Emmy Awards campaigns can be murder. Hulu’s freshman comedy series “Only Murders in the Building” seems to understand that extremely well and has devised a strategy to stay top of mind during the long haul. With Emmy voting stretching from the beginning of nominations round on June 16 to the last day to pick the winners on August 22, the comedy has opted to debut its second season in the middle, premiering on June 28. Will the Season 2 strategy help the series make a killing when it comes to the Emmys?
A series airing new episodes during the peak of Emmy season definitely has its advantages. The incumbent Emmy champion “Ted Lasso” debuted its second season on July 23, 2021, almost a month after nominations voting concluded but four weeks before the final round of voting for the winners began. The series no doubt capitalized on the buzz those new episodes generated during a crucial stretch of the campaign and it seemed to work wonders: the comedy took home seven trophies, including one for its second-season standout Brett Goldstein, who overcame three costars in the Supporting Actor race in large part because of his turn in Season 2.
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“Only Murders” is employing a similar strategy by debuting new episodes after nominations are announced but before and during the voting on the winners. The move could certainly help boost the win prospects of its nominees, which will likely include contenders Steve Martin and Martin Short, but that advantage might come at the expense of a higher tally of nominations.
Since the series wrapped its first season in October, an overwhelming number of comedies have debuted and returned. Past Emmy winners “Hacks,” “Barry,” “Atlanta” and “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” have all bowed much more recently, drowning out some of the buzz “Murders” had last fall. Speaking of buzz, “Abbott Elementary” has only grown in popularity since it began in December, while new series “Julia” has also generated a lot of chatter amongst actors. All of these shows could have a leg up on “Murders” in different races since they’re airing so much more closely to the nomination round of voting, which might disadvantage some of its shakier contenders.
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According to Gold Derby’s current combined odds, the show looks safe for nominations in Comedy Series, where it ranks fourth, and for double bids in Comedy Actor for Short and Martin. But it lags behind in a number of the other top races, including Comedy Actress, where Selena Gomez trails in seventh, and Comedy Supporting Actress, where Amy Ryan ranks 11th. The new episodes could have also helped remind voters of their guest acting contenders like Nathan Lane, who will reprise his memorable Season 1 role when the show returns.
Those trade-offs might just be worth it, though, if the second season proves so overwhelmingly successful that it catapults the comedy to a series win. That would be the only the second series trophy for Hulu in its history and the first time it took home the top comedy prize; it previously won in drama series for the first season of “The Handmaid’s Tale” back in 2017. Only time will tell.
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