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Gold Rush: Possible Comedy Contenders Have A Serious Side

Television’s biggest night is just around the corner as Emmy nominations are set for July 12. But before Hollywood’s small screen Hunger Games can begin, networks need to prep their contenders.

As we speak, primetime nets, streaming services and cable channels are stamping the Do Not Replicate messages on their “For Your Consideration” DVD samples and deciding which billboards to hang over traffic jams in Los Angeles.

While the focus on good performance and great writing, shows with political and social messages are being pushed forward in the great race, as real world problems take over the old school primetime sitcom issues of dating and bratty teens.

As social commentary continues to each its way into the small screen landscape, television is becoming less of an escape and more of a mirror. But can this changing tone translate to Emmy gold?

Over at ABC, the network has put forth their comedies with a message as their frontrunners for possible nominations. This includes Roseanne, American Housewife, Black-ish and Grown-ish.  All of the comedies have tackled subjects beyond the comedy of their situation. While Roseanne is fighting Jackie over the 2016 Presidential Election, the Dre and the Johnson family are dealing with the occasion race issue along with mouthy kids.

CBS Studios is leaning into their female-driven vehicles, including the latest Star Trek reboot of Star Trek: Discovery with Sonequa Martin-Green and The Good Fight with Emmy darling Christine Baranski.  Also up for possible noms are Jane the Virgin and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, both of which received kudo love and praise in the past.

FX is putting the spotlight on returning Emmy winner Atlanta with Donald Glover, The Americans and limited series The Assassination of Gianni Versace. Half-hour laffer Atlanta tackles life below the average median income, while The Americans took a hard cold look at former Cold War politics. Mini Versace takes a deep dive into the murder of world-famous designer, but also explores early issues of the LGBT community.

Looking at HBO, political poker John Oliver will continue to be the network’s stand-out in the war against everything, but comedies like Crashing, Barry and Insecure continue to tackle issues involving the economy, PTSD and problems surrounding modern women.

On Netflix, the streaming service will add the latest season of Arrested Development and David Letterman’s new sit-down to their growing list of heavy hitters, which includes Dear White People and the celebrated Stranger Things. Letterman’s latest includes long chats with President Barack Obama, while the fifth season of Arrested Development will no doubt use the recent political climate as fodder for their dysfunctional Bluth family.

This is just a small smattering of politically and socially charged possible Emmy contenders for the upcoming awards. In following of the footsteps of shows like M*A*S*H,” this crop of Emmy wannabes are not just in it for the gold, but for the message as well…

Although the accolades are nice too.


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