Plenty of precedent for Emmy comeback by ‘The Good Wife’

One of the biggest hurdles that “The Good Wife” faces going into Emmy season is its dwindling number of nominations. As a rookie, it reaped nine nominations in 2010 (including Best Drama) and did the same in its sophomore season. However, in both 2012 and last year, it was snubbed in the top race and earnd only seven and four bids respectively.

While it is difficult for a show to make a comeback in the series race, it does happen.

Back in 1995, “Friends” earned nine nominations for its first season, including a bid for Best Comedy. The following year it only scored three nominations, including Best Comedy again and won for directing. But, in both 1997 and 1998 the show received only one nomination for supporting player Lisa Kudrow; she won the second of those races.

Then, on a creative upswing, “Friends” returned to the Comedy Series race in 1999 and 2000 before being snubbed in 2001. It also saw a return to multiple nominations with a total of six in 1999 and eight in 2000. However, while it reaped five nominations in 2001, it was snubbed once more for Best Comedy Series. But it staged another comeback in 2002, scoring 11 bids and winning the top prize. 

Two other series champs also prevailed after years of declining nominations. However, each of these — unlike “The Good Wife” and “Friends” — did contend for the top prize in their respective genres every year. 

“All in the Family” suffered an Emmy drought midway through its run. In each of its first three seasons, the show was an Emmy juggernaut, winning Best Comedy Series each time as well as multiple other races. Its track record was three for seven bids in 1971, seven for 11 in 1972 and two of seven in 1973. In 1974, it went one for five and in 1975 it was shut out, losing all four of its bids. Then, in 1976, it received just one nomination, albeit for Best Comedy Series. It made a comeback in 1977, winning one of its five races and then really hit its stride in 1978, winning six of its nine nominations, including Best Comedy Series and for three of the four performers (leads Carroll O’Connor and Jean Stapleton for the third time each and supporting player Rob Reiner for the second) as well as for directing and writing. For its final season in 1979, it scored seven bids, with O’Connor winning again and supporting actress Sally Struthers picking up a bookend to her 1972 trophy. 

And “Law & Order” didn’t break into the Drama Series race until its second season in 1992 when it reaped six Emmy bids in all, winning for sound editing. It scored that many the following season (with wins for guest star Elaine Stritch and cinematography) but then saw its totals fall to three in 1994, just one — for Best Drama Series — in 1995 and two in 1996. Then, it 1997 it shot up to five nominations and won the series prize. 

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