Noms go to new level

Globe voters take bent for frosh series to the extreme

Everything Globes is new again, at least in the TV categories.

While the Emmy Awards tend to reward the same thesps and series year after year, Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. members are known for throwing their weight behind freshman sensations.

That’s never been more evident than this year. Of all five drama and six comedy series nominees, just one — HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm” — has been on longer than two seasons.

What’s more, the majority of drama nominees and half of the comedy nods are for new shows only a few months old.

That’s a boon for new series still looking to broaden their audiences, like the critical darling “Everybody Hates Chris.” But the trend also shuts out established skeins coming off stellar years, such as “Deadwood.”

“The Globes can be really random,” says TV Guide’s Matt Roush. “You never really know if they’re responding to quality or to a party. But one thing I tend to like about them is they acknowledge fresh material pretty regularly. It’s kind of a fun list because so many new faces and shows are in contention this year.”

On the drama side, that includes new entries “Commander in Chief,” “Prison Break” and “Rome” as well as returnees “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Lost.”

As for laffers, frosh sitcoms “Everybody Hates Chris,” “My Name Is Earl” and “Weeds” join youngsters “Desperate Housewives” and “Entourage” plus “Curb.”

Also, new faces — think Wentworth Miller, Jason Lee, Sandra Oh, Polly Walker and Matthew Fox — bumped out the old in several acting categories.

“They are so open about being innovative,” says UPN Entertainment prexy Dawn Ostroff, whose network just landed its first-ever Globe nomination. “I think it’s refreshing. They’re recognizing that quality doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the most expensive show or the one that gets the most people to watch it.”

Part of the reason is simple: The timing of the Globes works in the favor of new shows. As HFPA members tally their nominations, industry buzz (along with marketing muscle) is still mostly centered on new entries.

There’s also presumably a slight thrill for Globe voters in being the first to reward new series.

First crack

Where the TV Academy doesn’t get a shot at recognizing frosh skeins until a year after their debut, the Globes get first crack at crowning the new kings and queens of primetime.

“Because they come halfway through the season, they feel it’s their job to pay attention,” says author Tom O’Neil.

Globes voters are also more swayed by critical acclaim than the Emmys. TV Academy voters — who also work in the industry — tend to stick with the tired likes of “Six Feet Under.”

O’Neil notes that HFPA journos are charged with tracking what’s new and hot in Hollywood, so it’s no surprise they’d pick a “My Name Is Earl” over a “Will & Grace.” “They’re keenly tuned in to what’s new,” he says.

Of course, some producers and critics take issue with that. “Two and a Half Men” exec producer Chuck Lorre wasn’t pleased to discover his show hadn’t landed a nom — but that other, less-known entries had.

Lorre, who pens a witty screed in his production company vanity card at the end of “Men” each week, used a recent one to admit he was “really upset to learn that our show isn’t even as funny as ‘Weeds.’ Are you sure?”

Lorre took a jab at the common contention that HFPA voters can be bought by the studio swag that ends up on their doorsteps. “Maybe next year you can tell the publicists what you’d like before they go shopping for the cute little gifts that always seem to end up on eBay,” he quipped.

Good for the new

Of course, Lorre hasn’t set “Two and a Half Men” up brilliantly for future Globe noms, but Roush similarly questions some of the nominations, which he contends sacrifice the good for the new.

“The fact that ‘Deadwood’ is not on the list is ridiculous, while ‘Commander in Chief’ and ‘Prison Break’ are,” he says. “And (only one) from FX was nominated this year. They must not have thrown as good of parties this year.

“But that’s the Globes,” he adds. “You expect some head-scratchers. This is the group that gave ‘Party of Five,’ ‘Nip/Tuck’ and ‘The X-Files’ awards for best show. They’re not the best shows, but they’re cool choices.”

Although they’d be loath to admit it, the TV Academy may have even been affected by the increased visibility of the Globes.

“Very frequently the Globes pave the way for future Emmy winners by telling the industry that this is a hot star deserving of an award,” O’Neil says. “Then they (the stars) have to go into the industry arena to actually earn an Emmy.”

Stepchildren

Emmy voters even one-upped the Globes in 2004 by awarding the best comedy trophy to critical darling “Arrested Development,” a show the usually forward-thinking HFPA hadn’t gotten around to honoring.

Lorre aside, no one appears to get too worked up over the HFPA’s TV noms. Perhaps — beyond the usual questions surrounding the secretive organization — that’s because TV takes a back seat to film at the Golden Globes.

“The TV categories are definitely the stepchild to what happens with the movie categories,” Roush says. “There are no writing nominations, no technical awards, just the actors and the shows themselves. For TV, being invited to the party is enough.”

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