Cable dramas have dominated the Emmys for almost a decade now, winning Best Drama Series for the last eight years in a row. None of the big four broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC) have even been nominated since 2011. But it’s a completely different story on the comedy side; only one cable series has ever won Best Comedy: HBO’s “Sex and the City” in 2001.
Broadcast comedies have started to recede at the Emmys in recent years – five out of the seven contenders this year are from cable or the internet – and it looks like either HBO’s “Veep” or Amazon’s “Transparent” will finally break broadcast’s stranglehold on the top prize according to our racetrack odds, but why has it taken so much longer for cable comedies to catch on than cable dramas?
We asked our forum posters to solve this Emmy mystery. Read some of their comments below, then click here to join the debate in our forums.
Tony_DiMeo: My theory is because comedies on cable are typically dry comedies (i.e. “The Larry Sanders Show,” “Flight of the Conchords,” “Extras,” “Monk”) or comedy-drama niche shows (i.e. “Girls,” “Louie,” “Shameless“), whereas the comedies on broadcast that won Emmys recently (i.e. “Modern Family,” “30 Rock“) are rather old-fashioned kind of sitcoms which aren’t extremely different from the sitcoms in the ’70s.
Halo_Insider: I think with comedy, Emmy voters are more attracted to shows and performances that are bombastic and broad in nature. This would also explain why Chuck Lorre shows tend to be so popular in the acting categories.
KylieistBoi: Because ever since “Sex and The City” none of the cable channels made a series that was as huge and popular as “SATC” … For a cable series to win it has to be a national event with word of mouth.
nahborghi: I think that there’s a lot to do with popularity. With the exception of “30 Rock,” every series winner of the past 10 years was a big hit. Cable comedies are often niche, with few viewers and even fewer fans. “Sex and the City” was a hit back in its day. I remember being a kid here in Brazil and hearing about the show, I can only imagine the cultural phenomenon it was in the US.
Alienware: It’s happening already, it’s only a matter of time before it becomes full-on domination like in the dramas.
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Last year, our Experts had an accuracy rate of 58.62% when it came to predicting the Emmy winners. That score tied them with both Gold Derby’s Editors and the Top 24 Users (those two dozen folks who did the best at predicting last year’s Emmys). Our Users scored 51.72% (Click on any of these groups to see what they got right and wrong last year.)
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Photo: Julia Louis-Dreyfus in “Veep.” Credit: Patrick Harbron/HBO
Photo: Louis C.K. in “Louie.” Credit: KC Bailey/FX