Emmy Awards: ‘This Is Us’ could follow in path of ‘Picket Fences’ with Best Drama Series win

NBC’s “This Is Us” is the first broadcast show nominated for Best Drama Series since CBS’s “The Good Wife” contended in both 2010 and 2011. Should this freshman family drama prevail, it would be the first drama series from the big four to do so since Fox’s “24” in 2006. However, “This Is Us” was snubbed in the writing and directing categories. While a setback, such oversights do not rule out a win in the series race. After all, the CBS family drama “Picket Fences” did just this back in 1993.

“This Is Us” centers around the Pearson clan, both past and present. It reaped 10 Emmy bids: Best Drama Series, Best Drama Actor twice (Sterling K. Brown and Milo Ventimiglia), Best Drama Supporting Actor (Ron Cephas Jones), Best Drama Supporting Actress (Chrissy Metz) three for Best Drama Guest Actor (Gerald McRaney, Brian Tyree Henry, and Denis O’Hare), Best Drama Casting and Best Non-Prosthetic Makeup for a Single-Camera Series.

Like “This Is Us,” David E. Kelly‘s “Picket Fences” focused on a family and their life in a small town. For its first season the show won the top three Emmys: Best Drama Series, Best Drama Actor (Tom Skerritt) and Best Drama Actress (Kathy Baker). It was also nominated for: Best Drama Supporting Actor (Fyvush Finkel), twice for Best Drama Guest Actor (Michael Jeter and Richard Kiley), Best Costuming for a Series and Best Main Title Theme Music.

While “This is Us” is one of five freshman shows in the Best Drama Series race, “Picket Fences” was the sole first-year contender. Reigning champ“Northern Exposure” had 16 nominations, past nominees “I’ll Fly Away” and “Law & Order” were up for eight and six Emmys respectively, and the sophomore season of “Homefront” picked up its first series bid along with four others.

“This Is Us” is joined by four other new shows — “The Crown,” “The Handmaid’s Tale,” “Stranger Things” and “Westworld” — as well as returning nominees “Better Call Saul” and “House of Cards.” It is the only one of these contenders to not also be in the running for directing and/or writing.  But “Picket Fences” faced the same disadvantage in 1993 and it prevailed in three top races while “Northern Exposure” went 0 for 16.

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