Nielsen-hungry skeins battle for nom bump

Publicity gained from kudofest exposure can help add viewers

Though the movie business takes center spotlight at the Golden Globes, those in the television industry take the kudofest very seriously.

The Golden Globes is the first awards race of the year that specifically takes a look at the new shows that premiered a few months earlier and can offer a publicity bump for struggling programs.

And it’s not just a win that can help. Even a nomination can assist a skein find a wider audience. Last year, CBS’ “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” jumped in the Nielsens after its nom. Today, the 2-year-old show is one of the cornerstones of the Eye’s primetime lineup.

In addition to the nom for “CSI,” newcomer Jessica Alba was given a nomination as actress for “Dark Angel” as was Sarah Michelle Gellar, who, along with her “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” has been snubbed by the Emmys.

Not the usual suspects

“Every year we have one new show that breaks out,” says Jenny Cooney-Carillo, a 15-year member of the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. and a member of the org’s TV committee. “It’s safe to say there are some new shows that will be featured in this year’s nominations.”

Cooney-Carillo says the HFPA doesn’t specifically target new shows. However, “How many times can you thank or congratulate the same person or same show?” she wonders.

Cooney-Carillo didn’t want to mention any particular programs that might have caught of the eye of the HFPA but among the most well-reviewed shows of the fall are Fox’s “24,” CBS’ “The Guardian,” the WB’s “Smallville,” ABC’s “Alias” and NBC’s “Scrubs.”

The execs behind any of these shows would gladly share the spotlight with the film community come Jan. 12.

“The Golden Globes are very important to us,” says Michael Pressman, exec producer of “The Guardian.” “It would really increase our profile. The Globes have a lot of effect on the success and following of new shows.”

David Nevins, exec VP of programming at Fox, is quick to give credit to the HFPA for breathing new life into programs that might have a hard time finding an audience.

Noms attract viewers

“The Globes can have a big impact,” Nevins says. “It’s a tough environment out there and you’re looking for visibility. … The Globes tend to be more open toward newer shows. They tend to be more adventurous with their picks. There’s a certain traditionalism that goes on with the Emmys and it’s hard for new shows to break through.”

Joe Cacaci, co-exec producer for “The Education of Max Bickford,” would especially love to see his show, or lead Richard Dreyfuss, get noticed by the HFPA. After starting out well in the ratings, “Bickford” has had a hard time competing in a competitive Sunday night time period.

“Awards can do that for you,” Cacaci says about garnering extra publicity and, in turn, bringing in more viewers. “It wakes people up and they say, ‘Hey, what have I been missing? We should see that.’ ”

In order to qualify for a best drama or comedy series, there must be at least seven episodes that have aired in primetime. With the fall schedule starting later than normal due to the Sept. 11 attacks, there was some concern that some shows, particularly “24,” might not make the cut and get all seven episodes on the air but, according to Cooney-Carillo, the Fox drama will make it under the wire.

“It seems pretty safe that the shows we think of as contenders will all be eligible,” she says.

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