‘Glee’ Emmy nods point to changing TV world
LOS ANGELES (AP) – TV comedies aren’t what they used to be, and viewers and the industry are signaling that’s just fine with them.
Of the six Emmy nominees for best comedy series announced Thursday, none is a traditional three-camera, laugh track- augmented production. And one, Fox’s “Glee,” is a freshman hit that takes off in completely new directions.
As broadcast networks fight to stem the loss of viewers to cable TV, the Internet and other distractions, they’ve found that stretching hidebound genres makes room for fresh ideas and – surprise! – sparks viewer interest.
“Glee,” which melds pop songs, high school hijinks and heartfelt drama into a rousing hour, emerged as the most-nominated series with 19 bids, including best comedy series and seven acting nods for its cast and guest stars.
Another new show that’s made a splash with the audience, ABC’s “Modern Family,” strolled away with 14 nominations. The sweetly skewed take on life and relationships today earned a best comedy nod and an impressive six acting bids.
Neither show shies away from delicate topics, whether an older man with a hot young wife and gay parenting in “Modern Family” or a gay teenager’s difficult path to acceptance in “Glee.”
“I would say it’s the most inclusive Emmy year ever,” said Ryan Murphy, “Glee” creator and executive producer. “Ten years ago, none of these shows would have been nominated, none of those actors would have been nominated. … I think it shows the academy is perhaps a little more open and liberal and embracing of different values.”
“But the world is changing, and they got on board,” he said.
Other nominees for best comedy series include “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “Nurse Jackie,” “The Office” and last year’s winner, “30 Rock.”
“Two and a Half Men,” a classic sitcom, failed to make the best comedy cut or earn a nod for its star, Charlie Sheen, although co-star Jon Cryer earned a supporting actor bid. While Sheen’s legal woes may have played a part – he’s been charged in a domestic dispute case – the TV academy’s interest was clearly elsewhere.
(Other snubs of note: Jay Leno’s “Tonight” was overlooked in the variety series category, while Conan O’Brien’s short-lived version of the late-night show earned a nod. David Letterman’s show failed to make the cut after a season in which he confessed to workplace affairs and a blackmail attempt.)
Drama series are also richly varied, and the academy opened its arms for the final season of “Lost” and, uncharacteristically, for a fantasy series, the vampire saga “True Blood.”
Other drama nominees are last year’s winner, “Mad Men,” “Breaking Bad,” “Dexter” and newcomer “The Good Wife.”
“It really feels awesome there are so many good shows on television right now, and Damon and I feel that we’re in a sort of renaissance period for TV drama,” said Carlton Cuse, who shares executive producer duties on “Lost” with Damon Lindelof.
Overall, the top nominee for the 62nd Primetime Emmy Awards was the unsparing World War II drama, “The Pacific,” with 24 bids. But the miniseries, produced by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks as a companion to their acclaimed “Band of Brothers,” failed to produce the same audience buzz as its European theater of war predecessor.
The most nominated reality series were “Dancing With the Stars” with nine bids, “The Amazing Race” with seven and “American Idol” with six.
“Saturday Night Live” received 12 nominations for a total 126 nods during its run, surpassing the “ER” all-time record of 124. One of the nominations went to Betty White, who at 88 proved you’re never too old for comedy when she hosted the show to big ratings and applause.
White’s competitors include Tina Fey, the former “Saturday Night Live” writer and star who took a break from her “30 Rock,” the second-most nominated comedy with 15 bids, to return as an “SNL” host.
White also contributed to yet another nomination, the Snickers candy bar Super Bowl spot that received a nod for best commercial.
HBO received the most nominations overall, 101, followed by ABC with 63 and CBS with 57. NBC earned 48, Fox received 47 and PBS had 32. Showtime had 23 nods.
The Emmy Awards will air Aug. 29 on NBC, with Jimmy Fallon hosting. The ceremony, which usually airs in September, was moved up to avoid a conflict with NBC’s Sunday NFL broadcasts.