Last Year’s Winner: “Ted Lasso”
Still Eligible: Yes.
Hot Streak: For nearly a decade the Outstanding Comedy Series was a tug of war between “Modern Family” on ABC and “Veep” on HBO. Since then, neither one show nor one network has won this category more than two years in a row.
Notable Ineligible Series: “The Kominsky Method” (ended); “Dead to Me” (Season 3 was not eligible)
This article will be updated throughout the season, along with all our predictions, so make sure to keep checking IndieWire for the latest news from the 2022 Emmys race. The nomination round of voting will take place from June 16 to June 27, with the official Emmy nominations to be announced on Tuesday, July 12. The Creative Arts Emmy Awards will be given out over two consecutive nights on Saturday, September 3 and Sunday, September 4, with an edited presentation on the ceremonies to be broadcast on Saturday, September 10, at 8:00 p.m. ET on FXX. Finally, the 74rd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards will take place on Monday, September 12, and air live on NBC at 8:00 p.m. ET/ 5:00 p.m. PT.
The State of the Race
The Outstanding Comedy Series race just may be the most captivating one to watch this year. Of the three major series categories, it is the only one to have last year’s winner back to defend its title, and it is now doing so against much heavier contenders than last year, when cult hits like “Cobra Kai” and “PEN15” made the final cut.
To quickly recap the 2021 Emmys race for the comedy categories, the Apple TV+ series “Ted Lasso” became a sensation ready to pull off a sweep of the categories like “Schitt’s Creek” achieved the year before. However, at the last minute HBO Max released “Hacks,” a vehicle for then-three-time Emmy winner Jean Smart. When nominations came around, the former broke the record for the most nominated freshman comedy in Emmy history with 20 nominations, and the latter was right on its tail with 15 nominations. “Ted Lasso” won the ultimate prize and three of the acting categories, while “Hacks” netted a win for Smart, and for the Writing and Directing categories. All said, even though it was really only two frontrunners neck-and-neck, with fellow freshman comedy “The Flight Attendant” as a bit of a dark horse, it was still very exciting to see how everything finally shook out between the Apple TV+ phenomenon and the HBO Max critical darling.
This year, those two shows receiving another Outstanding Comedy Series nomination seems inevitable. Too many people watch “Ted Lasso,” and Jean Smart is just too good at acting for that not to be the case. The question becomes what else gets in when multiple Emmy-winning comedies have returned to the race, alongside at least two new shows that have captured the hearts of audiences everywhere?
One quick answer is Amazon Prime Video’s “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” is more than likely getting a nomination spot, having already won Outstanding Comedy Series once (plus its awards campaign has the financial backing of Amazon). Next, “Atlanta” on FX and “Barry” on HBO have come very close to winning in this category for their previous seasons, with creator/stars Donald Glover and Bill Hader both having previously won Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series. If absence really does make the heart grow fonder, the triumphant return of their third seasons after multiple years off the air should lead to the shows once again being Outstanding Comedy Series nominees. One could further argue that, with how “Barry” Season 3 is currently being received, it is a good pick for what show will ultimately win the category.
To round out the rest of the predicted nominees though, let’s talk about the two newcomers that are most likely to break into the category. “Only Murders in the Building,” which premiered on Hulu late last summer, not only boasts two refreshing performances from comedy legends Steve Martin and Martin Short, it also has pop star Selena Gomez in the best role she’s had since her Disney days. The show not only has become the streamer’s biggest comedy hit, but received very positive reviews as well.
Speaking of Disney, the other freshmen favorite comes from ABC. “Abbott Elementary” is a genuine sensation that, despite premiering in such a staggered way spread over the winter holidays, is now being heralded as the savior of network comedies. Fellow ABC sitcom “Black-ish” may beg to differ, given how consistently it has been nominated over the years, but for Outstanding Comedy Series specifically, the groundbreaking series that just concluded its eight-season run has been in and out of the nomination block over the years, putting it more so on the bubble in the 2022 Emmys race.
As for the final nominee, should there again be eight contenders in the category this year, do not count out one show that is both a new hit show, and a past Outstanding Comedy Series winner. “Sex and the City” revival “And Just Like That” may not have been received in the way its creators expected, but a huge amount of people still watched it, and there were still glimmers of magic from the first run. In a world where fellow Darren Star creation “Emily in Paris” received an “Outstanding Comedy Series” nomination, it is hard not to see the highly publicized return of such a pivotal series as something enough voters will want to celebrate.
“Abbott Elementary” (ABC)
“And Just Like That” (HBO Max)
“Hacks” (HBO Max)
“Only Murders in the Building” (Hulu)
“Ted Lasso” (Apple TV+)
“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” (Amazon Prime Video)
“Russian Doll” (Netflix)
“The Afterparty” (Apple TV+)
In a Perfect World:
“Reservation Dogs” (FX)
“The Other Two” (HBO Max)