Emmy Awards mystery: Why are there so many repeat winners for Best Comedy Series?

In the 64 years since 1952 — when the Emmys first gave out an award for Best Comedy Series  to “The Red Skeleton Show” — only 33 different laffers have won. Among the many repeat champs is “Modern Family,” which had a lock on this award for five years running before “Veep” stopped it from setting a record last year. We are predicting that “Veep” will win again this year and, if Emmy history is any indication, could rack up several more victories.

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While “I Love Lucy” lost that inaugural race back in 1952, it won the next two years (1953, 1954) before it had to “Make Room for Daddy” (1955). Then “The Phil Silver Show” reigned for three years running (1956 – 1958). “The Jack Benny Show” took the prize in 1959 and 1961 (“The Art Carney  Special” prevailed in an expanded category in 1960).

While the single season of “The Bob Newhart Show” won in 1962, its star did not claim an Emmy of his own till 2013 for a guest spot on “The Big Bang Theory.” “The Dick Van Dyke Show” reigned for four years running beginning in 1963. The super-hot “The Monkees” won for the first of its two seasons in 1967 while the spy spoof “Get Smart” rounded out the decade with back-to-back wins.

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One-season wonder “My World and Welcome to It” kicked off the 1970s before the arrival of two programs that would dominate the decade. “All in the Family” won three in a row (1971-1973) as did “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” (1975-1977). In between “M*A*S*H” claimed this award for the only time in its fabled 11-year run. “All in the Family” added a fourth trophy in 1978 before ceding to “Taxi,” which began a three-year run in 1979.

The seventh and final season of “Barney Miller” won its only award in 1982. “Cheers,” which hailed from the same team as “Taxi,” was saved from cancellation when it took home this prize in 1983; it went on to win again in 1984, 1989 and 1991. First seasons also proved fruitful for “The Cosby Show” (1985), “The Golden Girls” (1986, with a repeat in 1987) and “The Wonder Years” (1988).

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That 1989 win by “Cheers” meant “Murphy Brown” had to wait till season 2 to win in 1990; it also rode a real-life controversy surrounding comments by Vice President Dan Quayle to victory in 1992. “Seinfeld” won just once, for its third full season in 1993. “Frasier” began a five-year romp in this race in 1994 with one-hour dramedy “Ally McBeal” ending its streak 1999.

The new millennium began with a win for “Will & Grace,” the first of seven different shows to take this title that decade. Other one-time champs were “Sex and the City” (2001), “Friends” (2002), “Arrested Development” (2004) and “The Office” (2006). However, “Everybody Loves Raymond” claimed bookends in 2003 and 2005 while “30 Rock” owned this award for three years beginning in 2007.

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