Thanks to ‘Ted Lasso,’ Zach Braff scores his first Emmy nomination since ‘Scrubs’

Ted Lasso” cleaned up in the Emmy nominations when they were announced on July 13. It received 20 nominations, more than any other freshman comedy in history. Among those was for Zach Braff, who’s up for Best Comedy Directing for the episode “Biscuits.” This marks his first Emmy nomination since “Scrubs.” Can he win for his work behind the camera?

“Scrubs” never really got its due from the TV academy. Over the course of nine seasons it only won two Emmys, for picture editing in 2005 and sound mixing in 2007. It was only nominated for Best Comedy Series twice (2005-2006), and the second time that was its only nomination. 2005 was also the only year Braff was nominated for Best Comedy Actor for his performance as medical intern John Dorian.

Bill Lawrence was the creator of “Scrubs,” and he also co-created “Ted Lasso” with Jason Sudeikis, Brendan Hunt, and Joe Kelly, so it’s no surprise he brought Braff onboard to work behind the camera. Though Braff is best known as an actor, he has also developed a reputation as a director. He helmed seven episodes of “Scrubs,” and his film directing debut, 2004’s “Garden State,” won him the Independent Spirit Award for Best First Feature (and even won him a Grammy for producing the soundtrack album).

So can Braff win his first Emmy? His biggest challenge may be overcoming a potential vote split with two other “Ted Lasso” directors in his category: MJ Delaney (“The Hope That Kills You”) and Declan Lowney (“Make Rebecca Great Again”). That could open the door for two other directors whose stylish shows are also up for Best Comedy Series: Susanna Fogel (for the “Flight Attendant” episode “In Case of Emergency”) and Lucia Aniello (for the “Hacks” episode “There is No Line”).

The “Flight Attendant” and “Hacks” nominees are both pilot episodes, which have a history of doing well at the Emmys in writing and directing categories since they establish the style and tone of their series. But “Ted Lasso” is the heavy favorite for Best Comedy Series, and Braff has strong name recognition, which could be enough to make voters hungry for “Biscuits.”

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