Small shows get big boost from kudos attention
A correction was made to this article on Jan. 16, 2006.
Shiny gold statues look lovely on a mantel, but the real value is in the glow they bring to a winner’s bottom line.
The Golden Globes, coming in the middle of the TV season are in a unique position to give nommed shows a boost.
“The smaller a show is the more important something like this can be, and when we were nominated we suddenly had a lot of heat on the show and I got all kinds of meetings that were impossible to get before that,” says Doug Ellin, creator and exec producer of HBO’s “Entourage,” which last year had doors open because of its mention in the TV comedy-musical series race. “It gave us a kind of cachet around HBO, where you have all these other huge, famous shows. And I think that gave us the confidence to do things like ask U2 to appear in one of our episodes.”
“Entourage” was not the first such show to enjoy that Golden boost. Cabler FX’s cop skein “The Shield” made a splash at the ceremony in 2003 with a pair of Globe wins, drama series and actor (Michael Chiklis).
“Most television watchers don’t scour the newspapers to see what critics think are the best shows,” says Shawn Ryan, creator and exec producer of “The Shield.” “We had a lot of critical acclaim but that doesn’t necessarily help an audience find. But if you’re winning awards in between Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep accepting their own awards, people tend to notice you.”
The Globe wins had a special significance for “The Shield.” “We were a unique case because we were sort of the first big show on a new network,” says Ryan. “The nominations and the wins helped bring a kind of legitimacy to our show and to the network and we had our highest-rated shows ever after those wins.”
Even for ABC’s “Boston Legal,” which is on a major net and grew out of a previous hit show, Globes kudos are a boost. While “Legal” was spawned by “The Practice,” producers say the Globes recognition — a supporting actor win last year for William Shatner — helped establish the show as important on its own.
“When you get that kind of acclaim, then you’re more than something that started some where else,” says exec producer Bill D’Elia. “It says the work you’re doing there is considered worthwhile.”
There’s also the obvious benefit of lots of press. “The weeks and months leading up to the show you’re constantly in the media, so there’s definitely a lot of buzz that comes from that and it can only help a show because the television audience is just more aware of you at that point,” says D’Elia.
Neal Baer, exec producer of “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” saw the same benefit. “Mariska Hargitay won for best actress in a television series for our show in our sixth year of production,” he says. “So we’d been out there working hard for a long time and when the attention from an award like that gets behind you the whole show benefits because you feel like people are watching what you’re doing and enjoying it.”
Baer is quick to point out that the Globes are a show where the television and film communities mix. “That’s the thing that’s special about that night. It takes down a lot of barriers because you’re able to talk to everyone and I think it also reflects what’s happening in entertainment now because it’s not uncommon for actors known for their film work to do television these days.”