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Can 'Family Guy' really be nominated for best comedy series at the Emmys? Well ...

June 30, 2008 |  9:33 pm

All three of our spies not only report that "Family Guy" got raves from Emmy judges during screenings this weekend, but they — oh, shockeroo! — predict it'll be nominated for best comedy series.

Yep, all three. That's unanimous. How can they possibly be wrong?

Answer: By forgetting the history of showbiz awards and glossing over how Emmy voting works.

Animation seldom gets serious respect at these kudos. That's why the Oscars and Emmys had to create separate categories for that fare. Only once has a cartoon flick been nominated for best picture at the Oscars (READ MORE — or see blog post below about "Wall-E"). Flintstones_family_guy And the equivalent has only occurred at the Emmys once in the past — back when "The Flintstones" scored a shocking bid for best comedy series in 1961. The L.A. Times got so excited that TV critic Cecil Smith predicted it would win, but, alas, "The Jack Benny Show" got the last laugh.

Not too long ago "The Simpsons" tried what "Family Guy" is attempting. After sweeping the animation race in the early 1990s, "The Simpsons" moved over to compete in the comedy category, but got shut out in 1993 and 1994. Then frustrated producers gave up in 1995 and moved back to animation.

Considering all of the media hoopla surrounding "The Simpsons" Emmy switcheroo back then, it's a good guess that, if a Top 10 semifinal runoff existed, the rascally cartoon probably would've made it. But, alas, it didn't get nominated among the final five. Why does anyone now believe that "Family Guy" can do what the mighty "Simpsons" — the longest-running cartoon in primetime TV history — couldn't?

Let's walk through the voting scenario. In order for "Family Guy" to be nominated, it needs to land in the top five after accountants combine tallies of the original popular vote with results of the judges' scoring.

Considering the general low regard of animation at showbiz awards, it's logical to assume that "Family Guy" probably ranked eighth, ninth or 10th in the popular vote. In order to be nominated, it needs to land in the top three of judges' scores. None of three judges we polled this weekend gave it their highest score (10 points). Our secret judge No. 1 ranked it eighth. Secret judge No. 2 ranked it third. Secret judge No. 3 ranked it fourth.

In other words, just because the "Padre de Famila" episode of "Family Guy" got one of the most enthusiastic responses from Emmy judges doesn't mean that the vast majority of those judges ranked it high on their ballots.

You do the math. Now re-do your Emmy predix.

(Photos: ABC/Fox)