Broadcast Takes Back Seat To Cable in Emmy Picks
Downton Abbey is sole representative in drama, while comedy nominations are split with HBO
By Andrea Morabito -- Broadcasting & Cable, 7/23/2012 12:01:00 AM EDT
THE BROADCAST NETWORKS did not have a good showing
among this year’s top Emmy Awards nominations.
The sole network player in the outstanding drama
category is the U.K. import ‘Downton Abbey’, and broadcast
is sharing the comedy series bids with three HBO shows.
Broadcast shut out cable last year in the comedy category.
HBO again led the pack with 81 nominations, though that was well below the 104 nods the network received last year. Its next closest competitor, CBS, saw 60 nominations, up from the 50 it received in 2011.
PBS was the second-most nominated broadcast network with 58, up from 43 last year, and NBC has 51, up from last year’s 46. ABC saw 48 nominations, up from last year’s 40, and Fox was far behind with 26, down from last year’s 42.
After HBO, the overall and cable leader, AMC was second among cablers and improved its tally to 34 nominations, up from 29. FX was in third with 26, a big jump from last year’s six, thanks in large part to Ryan Murphy’s anthology series American Horror Story, which tied Mad Men for the most series nods with 17. Showtime received 22 noms, up from last year’s 21, while History received 17, almost exclusively for the ratings recordbreaking miniseries, Hatfields & McCoys.
AMC’s Mad Men will attempt to make history this year with a record five consecutive outstanding drama wins; its current four is tied with The West Wing, Hill Street Blues and L.A. Law. Matthew Weiner’s 1960s period drama will face stiff competition though from category newcomers Downton Abbey (which won in the miniseries category in 2011) and Homeland (this year’s Golden Globe winner), as well as fellow AMC series Breaking Bad and HBO’s duo of Boardwalk Empire and Game of Thrones.
Downton Abbey—which earned PBS its first outstanding drama series Emmy nod in 35 years—and History’s Hatfields & McCoys each garnered 16 nominations. Both series saw their actors recognized as well, with Downton’s Hugh Bonneville and Michelle Dockery and Hatfields’ Kevin Costner and Bill Paxton all receiving lead acting nods.
HBO’s nominations included 15 for movie Hemingway & Gellhorn, whose stars Clive Owen and Nicole Kidman were recognized with acting nominations, and 12 apiece for Boardwalk Empire and outstanding miniseries/ movie nominee Game Change.
Steve Buscemi was again recognized with an acting nom for Boardwalk, as were Game Change leads Julianne Moore and Woody Harrelson. Peter Dinklage, last year’s winner in the supporting actor in a drama series category, was again nominated for Game of Thrones.
Three-time lead actor in a drama winner Bryan Cranston is in the running again this year, after Breaking Bad was ineligible in 2011. Cranston will face off against perennial nominees Jon Hamm (Mad Men) and Michael C. Hall (Dexter) as well as Buscemi and newcomers Bonneville and Homeland’s Damian Lewis.
Last year’s winner, The Good Wife’s Julianna Margulies, and Homeland’s Claire Danes, who won the Golden Globe in 2012, are favorites in the lead drama actress field, though Good Wife was notably not nominated in the drama series category. Elisabeth Moss repeated for her role as copywriter Peggy Olsen in Mad Men, as did Kathy Bates for the now-cancelled Harry’s Law. Downton’s Dockery and Damages’ Glenn Close round out the field.
In a shift from last year, three broadcast comedies—The Big Bang Theory, Modern Family and 30 Rock—shared the outstanding comedy series nominations with three cable entries, the HBO series Curb Your Enthusiasm, Girls and Veep.
Big Bang, which received its second nomination, has had a banner year, surpassing Two and a Half Men as TV’s top-rated comedy. Two-time winner Jim Parsons was again nominated in the lead actor category for his role as über-geek Sheldon Cooper.
CBS’ Big Bang will face two-time winner Modern Family, still considered the favorite in the category, which received 14 nominations, the most of any comedy. Like last year, Modern Family’s entire adult cast—Julie Bowen, Sofia Vergara, Ed O’Neill, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Ty Burrell and Eric Stonestreet— received nominations.
Notably excluded from the comedy category is NBC’s Parks and Recreation, thought to have had its best season yet this year, though series star Amy Poehler was again nominated. Three of the six lead comedy actress nominees came from nominated series: Girls’ Lena Dunham, 30 Rock’s Tina Fey and Veep’s Julia Louis- Dreyfus. Along with Poehler, last year’s winner— Mike & Molly’s Melissa McCarthy—was again nominated, along with previous winner Edie Falco of Nurse Jackie and newcomer Zooey Deschanel of New Girl.
The lead actor in a comedy category also saw three picks from nominated series, with Parsons, former winner Alec Baldwin for 30 Rock and Curb’s Larry David. Louis C.K. of Louie repeated, while Two and a Half Men’s Jon Cryer, submitted this year as lead actor rather than supporting in the absence of Charlie Sheen, was also recognized. House of Lies’ Don Cheadle is the category’s newcomer.
NBC’s The Voice is the new face in the outstanding reality competition program category, replacing Fox’s American Idol, which was left off the list. The rest of the category is filled by repeat nominees: perennial winner The Amazing Race, Bravo’s Top Chef, Lifetime’s Project Runway, ABC’s Dancing With the Stars and Fox’s So You Think You Can Dance.
Many of those programs’ hosts were also nominated: Amazing Race’s Phil Keoghan, DWTS’ Tom Bergeron and SYTYCD’s Cat Deeley. Also recognized were Idol’s Ryan Seacrest and Betty White of Betty White’s Off Their Rockers. Notably excluded was Survivor’s Jeff Probst, who has won the category every year since it was added in 2008.
Nominated in the outstanding reality program category are PBS’ Antiques Roadshow, ABC’s Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, Discovery Channel’s MythBusters, ABC’s Shark Tank, CBS’ Undercover Boss and NBC’s Who Do You Think You Are?
FX’s American Horror Story, starring the nominated Connie Britton, and History’s Hatfields & McCoys would seem to be the favorites for outstanding miniseries or movie with their 17 and 16 respective total nominations. Other nominees in the category are HBO’s Game Change and Hemingway & Gellhorn, BBC America’s Luther, starring repeat nominee Idris Elba, and PBS’ Sherlock: A Scandal in Belgravia starring the nominated Benedict Cumberbatch.
In comedy/variety, The Daily Show With Jon Stewart will have the chance to extend its winning streak in the category to 10 straight years. It will face fellow Comedy Central show The Colbert Report, NBC’s Late Night With Jimmy Fallon and Saturday Night Live, ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live and HBO’s Real Time With Bill Maher.
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