Emmy-Worthy Role: Leslie Knope, Parks and Recreation
After two nominations for Saturday Night Live, Poehler quickly picked up five more as Pawnee’s earnest government bureaucrat. Her character knows a little bit about close votes, so perhaps she’ll be off this list come Monday….
Emmy-Worthy Role: Don Draper, Mad Men
Since taking on the role of the dapper 1960s ad man in 2007, Hamm has been nominated for Best Actor every year. But things have broken bad for him each time, with Bryan Cranston dominating and The Newsroom‘s Jeff Daniels pulling off an upset last year. He might have to wait until Mad Men‘s swan song next year to take home the hardware.
Emmy-Worthy Role: Jessica Fletcher, Murder, She Wrote
How Lansbury was overlooked for an Emmy on 18 occasions — including nine times as your grandparents’ favorite sleuth — is a mystery. Was the show too square? Was Lansbury too Broadway? (She owns five Tonys.) At least the Golden Globes had a clue, crowning her four times in the same category.
Emmy-Worthy Role: Ricky Ricardo, I Love Lucy
Arnaz was the only series regular who never received a nomination, and Lucille Ball and Vivian Vance each took home trophies. It was the girls’ show, yes, but someone was setting up Lucy for all those great punchlines.
Emmy-Worthy Role: Claire Huxtable, The Cosby Show
Rashad earned two nominations as Bill Cosby’s better, smarter, stronger half — and another for 2008’s A Raisin in the Sun — but, as Desi Arnaz learned, being the responsible grown-up opposite a comedian is hardly Emmy bait.
Emmy-Worthy Role: Sheriff Andy Taylor, The Andy Griffith Show
To be fair, official Best Actor in a Comedy Emmys weren’t presented for the first half of Griffith’s run in Mayberry, but these are the facts: He was nominated only once, and it was for a 1981 TV miniseries. Yet Don Knotts won five statuettes while on The Andy Griffith Show. Where’s the justice?
Emmy-Worthy Role: Monica Geller, Friends
A quick list of all Friends‘ Emmy nominees: Jennifer Aniston, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry, David Schwimmer, Christina Applegate, Brad Pitt, Bruce Willis, Susan Sarandon, Tom Selleck, Gary Oldman, Marlo Thomas, Hank Azaria, Danny DeVito. That is all.
Emmy-Worthy Role: Gregory House, House
Did you notice how House grew more irritable every year? It’s perhaps understandable when you remember that Emmy voters failed to call his name each of the six years that he was nominated, a shame because Laurie would’ve delivered the evening’s most memorable speech. His two funny—and delightfully English—Golden Globe acceptance speeches were instant classics.
Emmy-Worthy Role: J.R. Ewing, Dallas
Primetime soaps are typically second-class citizens on Emmy night, but, when Dallas was TV’s biggest show in the early ’80s, Hagman claimed the throne of TV’s most notorious villain and got invited to the ball twice.
Emmy-Worthy Role: Michael Scott, The Office
Carell never took home the top prize, despite being nominated for six straight years. But if voters penalized him because he was simultaneously a box-office star, they failed to properly credit a man who ably filled the unfillable shoes of Ricky Gervais.
Emmy-Worthy Role: Samantha Stephens, Bewitched
Montgomery earned nine Emmy nominations, including five in a row for her role as TV’s favorite undercover witch. She was so solid that no one seemed to mind when the show even recast her husband midstream.
Emmy-Worthy Role: Dr. Doug Ross, ER
Clooney was nominated twice for his dashing turn as a heroic pediatrician, but when Hollywood beckoned, he lost his underdog status. Fortunately, he has Oscars to keep him warm at night.
Emmy-Worthy Role: Host of The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show
Allen can take pride in clobbering Burns in nominations during the run of their hit show: 6-zip. (He was finally honored for a TV special in 1990.) But she could always say goodnight early on Emmy night, losing to the likes of Lucille Ball and Dinah Shore.
Emmy-Worthy Role: Charles Ingalls, Little House on the Prairie
Answer: 426, 187, 111, 0. Question: What is the number of episodes Landon starred in of Bonanza, Little House on the Prairie, and Highway to Heaven, respectively, followed by the number of his career Emmy nominations? That’s just cruel, Emmy.
Emmy-Worthy Role: Maddie Hayes, Moonlighting
Shepherd later earned three more nominations for her show Cybill, but it was her one nod for Moonlighting that reestablished her as a star. Before the show’s romance overheated, she and Bruce Willis (who would ultimately win) were both recognized in the drama category but would the show have had better luck categorized as a comedy?
Emmy-Worthy Role: George Costanza, Seinfeld
Alexander was nominated seven consecutive times in the 1990s for his pathetic Lord of the Idiots, but fans of the show were forced to choose between him and Michael Richards’ wacky Kramer. Final score: Richards, 3; Alexander, 0.
Emmy-Worthy Role: Ally McBeal, Ally McBeal
Was the show a drama or a comedy? Maybe that’s why Flockhart came up short, despite three nominations for her role as a millennial Mary Tyler Moore. McBeal didn’t quite fit the quippy sitcom gal that Emmy preferred at the time, but she carried a great dramedy for five solid seasons.
Emmy-Worthy Role: Host of The Steve Allen Show
As the pioneer of the original Tonight Show on NBC, Allen helped invent a format, and his primetime variety show, for which he was nominated twice, showcased the likes of Elvis Presley and a young Johnny Carson.
Emmy-Worthy Role: Ida Morgenstern, Rhoda
After three semi-dramatic nominations for co-starring in McMillan & Wife, Walker landed four more nods playing Valerie Harper’s wisecracking, overbearing Jewish mother in this Mary Tyler Moore spinoff. It was the role she was born to play, but Emmy never came through.
Emmy-Worthy Role: Ralph Kramden, The Honeymooners
The Great One was nominated for five Emmys, three of which were for The Jackie Gleason Show, where he originated the character of New York’s loudest bus driver. Co-star Art Carney, who won five Emmys for the role of Ralph’s sidekick Ed Norton, soon learned to hide his trophies whenever his pal visited.