Nominees happy to lose special feeling

Breaking up may be hard to do, but for the nominated variety, music and comedy program directors, it’s all for the best that Emmy has split them up from the specials that for years dominated this race.

Voters might consider using the split to reward veterans like Bruce Gowers, whose career stretches back to the 1970s and who may never have a better chance to win than this, his fifth nomination for helming Fox’s “American Idol” juggernaut.

Also seeking first-time wins are Jerry Foley, who has received at least a share of a nom 17 times for CBS’ “Late Show With David Letterman,” and Don Roy King of “Saturday Night Live.” An NBC staple, “SNL” has never won a best directing Emmy in its long run as a series, something that could play in King’s favor.

Both Jim Hoskinson of “The Colbert Report” and Chuck O’Neil of “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart” have previous noms for the hip Comedy Central programs. O’Neil has been nommed every year since 2004, Hoskinson since 2006.

The category also has opened itself to new blood: Hal Grant for “Real Time With Bill Maher.” A win here would be the first of any kind for the HBO talkshow.

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