It’s been a whopping 19 years since a show won Best Comedy Series at the Emmys for its second season after losing for its first. That show was “Ally McBeal” (1999), which prevailed for Season 2 after being bested for Season 1 by “Frasier,” which was finishing off a five-year run in the winner’s circle (1994-98). Will FX’s rap comedy “Atlanta” be the next to accomplish this rare feat? “Atlanta” lost Best Comedy Series last year to “Veep,” which three-peated in this category from 2015 to 2017. Because “Veep” didn’t air any new episodes during this eligibility cycle, that opens up the door for something new to claim Emmy gold.
Heading into the Emmys “Atlanta” has a leading 16 nominations in the genre, including biggies for Best Comedy Series, Best Comedy Actor for Donald Glover, Best Comedy Supporting Actor for Brian Tyree Henry, Best Comedy Supporting Actress for Zazie Beetz, Best Comedy Directing for Glover, Best Comedy Directing for Hiro Murai, Best Comedy Writing for Glover, Best Comedy Writing for Stefani Robinson and Best Comedy Guest Actor for Katt Williams.
“Atlanta” is the only second-year show nominated this year. If voters instead want to reward brand new blood, there are a whopping three Best Comedy Series nominees that fit that bill: “Barry,” “GLOW” and “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” The other four nominees have been around for a while longer: “Black-ish” (Season 4), “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” (Season 4), “Silicon Valley” (Season 5) and “Curb Your Enthusiasm” (Season 9).
Before “Ally McBeal,” “Murphy Brown” was the previous show to prevail for Season 2 (in 1990) after losing for Season 1 (to “Cheers”). And then there was “M*A*S*H,” which earned gold on its second try (in 1974) after being bested (by “All in the Family”) for its first at-bat.
We know what you’re thinking: Didn’t “The Office” (2006) and “Will & Grace” (2000) first win for their second seasons? Yes, but they were snubbed their debut years on the air, so they still ended up triumphing on their initial nominations. The first season of “The Office” was a midseason replacement that consisted of only six episodes. Since Since 1 didn’t receive a single nomination in 2005, it’s evident that Emmy voters weren’t even aware of this mini-season of the American spin-off.
Likewise, Season 1 of “Will & Grace” only earned a single bid in 1999, for renowned director James Burrows, who was likely just a name-check nominee. The show truly broke out its second year, earning 11 nominations and claiming victories for Best Comedy Series, Best Comedy Supporting Actor (Sean Hayes) and Best Comedy Supporting Actor (Megan Mullally). That suggests TV academy members were simply one year late to the “Will & Grace” party.
Based on Gold Derby’s Emmy predictions, the race for Best Comedy Series is a tight one between “Atlanta” with 1/1 odds and “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” with 7/5 odds. “Barry” comes in third place with 50/1 odds, followed by “Black-ish” in fourth place with 66/1 odds. “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “GLOW” and “Silicon Valley” are tied at 80/1 odds apiece, while “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” trails with 100/1 odds.
Be sure to make your Emmy predictions today so that Hollywood insiders can see how their TV shows and performers are faring in our odds. You can keep changing your predictions as often as you like until just before winners are announced on September 17. Be sure to also predict winners for the Creative Arts ceremonies slated for September 8 and 9. And join in the fun debate over the 2018 Emmy taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our television forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.