'Desperate' takes on freshmen
Golden Globes voters like their TV shows new — and a little “Desperate.”ABC’s soph sensation “Desperate Housewives” cleaned up in this year’s Golden Globes TV noms, beating all other programs with five nods — including recognition for all four leading ladies (including Eva Longoria, who was snubbed last year). Beyond the “Housewives” — which returns as an incumbent, having won last year — the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. lived up to its usual reputation of being arbiters for all things frosh. Of all five drama and six comedy series nominees, just one — HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm” has been on longer than two seasons. Even more telling, the majority of drama nods — and half of the comedy nods — are for freshman skeins that are only a few months old. And new faces bumped out the old in several series acting categories. The affinity for the fresh was a big boost for ABC, as several of its young skeins scored several nominations — bringing the Alphabet web, with 17 noms, within striking distance of network leader HBO (with 18 notices). All but one of ABC’s noms came from sister studio Touchstone TV, which easily led the studio count. HBO led the overall network tally thanks to its usual big haul in the longform categories, as “Empire Falls” landed four nominations and “Warm Springs” scored three. But it was no slouch in the series categories either, where newcomer “Rome” and vet “Curb” each landed a pair. ABC’s strength came in the series arena, with “Commander in Chief,” “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Lost” all pulling out three nods, in addition to the hefty “Housewives” count. As a result, this year’s Globes looks to be a two-network race, as the network with the third-highest nom tally, NBC, only picked up five. ABC Entertainment president Steve McPherson called the noms “an affirmation of the work” done by ABC, Touchstone and the shows’ producers. In just two years, the Alphabet has gone from also-ran to near-parity with HBO in the kudos race, a fact which McPherson still seems reluctant to trumpet. “I don’t think you can declare yourself ‘the quality network,'” he said, responding to a question about the label NBC once loudly heralded. “You have to prove who you are first and then let people respond.” Among the dramas, nominations were especially a boost in the arm for “Commander,” which went through a highly publicized showrunner switch and slight change in direction, and “Prison Break,” which goes off the air for several months this winter and can now relaunch with help from the Globe recognition. “Lost” is the only returnee from last year’s Globes nominee list (“24,” “Deadwood” and “Nip/Tuck” didn’t make the cut, while “The Sopranos” wasn’t eligible). The drama actor and actress categories are wide open, with none of last year’s nominees making a return visit. The HFPA acknowledged this year’s mini-comeback for quality comedies by nominating a pair of frosh network laffers: NBC’s “My Name is Earl” and UPN’s “Everybody Hates Chris.” “Earl” also snagged a comedy actor nom for star Jason Lee. Another newcomer in the comedy race: Showtime’s “Weeds,” which followed picked up three noms, including ones for star Mary-Louise Parker and Elizabeth Perkins. “Housewives” and “Curb” return as well. While “Earl” is a legit success, “Chris” can use the Globes spotlight, since its ratings have been underwhelming on Thursdays. And, combined with the Emmy success of “Huff,” the noms for “Weeds” lets Showtime’s new regime point to two critical successes in a year. NBC, meanwhile, will no doubt use the nom for “Earl” to hype the show’s move to Thursdays next month. Another critically hailed comedy newcomer getting some Globes love: “The Office,” which got notice via a nom for its star, Steve Carell. And while NBC has kept “Scrubs” in cold storage for most of the year, star Zach Braff still was nominated in the comedy actor category. The comedy actor race also includes Jeremy Piven, whose agent-on-the-verge-of-a-nervous-breakdown storyline on the past season of “Entourage” seemed to have guaranteed a nom. Entering “DH” in the comedy competition paid off last year with a Globes win, but new competition for hot newcomers such as “Earl” and “Chris” could make for a tighter race this year. Also intriguing: All six skeins vying for best comedy are single-camera productions shot on film. Traditional four-camera laffers, including commercial and critical hits such as “How I Met Your Mother” and “Two and a Half Men,” were shut out from the race. Even the nominated comedy thesps are all from single-camera shows, save for “Men” star Charlie Sheen. Globes voters also apparently lost track of former fave “Arrested Development,” which failed to get a nom this year. This year’s longform nominations also exhibited some disconnect between thesps honored and programs nominated. Best miniseries or TV movie nominees “Into the West,” “Sleeper Cell” and “Viva Blackpool” failed to deliver any acting noms, while projects such as “The Girl in the Cafe,” “Elvis” and “Human Trafficking” did well in the acting categories — but not the top prize. That was particularly the case with CBS’ “Elvis,” which didn’t earning a mini/movie nomination, but hit it big in the acting department, with mentions for stars Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, Randy Quaid and Camryn Manheim. Donald Sutherland earned a rare double nomination, earning one for best longform actor (“Human Trafficking”) and supporting actor (“Commander In Chief”). Felicity Huffman is also a double nominee; she snagged a mention for her feature work in “Transamerica”).