‘Night Court’: Why One Star Requested The Emmy’s Stop Nominating Him for Awards

by Craig Garrett

Night Court is a cornerstone of classic TV that was beloved in its time, but one break-out star asked to not be considered for the Emmys. Multi-camera sitcoms ruled the television landscape in the 1980s and 1990s when they were a popular style. Most comedies in the 2020s are in the mold of The Office. They’re single camera, often snarky, and tongue in cheek. The ’80s and ’90’s sitcoms were either recorded before a live studio audience or had a laugh track added in post-production, which encourages the viewer at home to chuckle. The laugh definitely fell out of fashion. Still, Night Court utilized the technique to maximum effect.

Reinhold Weege created Night Court, which delivered on its name. It was a look at the odd activities that took place on a Manhattan court’s night shift. The trials were presided over by Judge Harry Stone (Harry Anderson). He was joined by a lively group of court employees and attorneys from both sides of cases. Dan Fielding (portrayed by John Larroquette) served as the lead prosecutor. Fielding’s biggest trait was being a womanizer and open flirt. By today’s standards, he would likely see himself in court for his behavior.

Still, Fielding was never characterized as a completely bad guy. He developed as a character over the course of Night Court‘s nine-season run. Whatever the case, Fielding was always fascinating to observe in action. Larroquette emerged as a breakout star in an excellent ensemble.

Larroquette made a rare choice after his Night Court Success

It seemed Emmy Award voters agreed with fans of the show. From 1985 to 1988, Larroquette won Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series every year. That run prompted Larroquette to take an uncommon step. He requested that his name be removed from future voting.

Larroquette isn’t the first or last person to ask for their Emmy withdrawal after winning it several times. Candice Bergen, the star of Murphy Brown, did the same after winning five Emmys for Best Lead Actress in a Comedy Series during 1989-1995. After seven wins in twelve years as Best Talk Show Host, Oprah Winfrey gave up Daytime Emmy consideration. While Night Court fans may have wanted Larroquette to nab a few more awards, he allowed another performer to get the spotlight.

However, Larroquette didn’t withdraw himself from Emmy Awards consideration permanently. He dropped out of the running for his work on Night Court specifically. In 1998, Laroquette won the Emmy for Best Guest Actor in a Drama Series for his performance in The Practice. The veteran actor also received a nomination for the same award in 2002. He was also recognized for his performance in the TV series John Larroquette Show, which aired on CBS from 1993 to 1996. He was nominated for Best Leading Actor in a Comedy Series for that program. Of course, Dan Fielding is set to return on the upcoming Night Court sequel. Perhaps Larroquette may receive another Emmy for reprising his role on the NBC program.