ABC’s flagship comedy series Modern Family rode into the television sunset this spring after 11 seasons and 250 episodes. When Modern Family burst onto the scene in 2009, it was universally applauded as the best new comedy of the fall season and the savior of family comedies, giving birth to ABC’s overstuffed schedule of diverse family comedies of the past decade. Not only was Modern Family a ratings winner for ABC, it was an awards magnet, winning 22 Emmys to date, including five consecutive Best Comedy Emmys (2010-2014) – tying the Frasier for most consecutive wins in the comedy category – and earning additional comedy nominations in 2015, 2016 and 2017.
Not only was Modern Family a juggernaut in the Best Comedy race, all its principal cast members, Ed O’Neill, Sofia Vergara, Ty Burrell, Julie Bowen, Eric Stonestreet and Jesse Tyler Ferguson have all been nominated in the Supporting Actor and Actress in a Comedy categories. Stonestreet was the series’ first winner for the freshman season in 2010 and went onto win in 2012, the final year he was nominated. Burrell prevailed in 2011 and 2014, and Bowen is the only cast member to win consecutive Emmys in 2011 and 2012. It was always a bummer that Vergara and Ferguson never received Emmys for their roles as Gloria Prichett and Mitchell Pritchett, respectively. It was also egregious O’Neill never earned his long overdue Emmy for his role as the shows matriarch, but he should’ve always been submitted as a lead, not supporting. I understand standing in solidarity with the rest of the cast, but O’Neill could’ve easily put a wrench in Jim Parsons’ Emmy-winning streak during those years.
There aren’t too many broadcast comedies still in the Emmys conversations in the past few year, with the exception of ABC’s black-ish and NBC’s The Good Place, so it’ll be tough to predict Modern Family returning to the race after a 2 year hiatus. With the exclusion of last years winner Fleabag, the last show to win Outstanding Comedy Series for its final season was Everybody Loves Raymond 2005, but Raymond was nominated in the category from 1999-2005, also winning for its seventh season in 2003. If Modern Family had been able continue its nomination streak into 2018 and 2019, I’d have an easier time predicting it for a farewell Emmys run.
With the amount of television nowadays, and the few slots available in the comedy race, I don’t think Emmy voters care about sentimentality anymore. It was evident last year. Emmys didn’t care about the departure of long running broadcast sitcoms as it all but ignored the final season of The Big Bang Theory, which at minimum should’ve gotten a final nomination for Jim Parsons’ performance for the series finale after four wins early in the decade. The Emmys didn’t even invite The Big Bang Theory cast for a final farewell to the world as they did with Veep and Game of Thrones.
Long-running, highly-rated shows broadcast shows like The Big Bang Theory and Modern Family are surely a thing of television’s past, and that’s exactly where Emmy voters are going to leave Modern Family, in the past.
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