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UPDATE: Tracy Morgan Released From Rehab Center, Suing Wal-Mart Over Crash

By | Saturday July 12, 2014 @ 12:26pm PDT
Mike Fleming

UPDATE: Tracy Morgan Released From Rehab Center, Suing Wal-Mart Over Crash9TH UPDATE, 12:26 PM: Morgan’s publicist released the following statement this afternoon, “Tracy has been released from the rehabilitation center and will continue his recovery efforts at home with an aggressive outpatient program.  He asked me to pass along his sincerest gratitude to everyone who has helped him get to this point.  He would also appreciate some privacy during this crucial point in his recovery. In regards to the reports of a lawsuit, I can confirm that Tracy, along with the other victims of this horrific accident, have filed suit.”

8TH UPDATE, JULY 11: Tracy Morgan is suing Wal-Mart over the June 7 crash in which the limo bus he and others were riding was rear-ended by one of the retail giant’s tractor-trailers. The complaint filed in New Jersey District Court alleges that Wal-Mart knew or should have known that the truck’s driver, Kevin Roper, had been awake for more than 24 hours when he fell asleep behind the wheel and rammed into the limo. It also says the truck’s collision-avoidance systems did not engage and that “Wal-Mart knew or should have known that one of the truck’s most important safety features had been compromised.” The former 30 Rock star was critically injured in the New Jersey Turnpike wreck, which killed his mentor, comedian James McNair. McNair’s widow Krista Millea also is a plaintiff along with Morgan’s assistant Jeffrey Millea and comic Ardie Fuqua Jr, both of whom were injured in the crash. The suit reads, “As a direct and proximate result of the physical injuries sustained by Mr. Morgan in the collision, he has been in capacitated from pursuing his usual employment and other activities, may be left with disabilities that will in the future similarly incapacitate him and cause him pain and suffering, and may require medical treatment.” The suit seeks unspecified damages and a jury trial. David Sirotkin, Benedict Morelli and David Ratner of Morelli Alters Ratner LLP in New York are representing the plaintiffs.

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Alec Baldwin Circles ‘M:I-5′; Football Concussions And A Rob Ford-Type Mayor Also In The Offing

By | Wednesday July 9, 2014 @ 1:52pm PDT
Mike Fleming

Alec Baldwin Circles ‘M:I-5′; Football Concussions And A Rob Ford-Type Mayor Also In The OffingEXCLUSIVE: Alec Baldwin has two killer movie projects lined up, along with a possible TV successor to his Emmy-winning turn in 30 Rock. He’s in talks to star in Mission: Impossible 5, playing the head of the CIA. He’s also in talks to join Will Smith in the Peter Landesman-directed movie about football concussions at Sony Pictures. Here’s the capper, though: Baldwin is developing a new TV show with NBC Productions, in which he would play the central character, a Rob Ford-type Mayor of New York City.

Ford is the buffoonish Toronto, Ontario mayor who has had his troubles with the crack pipe and behaves outlandishly on a fairly regular basis. That should be edgy stuff, since it is being fashioned as a one-hour cable series. Wells Tower is writing the pilot, and Baldwin will exec producer with Cary Brokaw.

Baldwin teamed with James Toback on the hilarious Cannes documentary Seduced And Abandoned. He turned down numerous roles to stay close to home while his wife was pregnant, but is starring in the untitled Warren Beatty project on Howard Hughes (he also starred in Martin Scorsese’s movie about the renowned billionaire recluse), and stars in the upcoming Cameron Crowe-directed untitled film. He has generated headlines for his clashes with paparazzi and recently announced in New York magazine that he was through with public life. I wish he wouldn’t take the bait, but his penchant for rising to the occasion does somehow make that TV series seem pretty promising.

