where, a month earlier, Aaron Paul and Neil Patrick Harris had announced the year’s Emmy nominations live. Discussion topics ranged from C.K.’s early years, to losing the Golden Globe to Don Cheadle (“House of Lies“), to the origins and themes of “Louie.” Several lucky members of the audience also got to ask C.K. questions. Following the event, FX spared no expense in catering a delicious meal of hot and cold foods as well as an open bar.

Modern Family” gave voters a special look at next season by featuring a table read of the fifth season premiere. Those in attendance had to promise they wouldn’t spoil anything from the episode, as it won’t air on ABC for another month. The entire cast — Ed O’Neill, Sofia Vergara, Ty Burrell, Julie Bowen, Eric Stonestreet, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Sarah Hyland, Ariel Winter, Nolan Gould, Rico Rodriguez — took part in the table read, and many of them were bursting out laughing at all the appropriate moments. (There’s one risque scene between Jay and Manny that stole the show and was funnier than the entire fourth season combined.)

After the read-through, the “Modern Family” writing staff joined the cast on stage and answered questions from the audience. Creator Steven Levitan did most of the talking, admitting at one point they may have rushed the Jay/Gloria baby storyline from last season. An open bar ended the night along with meats and cheeses, with a few cast members joining in the festivities and taking photos with fans.

The Big Bang Theory” may have gotten the biggest campaign boost by treating members of the TV Academy as though they were a part of the family. After a panel discussion with producers and the entire cast — Jim Parsons, Johnny Galecki, Kaley Cuoco, Simon Helberg, Kunal Nayyar, Mayim Bialik, Melissa Rauch and special guest Bob Newhart — they let everyone walk down onto the set. Fans took photos on Sheldon’s couch, in Penny’s bedroom, outside the broken elevator and in the university dining hall. Many cast members stayed afterwards to talk about the show and sign autographs, including Newhart who may have stuck around longer than anyone else.

There was an open bar (noticing a pattern here?) and food that had a connection to the show: cheesecake, Chinese take-out and astronaut ice cream. People could even snap photos in front of a green screen and magically appear along with the cast in the show’s police lineup-themed Emmy campaign poster. Upon leaving the sound stage, fans were given goodie bags that included tickets to see the Endeavor space shuttle at the California Science Center.

According to Gold Derby’s polling of Experts, Editors and Users, “Modern Family” is in the lead to take home its fourth consecutive Emmy for Best Comedy Series with 10/9 odds. “Louie” is in second place with 10/3 odds, “30 Rock” is in third place with 6/1 odds, “The Big Bang Theory” is in fourth place with 9/1 odds, “Veep” is in fifth place with 33/1 odds and “Girls” is in last place with 50/1 odds.

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