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'Glee,' 'Pacific' lead Emmy noms; Conan triumphs over Jay

(This post has been updated)

Broadcast TV got a major shot in the arm Thursday when Fox's perky high-school musical comedy "Glee" nabbed the most Emmy nominations for any series, 19, and ABC's mockumentary comedy "Modern Family" received 14.

But the TV academy continued its long-running love affair with programs about World Wars, showering HBO's $200 million World War II miniseries "The Pacific" with the most nominations of any program -- 24.

NBC got a big smack in the kisser when the TV Academy snubbed the triumphant return of "Tonight Show with Jay Leno" in this year's list of contenders, but fawned over "Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien" with a nom in the best variety program derby. Conan, of course, is the guy who walked from the show after just seven months when NBC tried to move the show to a post-midnight time slot. NBC had wanted to return Leno to the 11:35 p.m. berth after its the network's disastrous experiment with a primetime Leno show this past season.

Thursdsay morning, Conan tweeted, "Congrats to my staff on 4 Emmy nominations. This bodes well for the future of 'The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien'."

On the bright side for the peacock network, CBS's "Late Show with David Letterman" got shut out too, after a season in which Letterman posted some of his best ratings in ages with a dramatic on-camera admission of affairs with female show staffers, one of which found him on the receiving end of a blackmail attempt.

In fact, men behaving badly did not go over with academy voters this year. Also out of the running is CBS's routinely nommed sitcom "Two and a Half Men," as well as its regularly nominated star Charlie Sheen, who, in the course of the recently wrapped TV season, was charged with roughing up his wife. ("Glee" supporting actress Jane Lynch, nominated for playing cheerleading coach from hell Sue Sylvesters on that show, also received one of "Two and a Half Men's" few noms, for guest-starring as Charlie Sheen's shrink).

But in general it was a good day for broadcast TV in the trophy competition, which has increasingly become a celebration of all things cable. The academy noted that half of the 12 nominated comedy and drama series are broadcast shows.

Another good sign for the Emmy broadcast, which has suffered in the ratings because the lineup of winners has changed so little in the past several years: 5 of those 12 noms in the series derbies are shows in their first seasons.

"Glee's" nominations include those for Broadway-seasoned Lea Michele and Matthew Morrison, who each earned best lead-acting nods to complement the best comedy series nomination. In that wider race "Glee" goes up against "Modern Family," which walked off with a whopping five nominations for best supporting thespians. The show's expansive ensemble decided collectively to throw their names in the ring as supporters -- not leads. The noms included cast members Ty Burrell, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Eric Stonestreet, Sofia Vergara and Julie Bowen. Show patriarch Ed O'Neill got snubbed, which is nothing new: the academy ignored him every year he starred in "Married ... with Children."

(Vergara was one of two stars who announced the new crop of Emmy noms Thurday morning. She was joined by Joel McHale, who, TV academy CEO John Shaffner informed him on-air, was not nominated. "I phoned it in," McHale snarked of his non-nominated performance on the ratings-starved NBC comedy, "Community.")

"Glee's" 19-nomination tally does not break the record of 22 noms in a single year, set by NBC's "30 Rock" last year. ("30 Rock" nabbed 15 nominations Thursday morning.)

And, speaking of breakthroughs, CBS actually got shown full respect for its freshman drama "The Good Wife," which was one of the few new drama series to break out this season. That includes a nom for best drama, one for star Julianna Margulies, and one for best writing.

It's safe to go out on the streets: The academy has placated those rabid "Lost" fans by giving the canceled ABC cult drama an impressive 12 nominations for its final season, including one for best drama series -- a derby in which "Lost" hasn't seen any action in since its first season, when it won that statuette. Also on the "Lost" list: a nod for star Matthew Fox and supporting noms for Terry O'Quinn and Michael Emerson.

In one of this year's stranger nominations, the academy decided that the 200th and 201st episode of Comedy Central's "South Park" merited consideration for Outstanding Animated Program, where it will compete against the likes of Fox's stalwart "The Simpsons" and HBO's critically lauded "The Ricky Gervais Show," an animated version of Ricky Gervais's podcasts, in which Gervais hangs out and chats with his pals Stephen Merchant and Karl Pilkington.
However, the 200nd and 201st episodes of "South Park" were censored because Comedy Central would not show what viewers were led to believe was an image of Muhammad disguised in a bear costume -- but which in fact turned out to be St. Nicholas. Meanwhile, the show's creators, Matt Stone and Trey Parker, publicly derided the versions of the censored episodes that were telecast, saying Comedy Central had wrecked them. Which raises the question: Who submitted these two episodes for consideration by the TV academy, and will the academy give Comedy Central an Emmy on Aug. 29 for censoring one of its programs?

Contacted for comment, Comedy Central sent the following canned comment:

"We're extremely proud of 'South Park's' tenth overall Emmy nomination and hope that the series will be honored with its fifth Emmy Award later this year."

Notice how the cable network totally dodged the question, and the whole "censorship" thing, while getting in two plugs for the show's noms tally and wins tally -- nicely done, Comedy Central!

