“Ted Lasso” has been the Best Comedy Series Emmy frontrunner since it debuted last summer and its 20 nominations on July 13 did little to dispel that. It is in all likelihood taking home the gold (trophy) in September — it’s at 4/1 in the odds — and this race won’t be as tight and as unpredictable as penalty kicks are because the show has already scored the dagger.
The Apple TV+ series kicked off its second season on Friday, July 23 to sustained critical acclaim and the delight of fans, including Diane Sawyer. For awards purposes, it was a savvily timed drop. Season 2 arrived 10 days after the show netted those 20 bids for its first season and four weeks before final Emmy voting starts on Aug. 19 (that runs through Aug. 30). A “Ted” fan was already going to watch the second season, but if you (read: a voter) hadn’t yet had a chance to check out this “Ted Lasso” show you’ve been hearing about for 11 months, the 20 noms — the most for a first-year comedy — might compel you to do so. And then if you become hooked, you have a brand new season on deck heading into voting.
Season 2 of “Ted” is also different in two ways: There are 12 episodes instead of 10, and unlike its inaugural season, which dropped three episodes on the first day before going weekly, Season 2 is unveiling one episode per week. That means it won’t end until Oct 8, keeping it in the public consciousness and top of mind for voters throughout final voting and the Emmy ceremony itself. (This changeup isn’t unique to “Ted”: Other Apple TV+ shows like “Servant” and “For All Mankind” dropped weekly Season 2 episodes after their first seasons, like “Ted’s,” launched with three episodes before going weekly.)
SEE How to watch ‘Ted Lasso’ Season 2
Season 1 of “Ted” is the one contending this Emmy cycle, but you’d be naive to assume that (some) voters won’t be affected by the new episodes when they log in to vote. Not only that, but “Ted” is the only one of the comedy series nominees that is airing a new season during voting. “PEN15” will premiere an animated episode on Aug. 27, three days before voting ends, but dates for the remaining episodes of its second season have not yet been announced.
“Ted,” of course, is not the first show to air a new season while its previous season is up for Emmys. And if you’re no cynic, you’d point out that the summer is just its normal airtime. Season 1 premiered last August, so it’s not out of the ordinary for the show to return now. Frankly, it’s more impressive that Jason Sudeikis & Co. were able to get Season 2 in the can in the middle of a pandemic that has delayed numerous series. “Ted” being a summer show is no different than “Veep” and “Game of Thrones” having aired during the spring — aka the last stretch of eligibility before it closes May 31 — during their runs, save for Season 7 of the latter, which aired in summer 2017.
SEE Emmy Experts slugfest: Just how many statuettes will ‘Ted Lasso’ score?
Recent summer shows that have tasted Emmy success for a previous season while airing a new one include “Mad Men” and “Orange Is the New Black.” “Ted” will hope to be more of the former than the latter, which fell off the Emmy radar (unless you were Uzo Aduba or Laverne Cox) after it was forced to move from comedy to drama in 2015. “Mad Men’s” first four seasons all premiered in the summer — three times in July and once in August — and all four won Best Drama Series. Its Season 4 victory in 2011 was the only one that occurred without a new season airing as Season 5 didn’t premiere until March 2012. After that, “Mad Men” remained a spring show until it ended in 2015 but did not win series again.
“Mad Men’s” AMC network-mate “Breaking Bad,” which had the opposite trajectory at the Emmys when it came to series wins, made the opposite switch. “Breaking Bad” was a winter/spring show for its first three seasons — Season 1 debuted in January 2008 and the next two installments arrived in March 2009 and 2010 — but it became a summer show for the remainder of its run beginning with Season 4, which premiered in July 2011. It won its first of two consecutive Best Drama Series in 2013 for the first half of its fifth and final season. That triumph happened while the much-hyped and highly anticipated Part 2 of Season 5 was airing in summer 2013 — it won the Emmy the night its penultimate episode “Granite State,” the hour after its consensus best episode ever “Ozymandias,” aired on AMC.
“Breaking Bad” arguably would’ve won anyway even if it didn’t air during final voting — it had never won drama series before and was the buzziest show at the time after attracting a ton of more fans when it started streaming on Netflix. As the kids say, it was the moment. “Ted” is not as huge as “Breaking Bad” was for a variety of reasons, but it’s very much having a moment and its pending Emmy moment could come with a little help from itself.
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