After a rough TV awards season last year, broadcast suits are hoping to turn around their fortunes at the Golden Globes.
At this point, even a single nomination for the broadcast majors in the drama category would be an encouraging sign. Broadcast networks didn’t get any Golden Globes drama noms last year; ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox were also shut out in the best drama category at the Emmys, with zero entries for the first time in the history of those awards. While actresses fared better in the drama categories, the men of broadcast were shut out of lead actor for both the Golden Globes and the Emmys.
Broadcast TV’s dominance in comedy was also threatened last year. At the Golden Globes, Laura Dern’s role on HBO’s “Enlightened” beat out Tina Fey (NBC’s “30 Rock”), Amy Poehler (Peacock’s “Parks and Recreation”) and Zooey Deschanel (“New Girl,” Fox) for the Golden Globe as lead actress in a comedy or musical.
The saving grace for broadcast: ABC’s “Modern Family” edged out cable competitors to win the sole broadcast Golden Globe trophy last year and repeated the win at the Emmys.
And competition from cable shows remains fierce. It won’t be easy for broadcast awards contenders to regain ground lost to even basic cable in the past few years.
“This year broadcast might double the number of nominees, but I’m not sure they will get more wins,” longtime critic David Bianculli predicts of the Golden Globes and Emmys. “Cable has had a superlative year.”
On the comedy front, “Modern Family” may still dominate this season, and perhaps “New Girl” or the final season of “30 Rock” could come on strong this awards season. Fey, who is hosting the Globes with Poehler, has a good shot for trophies as her much-feted comedy series rounds out its final season.
Voters might feel a little kindly toward Liz Lemon and cohorts as the show completes its seventh season, which has been marked by a new critical appreciation.
In the drama category, critics’ darling Connie Britton, who was nominated for a 2012 Emmy for her work in “American Horror Story,” has been turning in notable performances as the lead in ABC’s “Nashville,” and could get recognition from voters.
“I think Connie is a shoo-in for a nomination,” says Philadelphia Daily News TV Critic Ellen Gray of Britton’s chance of a Golden Globe and Emmy nod. “And I’ve been more impressed by (‘Nashville’ co-star) Hayden Panettiere than I expected to be.”
But it may be award favorite “The Good Wife” and a particularly compelling season of “Parenthood” breaking away with a few drama nods this season.
” ‘The Good Wife’ is a spectacular show that stacks up well against almost anything on cable. It is as well written as it performed and always has a great guest cast,” says Bianculli, NPR “Fresh Air” TV critic and Rowan U. professor. “And ‘Parenthood’ has been doing some good work this season that could catch the voters’ eye.”
Cable operates under a separate set of rules that some say gives it an almost unbeatable edge. There’s more flashing of the flesh, and seasons are often shorter and operate under a narrower focus.
“From ‘Seinfeld’ to ‘House,’ broadcast has proven you can do extraordinary work and still hit a broad audience,” Fox chairman of Entertainment Kevin Reilly says. “But cable shows can be precise and commercially narrow, and quite often that is what gets rewarded with a trophy.”
That cable glow may be hard to overcome even with a good season of shows and performances from the major networks.
“If I have any sour grapes, it’s the fact that John Noble (‘Fringe’) has not gotten the recognition he deserves for work that is equal to anything you’ll find on cable,” says Reilly. “If he was on cable, I think he would have a trophy by now. It just gets so frustrating because he’s so good at what he does.”
But Reilly and his major network cohorts haven’t given up awards glory at the Globes and elsewhere.
“When you do bold work, you can absolutely earn it back,” Reilly says.
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