The Emmy race between ‘Ted Lasso’ and ‘Hacks’ is closer than you think

For this year’s Best Comedy Series battle, Gold Derby predicts reigning champ “Ted Lasso” will win again after walking away with last year’s statue. But the current Emmy race between “Ted Lasso” and “Hacks,” our predicted runner-up, is closer than you think. For starters, only eight comedies in Emmy history claimed the top prize for Season 1 and Season 2 (with the last being “Modern Family” 11 years ago), so history suggests we might see another show step up to the podium at the 2022 Emmys. Might an upset be in store?

At last year’s kudos, the Apple TV Plus feel-good sports laffer won seven total Emmys for series, actor (Jason Sudeikis), supporting actress (Hannah Waddingham), supporting actor (Brett Goldstein), casting, picture editing and sound mixing. Not to be outdone, the HBO Max show about a legendary stand-up comedian claimed three Emmys for actress (Jean Smart), directing (Lucia Aniello) and writing (Aniello, Paul W. Downs and Jen Statsky). Those directing and writing wins were telling indeed about how much love there was for “Hacks” within the industry, and they were later echoed by the Directors Guild Awards and Writers Guild Awards, beating “Ted Lasso” in both instances.

SEE Emmy Experts slugfest: Why the ‘Hacks’ finale could make it the comedy series to beat [WATCH]

The second (and possibly penultimate) season of “Ted Lasso” aired last summer and has already proven victorious at the SAG Awards and Critics Choice Awards, suggesting the quality of the content is still just as strong as ever. For what it’s worth, the Golden Globes, which didn’t air this year because of controversies within the ranks, went with “Hacks” instead, echoing the DGA and WGA. The fact that the winter precursor awards were mixed between these two shows makes the upcoming Emmy race more head-scratching than our racetrack odds might suggest.

What do the TV critics have to say about the “Ted Lasso” vs. “Hacks” debate? The sophomore season of “Ted Lasso” scored an 85 at Metacritic and a 97 at Rotten Tomatoes, while the recent season of “Hacks” earned an 88 at Metacritic and a perfect 100 at Rotten Tomatoes. In other words, yes it’s close, but “Hacks” takes the edge by a tennis ball can.

“This is about as good as a season finale gets,” Matt Roush (TV Insider) recently raved about the highly acclaimed “Hacks” ender, which aired at the tail-end of the Emmy eligibility period. Similarly, Keith Phipps (TV Guide) notes about “Ted Lasso,” “Like Ted, there’s depths to it that aren’t apparent at first glance. Season 2 provides an even better sense of how far those depths go.”

As of this writing, an even dozen of Gold Derby’s 16 Emmy Experts think “Ted Lasso” will win again: Anne Thompson (Indiewire), Clayton Davis (Variety), Eric Deggans (NPR), Jazz Tangcay (Variety), Keith Simanton (IMDb), Kelly Lawler (USA Today), Matt Roush (TV Guide Magazine), Peter Travers (ABC), Susan King (Gold Derby), Susan Wloszczyna (Gold Derby), Thelma Adams (Gold Derby) and Wilson Morales (BlackFilmandTV).

Meanwhile, these three Experts predict “Hacks” will prevail: Christopher Rosen (Gold Derby), Joyce Eng (Gold Derby), Matthew Jacobs (Thrillist). And the remaining Expert, Shawn Edwards (WDAF-TV Fox), goes out on a limb for FX’s “Atlanta.”

Because “Hacks” just wrapped up its second season on June 2, it hasn’t yet competed at any awards shows. Thus, the Emmys will be its first test to see whether awards voters are still on board the Deborah Vance bus. But whether or not the show wins Best Comedy Series, it’s a safe bet that Smart will win Best Comedy Actress. Earlier this year, the 70-year-old  joined an elite club of actors who swept an entire awards season for “Hacks” Season 1 by winning the Emmy, SAG Award, Critics Choice Award, Golden Globe and Television Critics Association Award.

Similarly, Sudeikis claimed four of the above for “Ted Lasso” Season 1, just missing out at the Television Critics Association, which doesn’t have gendered categories and opted for Smart instead. For the second season, he again won the SAG Award, Critics Choice Award and Golden Globe, with the Emmy for Best Comedy Actor and the TCA Award still to be determined.

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