'Modern Family' Bosses on Sofia Vergara's Russian Tongue-Twisters and Their Snoop Dogg Envy

Eric McCandless/ABC
Jesse Tyler Ferguson (left) and Eric Stonestreet in a scene from the March 29 episode "Five Minutes."

With its eighth consecutive nomination, the ABC comedy series is still winning over Emmy voters and standing tall in a field that continually welcomes younger, shinier shows.

The Goliath in this category (to Davids like Master of None and Atlanta), ABC's multigenerational family sitcom from creators Chris Lloyd and Steve Levitan boasts 80 Emmy nominations and 22 wins during its eight-year history, including five consecutive outstanding comedy series trophies for its first five seasons. Veep interrupted that streak in 2015, but the pioneering series continues to score nominations.

The biggest misconception about Modern Family is …

CHRIS LLOYD That Ty Burrell has gone unspoiled by Hollywood. The mat you step across to go into his trailer says "You're Welcome" on it.

The most challenging scene to write this season was …

LLOYD When Gloria [Sofia Vergara] intimidates two Russians who are bothering Mitch [Jesse Tyler Ferguson] and Cam [Eric Stonestreet] by using some phrases she has overheard from a Russian nanny at the park. Gloria knows she will be taken for a powerful man's girlfriend. The difficulty didn't end with finding these phrases — "Playtime is over!" — given that the scene required Sofia to phonetically pronounce Russian, while referring to subtitles in English, a language she speaks only marginally better than Russian.

The other Emmy-nominated series that I can't get enough of is …

STEVE LEVITAN Last Week Tonight With John Oliver.

If I could switch gigs with any other nominee for a day, it would be …

LEVITAN Snoop Dogg [of Martha & Snoop's Potluck Dinner Party].

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ODDS ARE ...

There's truth to the cliche, "It's an honor just to be nominated." For Modern Family — a contender for eight consecutive years, the first five of which it won — remaining in the conversation is an award in and of itself. But reclaiming the title from Veep is the least of its obstacles. The contentious race now has pitted the sitcom against a shinier, newer broadcast sibling in ABC's Black-ish — not to mention the slew of streaming and cable upstarts whose pilot scripts were still gestating in Final Draft when Modern Family last was an Emmy force. But one advantage it has is reach. Its recent season ranked as TV's No. 2-rated comedy, trailing only The Big Bang Theory, with 8.8 million viewers. 

This story first appeared in an August stand-alone issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

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