Baldwin is repped by … Read More »

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‘30 Rock’s Jane Krakowski Joins Adam Sandler Sci-Fi Comedy ‘Pixels’

By | Wednesday July 9, 2014 @ 9:00am PDT

‘30 Rock’s Jane Krakowski Joins Adam Sandler Sci-Fi Comedy ‘Pixels’EXCLUSIVE: 30 Rock alumna Jane Krakowski is powering up with the cast of Columbia Pictures’ Pixels opposite Adam Sandler and Kevin James. She’ll play the First Lady to James’ President Cooper, who also once dated Sandler’s character Jules Brenner, in the science fiction comedy directed by Chris Columbus. The Happy Madison and 1492 Pictures production unfolds when aliens invade Earth after misinterpreting feeds of classic arcade games as a declaration of intergalactic war. Pic is now filming in Toronto. Krakowski is the latest addition to a cast that includes Michelle Monaghan, Peter Dinklage, Josh Gad and Ashley Benson.

In the past year the Golden Globe-nominated thesp has turned in guest spots on The Simpsons and Modern Family after ending her Emmy-nominated seven season run as Jenna Maroney on NBC’s 30 Rock. On the features side she’s also got the upcoming Ashley Judd romance Big Stone Gap and Adult Beginners with Nick Kroll and Rose Byrne in the hopper. Krakowski’s repped by UTA and Brillstein Entertainment Partners. Pixels is due in theaters May 15, 2015.

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NBCU’s 30 Rock Will Get Retro Refit As Comcast Crowns RCA Building

By | Wednesday June 25, 2014 @ 9:56am PDT

NBCU’s 30 Rock Will Get Retro Refit As Comcast Crowns RCA BuildingComcast logoJust as Comcast moves forward with its plan to replace the GE sign atop the former RCA building with its own name and the NBC Peacock logo, NBCUniversal today announced a major overhaul and rehabilitation of 30 Rockefeller Plaza. A desire to “celebrate the storied past of one of the most iconic buildings in entertainment history,” the company said, the plan calls for the re-creation of the original Art Deco-era design of the NBC portion of the lobby while adding high-tech upgrades “to reinforce 30 Rock as a state-of-the art entertainment destination – and a center for the creative industries for many decades to come.”

The sweeping 16-foot-wide, marble Grand Stair that originally led from the lobby to the mezzanine level will return, along with a recreation of the Mezzanine Rotunda, which will be a “grand circular reception lobby in the style of the original 1930s-era lobby design.” Also in the works, a “Peacock Lounge,” i.e., waiting room for audience hopefuls for Saturday Night Live, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Late Night With Seth Meyers and The Meredith Vieira Show.

RotundaMezzRendering“The re-development of the Grand Stair and Mezzanine Rotunda, coupled with the modernization of our studios, is an homage to the original designers of 30 Rockefeller Plaza, and an affirmation of our belief that the true golden age of this legendary broadcast facility lies not only in the past, but in … Read More »

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Will New York’s 30 Rock Become The Comcast Building?

By | Friday June 13, 2014 @ 8:44am PDT

GE SignThat’s appears to be the cable giant’s plan: The city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission will vote Tuesday on a proposed “certificate of appropriateness” allowing Comcast to install signs with its logo and NBC peacock at the Rockefeller Center art deco landmark, popularly known as the RCA Building. COMCASTThe current one says GE. But it sold the building to Comcast last year as part of a $1.4B agreement that transferred NBCUniversal’s real estate to the cable company when it also bought GE’s 49% stake in the entertainment power. The new signage proposal would replace the 24-foot-high red neon sign on top of the building with 12-foot high LED signs on the north and south exteriors — with the Comcast logo (which includes the NBC peacock) in white capital letters. The western facade would have a 17-foot-high peacock. In addition to the changes at the top of the building, Comcast wants to adapt the marquee on Sixth Avenue to showcase The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. The building, completed in 1933, became an official landmark in 1985 and has served as a fixture for shows including Seinfeld and, of course, 30 Rock

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UPDATE: Tracy Morgan Still In Critical Condition But Improving, Says Rep

By | Thursday June 12, 2014 @ 3:55pm PDT
Mike Fleming

tracy4TH UPDATE, 3:45 PM: 30 Rock and SNL veteran Tracy Morgan is in critical but stable condition five days after the fatal New Jersey car crash that injured Morgan and three others and killed mentor James McNair. Comedian Ardie Fuqua, Jeffrey Millea and Harris Stanton were the other limo bus passengers hospitalized after the crash. “Today was a better day. While Tracy remains in critical, but stable, condition, he continues to show signs of improvement,” said Morgan’s rep. “His medical team remains optimistic that his recovery is progressing. Megan remains by his side and is relaying the countless good wishes and prayers that his family, friends and fans have been sending their way. In addition, Jeff [Millea]‘s wife asked us to pass along that Jeff has also shown much improvement over the past few days. She is very thankful for the love and support she and their family continue to receive.” Read More »

