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April 19, 2014

'Modern Family' Plots its Emmy Strategy

by Allyssa Lee, posted Apr 7th 2010 3:45PM
It's a challenge faced by really strong ensemble casts everywhere: Determining who gets put into lead categories, and who gets put into supporting come Emmy-submission time.

Certainly, it's a dilemma faced by ABC's 'Modern Family,' as the critically acclaimed freshman comedy boasts a clan's worth of award-worthy performers. According to the Hollywood Reporter, there are four different divide-and-conquer Emmy strategies being considered within the 'Family' camp: 1.) Submitting all six of the adult regular cast members (Ed O'Neill, Julie Bowen, Ty Burrell, Sofia Vergara, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Eric Stonestreet) in the lead category; 2.) putting them all in the supporting category; 3.) designating 'Family' patriarch O'Neill in the lead category and the rest in supporting, or 4.) submitting the "traditional" parents Bowen and Burrell in the lead categories, and the rest in supporting. (Guess this means there's no room at the awards show inn for Rico Rodriguez, who is hilariously on-point as man-child Manny.)It's a challenge faced by really strong ensemble casts everywhere: Determining who gets put into lead categories, and who gets put into supporting come Emmy-submission time.

Certainly, it's a dilemma faced by ABC's 'Modern Family,' as the critically acclaimed freshman comedy boasts a clan's worth of award-worthy performers. According to the Hollywood Reporter, there are four different divide-and-conquer Emmy strategies being considered within the 'Family' camp: 1.) Submitting all six of the adult regular cast members (Ed O'Neill, Julie Bowen, Ty Burrell, Sofia Vergara, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Eric Stonestreet) in the lead category; 2.) putting them all in the supporting category; 3.) designating 'Family' patriarch O'Neill in the lead category and the rest in supporting, or 4.) submitting the "traditional" parents Bowen and Burrell in the lead categories, and the rest in supporting. (Guess this means there's no room at the awards show inn for Rico Rodriguez, who is hilariously on-point as man-child Manny.)

This kind of Emmy strategizing is not uncommon on critically acclaimed shows with a strong cast of players. Obviously, it's great to have as many individuals on an ensemble cast be recognized as possible. Though there's also the risk of splitting the vote when there is more than one nominee from the show in one category. Recently, the women of 'Mad Men' addressed this issue when Elisabeth Moss -- a lead actress nominee last year -- reportedly applied for a slot in the supporting category, while January Jones opted for the lead.

And there seems to be no tried and true formula for ensuring ensemble cast members' Emmy success in either category. Jennifer Aniston spent a couple years nominated in the supporting category for 'Friends' before winning for lead actress in 2002. Her castmate, Lisa Kudrow, had won the supporting actress category back in 1998.

Apparently, there's no ensured success when facing off in the same category, either. In 2005, 'Desperate Housewives' Teri Hatcher, Felicity Huffman and Marcia Cross were all nominated for best lead actress and Huffman went home with the statuette. But when 'Friends' Matthew Perry and Matt LeBlanc were pitted against each other in the lead comedy category in 2002, and Aniston and Kudrow went head-to-head in the supporting category in 2000 and 2001, none of them went home with the prize.

Emmy submissions are due April 30.

Which option do you think works best for the 'Family'?

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