‘The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’ will have to overcome the Emmys’ one-hour bias in Best Comedy Series

Size matters at the Emmys — at least in Best Comedy Series. In 1999, “Ally McBeal” became the first hour-long show to win the award. Unfortunately, it was never nominated again and no one-hour comedy has joined its ranks since. Will “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” end this long drought or will its atypical runtime (for a comedy) hurt it?

“Mrs. Maisel” is neck-and-neck with “Atlanta” for the honor in our odds, with our 20 Experts split evenly between them. It nearly ran the table earlier this year with victories at the Golden Globes, Critics’ Choice and the Producers Guild Awards, though it did not compete with “Atlanta” at any of them.

Those are great feathers in its cap, but the Emmys are a different beast. Four hour-long shows have been nominated for Best Comedy Series since “Ally McBeal”‘s win: “Desperate Housewives” (2005), “Ugly Betty” (2007), “Glee” (2010, 2011) and “Orange Is the New Black” (2014). Is it a coincidence that none of them received more than two nominations (“Ally McBeal” was also nominated in 1998)? Meanwhile, traditional 30-minute comedies tend to rack up nominations for years. “Modern Family” finally dropped out this year after eight consecutive bids and five wins.

SEE Amazon celebrates 14 ‘Marvelous’ Emmy nominations with ‘Mrs. Maisel’ look-a-likes coloring Los Angeles pink

After “Orange”‘s nomination and all the talk about whether it was a drama or a comedy, the TV academy instituted a new rule: 30-minute shows are comedies and 60-minute shows are dramas. Networks can appeal and numerous shows have been approved for re-categorization, including, obviously, “Mrs. Maisel,” but “Orange” was not. “Orange” only manage to get one nomination in drama.

But all of these instances were under the old voting system, when panels voted for select program and peer group races. Now that voting is open to the entire membership for programs and it’s a plurality vote, the Emmys’ hour-long comedy bias could be a thing of the past. They gave a streaming show Best Drama Series for the first time last year and could do the same in comedy this year with “Mrs. Maisel.”

In other words: This is probably the best chance for “Ally” to finally get an Emmy-winning friend.

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