'30 Rock' Leads With 22 Emmy Nominations
Fox's animated series "Family Guy" made Primetime Emmy history today, becoming the first animated show in 40 years to get nominated for best comedy series.
When the awards were announced at the crack of dawn in North Hollywood, Tina Fey's "30 Rock" clocked a leading 22 nominations - five more than the NBC sitcom had racked up last year.
The only other cartoon in Emmy history to compete for best comedy was "The Flintstones," which was nominated in 1961, although back then the category was called "Oustanding Program Achievement in the Field of Humor." "The Simpsons" tried twice but failed, threw in the towel, and returned to competing for best animated series.
"30 Rock" joins "Family Guy" in the best comedy derby, which has been thrown wide open this year with four newcomers: "Family Guy," CBS's "How I Met Your Mother," HBO's "Flight of the Conchords," and Showtime's "Weeds" - marking that network's first foray into this category. HBO's "Entourage" rounds out the race.
The best-drama race made room for one newcomer: AMC's "Breaking Bad." Cable virtually swept the category this year - a big blow for broadcast networks whose schedules are packed with dramas. Just last year, basic cable broke into this race for the first time and AMC's "Mad Men" took the honor. This year, "Mad Men" is returning, joined by "Breaking Bad," and FX's "Damages" as well as HBO's "Big Love" and Showtime's "Dexter." Broadcast is represented only by ABC's "Lost" and Fox's "House."
The TV Academy was uncharacteristically non-sentimental this year, snubbing the swan-song seasons of such shows as "ER," "The Shield," Boston Legal" and "Battlestar Gallactica."
But they stood firm in re their No Fangs position, declining to nominate HBO's "True Blood" -- considered a shoo-in by Emmy navel gazers - for best drama series, or to tap star Anna Paquin as a contender for best lead drama actress.
The Paquin-less list in that category includes last year's winner Glenn Close (FX's "Damages"), Sally Field (ABC's "Brothers & Sisters"), Mariska Hargitay (NBC's "Law & Order: SVU"), Holly Hunter (TNT's "Saving Grace"), Elisabeth Moss (AMC's "Mad Men"), and Kyra Sedgwick (USA's "The Closer").
This year's Big Emmy Snubs also included "Ugly Betty" star America Ferrera. She got pushed aside to make room for Toni Collette, who plays multiple personalities in Showtime's "United States of Tara." Also nommed in the category are Christina Applegate of ABC's defunct "Samantha Who?", Fey, Julia Louis-Dreyfus of CBS's "New Adventures of Old Christine," Showtimes's "Weeds" lead Mary-Louise Parker, and a surprise nom for Sarah Silverman, star of "The Sarah Silverman Program" on Comedy Central. That's acting?
Joining Ferrera in the Snub Club: CBS's "Two and a Half Men" - not nominated for best comedy. And the triumphant return to television of Fox's "24" and star Kiefer Sutherland, after sitting out a season owing to the writers strike, went unnoticed by academy voters.
Sutherland is, however, nominated for best actor in a TV movie--the two-hour "24: Redemption," the Fox show intended to tide over fans until the strike delay ended.
And if, on Emmy night, Sutherland actually beats out fellow nominees Ian McKellan (PBS's "King Lear"), Kevin Kline (PBS's "Cyrano de Bergerac"), Brendan Gleeson, who played Winston Churchill in HBO's "Into the Storm," Kevin Bacon (HBO's "Taking Chances" ), and Kenneth Branagh (PBS's "Wallander: One Step Behind"), the scream that will tear through the night will be me.
"24: Redemption" itself, however, did not get nommed by the academy for best television movie. In fact, broadcast failed to regain a presence in this category when its other best hope, CBS's WWII flick "The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler," also got passed over.
This year's best movie crop includes Lifetime's "Coco Chanel," in which Shirley McLaine uses a flat mid-Atlantic accent to play the French fashion great because, she told TV critics, she doesn't do accents. Lifetime also landed "Prayers for Bobby" in this race - and it's all HBO from there: "Into the Storm," "Taking Chance," and "Grey Gardens" - a fact-based drama about two of Jackie Kennedy Onassis's eccentric relatives, played by Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lange.
PBS's "Little Dorrit" and HBO's "Generation Kill" are the only two miniseries nominated for best of that genre this year, because, the academy explained, they got so few submissions and never nominate more than a third of the submitted projects.
"Grey Gardens," which clocked a total of 17 nominations, and "Into the Storm" with 14, went a long way towards catapulting HBO to its usual top spot among networks. HBO had 99 nominations, and was trailed -- not too closely -- by NBC's 67. ABC logged 55 noms, CBS - the country's most watched network - just 49, Fox 42, Showtime 29 and PBS 26.
Also dissed in the lead drama actor category: James Spader's last gasp as "Boston Legal" lead.
Kathy Griffin's "My Life on the D-List" will have no competition; the academy snubbed "Jon & Kate + 8" which this season reached its creative zenith, in the best reality-series race.
Maybe the biggest snub of all: Jay Leno's "Tonight Show" got completely shut out of Emmy noms this year - though the academy did toss car buff Leno a bone: "Jay Leno's Garage," an online series on nbc.com, is nominated for best short-form nonfiction program.
On the bright side, this year's Emmy crop is thick with newcomers. Silverman is this year's top surprise, but the list also includes "The Mentalist" lead Simon Baker's first bid for best drama actor. And "Big Bang Theory" star Jim Parson snared his first nom for best comedy actor; ditto Jemaine Clement of HBO's "Flight of the Conchords."
Clement and Parsons will duke it out with perennial winner Alec Baldwin (NBC's "30 Rock" ), Charlie Sheen of CBS's "Two and a Half Men," Steve Carell of NBC's "The Office," and Tony Shalhoub of USA's "Monk."
Simon Baker is one of only two broadcast network actors in the lead drama actor competition, joining Hugh Laurie of "House." Also in the running: Gabriel Byrne (HBO's "In Treatment"), last year's winner Bryan Cranston, (AMC's "Breaking Bad"), Michael C. Hall (Showtime's "Dexter") and Jon Hamm (AMC's "Mad Men").
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