7 Shows That Didn't Get the Early Emmys Nominations They Deserved

Emmy nominations sure are sweet – but sometimes, they take time

Photo: Michael Muller/NBC/Getty

What does a viewership of 17 million get you? Apparently, not an Emmy.

Though some shows get tons of recognition right out of the gate, winning big for their first and second seasons (ahem, Modern Family), others make a late showing, only first getting nominated a few (or in some cases, many) seasons into their run.

It’s these shows below, however, that are the most notable nomination holdouts of the last 20 years.

The Americans
The Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys-led cold war drama has been a critical success and fan favorite for years, though its Emmy record might not show it: The show has won one prize, outstanding guest actress in a drama series, for Margo Martindale, and has garnered nominations for theme music and writing. Neither of the leads were nominated until 2016, when the show captured its first-ever outstanding drama series nomination, as well.

Parks and Recreation
It was three seasons before Parks and Recreation earned its first outstanding comedy series nomination. But that didn’t signal a lasting change of heart from the Television Academy: the show wasn’t nominated for its fourth, fifth or sixth seasons, only to be nominated (and lose) in its seventh and final. That’s not the only Emmy injustice Parks faced: Amy Poehler was nominated for her role as Leslie Knope six times, and never won.

How I Met Your Mother
HIMYM had enough fans to keep it on the air for nine seasons, but it didn’t capture the attention of the Television Academy until its fourth. Neil Patrick Harris, however, was nominated four times for outstanding supporting actor in a comedy series.

Friday Night Lights
The Dillon Panthers’ mantra may have been “Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose,” but that didn’t help them pick up an Emmy nomination for outstanding drama series until the show’s fifth and final season, in 2011. Though it lost out on the series award, it was a big year for FNL: Kyle Chandler won the trophy for outstanding lead actor in a drama series and the show also won for outstanding writing in a drama series.

The Big Bang Theory
Holding the title of the most popular show on the air doesn’t always guarantee awards show success. Case in point? The Big Bang Theory, which went on for four (successful) seasons without being nominated for outstanding comedy series. It snagged its first nomination in 2011, and went on to be nominated for three years after that. It was not, however, nominated this year or last year.

Will & Grace
It was one of the most successful comedies of the early aughts, and throughout its eight-year run, won multiple Emmys. But Will & Grace‘s first season failed to snag an outstanding comedy series nomination. It was quite an anomaly for the show, though, which went on to be nominated for seasons two through seven.

It took ABC’s deserted island sci-fi series four seasons to snag a nomination for outstanding drama, though it had received technical and acting nominations in previous years. Lost finally got a nod in 2008, then again in 2009, but missed out on the ultimate prize both times.

The 68th Primetime Emmy Awards, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, will broadcast live this Sunday on ABC from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.

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