Emmys showdown: ‘Modern Family’ vs. ‘Veep,’ ‘Orange is the New Black’

A funny thing happened to “Modern Family‘s” Emmy chances after nominations were announced Thursday morning. And not the good kind of funny. After being odds-on favorite to win Best Comedy Series for months, the ABC laffer under-performed, missing out on key noms that many awards watchers thought were slam dunks, and losing its frontrunner status. 

All of this bad news for “Modern Family” is wonderful news for the two shows that have the biggest chance of taking down the four-time reigning Emmy juggernaut: freshman dramedy “Orange is the New Black” and better-than-ever “Veep.” Both shows want to put an end to “Modern Family’s” reign and stop it from tying all-time series record holder “Frasier.” Can they do it?

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According to Gold Derby’s early racetrack odds that combine the predictions of Experts, Editors and Users, “Modern Family” and “Veep” are tied for first with 17/10 odds. Four of our EditorsChris Beachum, Matt Noble, Paul Sheehan and me — predict “Veep” will win. Two of us — Daniel Montgomery and Tom O’Neil — are sticking with “Modern Family.” 

“Orange,” which has the backing of editor Rob Licuria, has 4/1 odds while “The Big Bang Theory” and “Louie” are each at 50/1 and “Silicon Valley” has odds of 100/1. 

Both “Orange” and “Veep” did extremely well in their nominations tallies, with “Orange” leading all comedies with 12 noms and “Veep” gaining four from last year to bring its current tally to nine.

Yeah, yeah, “Modern Family” still reaped an impressive 10 noms but that’s a step down from last year when it garnered an even dozen. Emmy voters still like the show, they just don’t like it as much as they used to.

Of the key bids “Modern Family” missed out on, say goodbye to four-time loser Sofia Vergara, three-time also-ran Ed O’Neill and two-time champ Eric Stonestreet. Only three of its six adult cast members reaped nominations (Julie Bowen, Ty Burrell and Jesse Tyler Ferguson) plus guest star Nathan Lane, making it the worst showing ever for this Emmy-favorite cast.

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Speaking of cast members, “Orange” over-performed by getting five ladies into the various comedy races, including several of whom were unknown just a year ago: Taylor Schilling for Comedy Actress, Kate Mulgrew for Comedy Supporting Actress, and Uzo Aduba, Laverne Cox and Natasha Lyonne all in the Comedy Guest Actress race.

“Veep” earned repeat bids for reigning champs Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Comedy Actress and Tony Hale as Comedy Supporting Actor along with Anna Chlumsky for Comedy Supporting Actress and a new nod for Gary Cole as Comedy Guest Actor. While “Veep” is tied with “Modern Family” at four acting bids each, “Veep’s” acting tally went up from last year, suggesting gaining momentum for the political comedy.

For the third year in a row, “Modern Family” is conspicuously missing from the comedy writing category, while “Veep” and “Orange” both made it in there for the first time. That “Modern Family” still won Best Comedy Series three times without a corresponding writing nomination suggests it isn’t a very telling precursor as to what show will take the top prize.

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And what about directing? Both “Orange” and “Modern Family” are in the running for Best Comedy Directing — a race that “Modern Family” has won the past three years in a row — but “Veep” missed out, which could be an ominous sign for the show’s future. The last time a series won Best Comedy without a corresponding helming bid was “The Office” in 2006.

Can “Orange” or “Veep” take down former frontrunner “Modern Family,” or could we be in for a major shocker from one of the other nominees: newcomer “Silicon Valley,” perennial “The Big Bang Theory” or cable darling “Louie“? 

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