In its third decade on the air, "Saturday Night Live" finally became the most nominated program in TV history, with a lifetime tally of 126 nominations. That's two more than former record holder "ER" had clocked in its 15 seasons. "SNL" accomplished this by nabbing another 12 noms at the nomination announcement ceremony, at TV academy HQ in North Hollywood. And yes, the NBC late-night show has Betty White to thank, she having received one of those 12 noms for guest-hosting the show. Even better, in that category she'll battle Tina Fey, the show's former head writer and star, who took time off from executive producing, writing, and starring in NBC's primetime show "30 Rock" to return to "SNL" as a guest host.

But wait -- there's more Betty White news. Remember that Snickers ad in which the octogenarian gets tackled? It's also nominated for an Emmy -- for best commercial.

Speaking of old people, the academy abandoned its long-held No Fangs policy to nominate HBO's vampire drama "True Blood," about a psychic waitress and her 173-year-old vampire, for best drama series.

All this love for new programming is not to say this year's Emmy broadcast -- moved to August from September, to accommodate NFL football on this year's Emmy network NBC -- won't necessarily be a rerun of last year's (which, in turn, was a repeat of the year before). Three-time best-comedy winner "30 Rock" has once again been nominated in that category.

"We're grateful and excited -- especially since today is the fifth anniversary of the day NBC forgot to cancel us," Fey said Thursday morning in a statement -- issued to the press by NBC.

Also back in the running, for best drama series: AMC's two-time winner "Mad Men." The 1960s Madison Avenue-set drama is this year's most nominated drama series, with 17 bids for trophies.

"Amazing Race," which has had a death grip on the best reality series competition since the category was created, is up again. And Conan's "Tonight Show" faces Comedy Central's "The Daily Show," which has won the best variety show competition the past seven years running.

Meanwhile, "30 Rock's" Alec Baldwin, AMC's "Breaking Bad" meth-cooking high school teacher Bryan Cranston, and FX's "Damages" harridan Glenn Close -- all of whom snared their second consecutive best-acting wins last year -- are up again in their respective categories: best comedy actor, drama actor and drama actress.

Baldwin will duke it out with Jim Parsons of CBS's "The Big Bang Theory," Larry David for HBO's "Curb Your Enthusiasm," Tony Shalhoub in his last bid for the starring role in now-cancelled USA series "Monk," and Steve Carell of "The Office."

Cranston is joined by "Mad Men's" Jon Hamm, "Lost's" Fox, Michael C. Hall of "Dexter," Kyle Chandler of "Friday Night Lights" and Hugh Laurie of "House."

Close is pitted against "Mad Men's" January Jones, "The Good Wife's" Margulies, TNT"s "The Closer" star Kyra Sedgwick, Connie Britton of "Friday Night Lights," and Mariska Hargitay of "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit."

And last year's best comedy actress winner, Toni Collette of Showtime's "The United States of Tara," is in competition this year with newcomer Michele of "Glee," but also familiar faces like "30 Rock's" Fey, Julia Louis-Dreyfus for the canceled CBS sitcom, "The New Adventure of Old Christine," Edie Falco of Showtime's "Nurse Jackie,"and NBC's "Parks and Recreation" star Amy Poehler.

"Glee" and "Modern Family" face not only "30 Rock" but "Curb Your Enthusiasm," "Nurse Jackie" and "The Office" in the best comedy race.

Meanwhile, "True Blood," "Lost," "The Good Wife" and "Mad Men" make strange bedfellows in the drama series race that also includes "Breaking Bad" and Showtime's "Dexter."

This year's most nominated program? HBO's World War II epic "The Pacific," produced by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks, with a whopping 24 noms. That, however, does not set a record. The aged miniseries "Roots" still holds that one, with 37 noms.

The only miniseries competing against "The Pacific" is PBS's "Return to Cranford."

Movie stars abound in the pay-cable-dominated TV movie race, as usual. Al Pacino's performance as euthanasia advocate Dr. Jack Kevorkian in HBO's "You Don't Know Jack," and the film itself, were nominated. Oscar winner Jeff Bridges was nominated for "A Dog Year." Dennis Quaid and Hope Davis are up for for their portrayals of Bill and Hillary Clinton in HBO's "The Special Relationship," as is Michael Sheen, who played British prime minister Tony Blair in the teleflick.

By Lisa de Moraes  |  July 8, 2010; 1:50 PM ET
Categories:  Emmy Awards , TV News  
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Comments

Lost was not cancelled. Seriously Washington Post? Who writes this garbage?

Posted by: mgoldsm | July 8, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Lost was not cancelled. Come on Washington Post, that is just a lazy error.

Posted by: mgoldsm | July 8, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

"...a derby in which "Lost" hasn't seen any action in since its first season"

Not only was it not canceled, it was also nominated for best drama for seasons 4 and 5. I keep seeing people claim it hasn't been nominated since season 1, but it is not true. See, here from the Emmy site itself:
http://www.emmys.com/nominations/2008?tid=49 - season 4

http://www.emmys.com/nominations/2009?tid=49 - season 5

Posted by: Drew11 | July 8, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Ugh, Dennis Quaid's impression of Bill Clinton was awful, made the movie virtually unwatchable.

Posted by: jtinyaface | July 8, 2010 3:07 PM | Report abuse


I love it that Conan was nominated and Leno was not. Leno has been manipulating and back-stabbing people for years. Check out this video about him. It's pretty wild:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l5zP7_C2Fjk

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