Late start to season disrupts buzz, Globe darlings could pop up

“The Emmys may have more class” than the Golden Globes, notes Entertainment Weekly critic Ken Tucker, “but the Globes are often more hip.”

Since it’s the job of the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. journos who decide the Globes to be on the look out for hot new shows and thesps, they’ve often helped nurture budding stars such as “The X-Files’” Gillian Anderson, and skeins including “NYPD Blue” and “Ally McBeal” before Emmy voters paid interest in years past.

So what about this year? What newbies might get recognized?

“It’s a tough call,” says TV Guide critic Matt Roush. “The season got started late because of the Olympics and it was often interrupted by the presidential election. It’s been hard for new shows to generate buzz. And the Globes, as we know, care a lot about buzz.”

Bette Midler is the one sure bet, according to most critics.

“She’s a longtime favorite of the Globes,” notes Robert Bianco of USA Today. (Midler first won voters over in 1979 when she claimed statuettes for best actress in “The Rose” and best new star. Midler did a Marilyn Monroe-style shoulder shimmy at the podium and purred at the audience, “I’ll show ya a pair of Golden Globes!”)

Bianco isn’t convinced though that “Bette” will get a bid for best comedy.

“It doesn’t deserve it,” he says, emphatically. “Midler herself manages to transcend the material.

“(But) that’s not true of Geena Davis,” who is badly cast in a bad show, but “still might get nominated because she’s Geena Davis.”

TV Guide’s Roush agrees.

“The Globes tend to be a star-struck group and Davis is the kind of big star that the Globes fawn over. They may want her to show up at the ceremony just to see what she’ll wear.

“The big trend this year was big stars coming to TV,” Roush adds, “but most of them bombed: Michael Richards (“The Michael Richards Show”), John Goodman (“Normal, Ohio”), Gabriel Byrne (“Madigan Men”), Delta Burke (“DAG”) and Christine Baranski (“Welcome to New York”). I can’t imagine any of them getting Globe nominations.”

EW’s Tucker says that Craig T. Nelson might get nominated since “The District” is perceived as a surprise success.

All three critics agree that Andre Braugher (“Gideon’s Crossing”) will make the cut.

“He’s a name and a strong performer,” Bianco adds.

The trio also back “Dark Angel’s” Jessica Alba.

“She’s sexy, she’s hot and she’s on magazine covers,” Roush notes. “They’d be crazy not to recognize her.”

Tucker notes that the Globes have been very sci-fi-friendly in the past, with lots of kudos for “X-Files.”

Bianco says that “Gilmore Girls” is the nicest surprise of the fall season and hopes that Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel get hailed. “The fact that it won a Viewers for Quality Television Award should help its chances.”

He and his peers are also rooting for “Ed.”

“It’s the critics’ darling,” acknowledges Roush, who calls star Tom Cavanaugh one of the most exciting new faces.

Producer-writer David E. Kelley has done well at past Globes and should get noted for his latest skein, “Boston Public,” which Tucker calls “a pretty strong show.”

The success of “C.S.I.” “clearly surprised everybody this season,” Roush says. He adds that stars Marg Helgenberger, an Emmy winner for “China Beach,” and William L. Petersen could end up with Globe nods.

Series that debuted in early 2000 will be entering the Globe bout for the first time.

“‘Malcolm in the Middle’ should get attention, particularly for stars Jane Kaczmarek and Frankie Muniz,” Roush says. “And I think Stacy Keach could get a nom for ‘Titus.’ The show is funny in a way that makes your hair turn gray.”

Stars who came to the rescue of existing shows could strike gold, too.

“Maura Tierney has really helped to resuscitate ‘ER,’” says Roush.

And Tucker says Robert Downey Jr. is partially responsible for a turnaround on “Ally McBeal.”

Whether Downey’s recent brush with the law — again — will have an affect on the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. remains to be seen.

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