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HBO reigns despite new challengers

Longtime Globes champ renews dominance

For a network that some have said has been in decline, particularly when compared with the rising profile of its cable rivals, HBO will walk tall into the 66th annual Golden Globes on Jan. 11. Not only did the pay net grab 22 TV noms — more than a third of the Globes total — it had nearly three times as many as its closest competitor, Showtime (eight).

The remaining cable outlets combined for nine noms. Golden child “Mad Men” did earn three for AMC, but that channel’s other ballyhooed project, “Breaking Bad,” was shut out by the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn.’s voters — as was the entire slate of FX. USA had two noms (thesps Tony Shalhoub and Debra Messing), while TNT’s only pick was for Kyra Sedgwick in “The Closer” (2007 nominee Holly Hunter of “Saving Grace” having fallen out of favor). Lifetime snuck in with a Shirley MacLaine tap for the telepic “Coco Chanel.”

As is typical, HBO made hay in the movie and miniseries space, with “Recount,” “John Adams” and “Bernard and Doris” combining for 12 noms. Long-running comedy “Entourage” added three more, but in an encouraging sign for the network’s future, HBO can boast the only two 2008 premieres to earn series nominations: “In Treatment” (which also had four members of its cast honored) and “True Blood.”

Three Showtime series each scored a pair of nominations: “Californication,” “Dexter” and “Weeds.”

The four major broadcast networks, reeling from the roughest fall season in memory, combined for 15 nominations, NBC leading the way with six (all but one for “30 Rock” or “The Office”). Primetime’s top-rated network, CBS, ended up with just one nom, for Neil Patrick Harris of “How I Met Your Mother” in the grab-bag category of supporting actor in a series, miniseries or televised motion picture. PBS picked up three noms, all for miniseries “Cranford.”

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