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Comedy Writers Dylan Morgan & Josh Siegal Ink Overall Deal With Universal TV

By | Tuesday March 4, 2014 @ 11:00am PST
Nellie Andreeva

Coming off a two-year overall deal at Sony Pictures TV, 30 Rock alums Dylan Morgan and Josh Siegal have closed a two-year overall pact at Universal TV. “As their outstanding work on 30 Rock proves, Dylan_Morgan_Photo_v2siegel5Dylan and Josh are terrific, bright comedy writers,” said Uni TV EVP Bela Bajaria. Siegal and Morgan most recently served as co-executive producers on NBC’s 30 Rock, sharing in the series’ last three best comedy Emmy nominations in 2011, 2012 and 2013. Previously, Siegal and Morgan, repped by UTA and attorney Mitch Smelkinson, served as co-producers on USA Network’s Monk, having worked their way up the ranks from staff writers.

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’30 Rock’s Tituss Burgess Joins Tina Fey & Robert Carlock’s NBC Series ‘Tooken’

By | Saturday March 1, 2014 @ 1:23pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

burgessTina Fey and Robert Carlock have recruited a recurring player from their comedy 30 Rock for their followup NBC series, 13-episode comedy Tooken. Tituss Burgess, who played D’Fwan, the flamboyant member of Tracy Jordan’s wife’s (Sherri Shepherd) entourage on 30 Rock for two seasons, is the first actor to join star Ellie Kemper in Tooken. Written by Fey and Carlock, who serve as showrunners, Tooken centers on Kimmy (Kemper) who escapes from a doomsday cult and starts life over in New York. Burgess will play a gay, larger-than-life, dfwangenuinely talented singer who has never made it to Broadway and lives hand-to-mouth, working as a robot in Times Square. His relationship with Kimmy will re-energize him. The role appears tailor made and likely written for Burgess, down to the character name. Burgess is a talented singer who has appeared in a number of Broadway productions, including Rent, The Little Mermaid and Guys and Dolls, and is openly gay. He’s repped by Hartig Hilepo Agency, Soffer-Namoff Entertainment and attorney Michael Mahan.

Related: 2014 NBC Pilots

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How Departed NBC Comedy ‘30 Rock’ Landed SAG Awards Nominations

By | Wednesday December 11, 2013 @ 8:15am PST
Nellie Andreeva

gal-sag-tina-fey-alec-baldwin-jpgBecause of the discrepancy between the broadcast TV season (September-May) and the eligibility period for the SAG Awards (calendar year), broadcast series get an extra shot at SAG Awards for the January-May portion of their final seasons. NBC’s 30 Rock did one better today, landing three SAG nominations despite airing only five episodes during the 2013 calendar year — the series’ final five installments.

Related: Edie Falco & Alec Baldwin Set SAG Awards Nomination Record

According to the SAG Awards rule book, eligible on the comedy side are “30 minute comedy series (with a minimum 21-23 minutes of actual programming content) with an ongoing theme and storyline in a minimum of six continuous episodes (reducible to a storyline of four continuous episodes in the cases in which the series is subject to a “short order.”) 30 Rock was not a subject of a short order; its final season included 13 episodes. But it qualified as SAG Awards’ eligibility rules are different for final seasons, said SAG Awards executive producer Kathy Connell. “In a final season, we allow a show to wrap as long it is in the calendar year,” and the six-episode minimum does not apply, she said. Read More »

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Primetime Emmys 2013: ‘30 Rock’s Tina Fey, Tracey Wigfield And ‘Modern Family’s Gail Mancuso Set High Mark For Female Comedy Writers, Directors

By | Sunday September 22, 2013 @ 6:27pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

It was comedy ladies’ night at the Primetime Emmys as women swept both the comedy writing and directing categories for the first time in history. 30 Rock creator/executive producer Tina Fey and writer Tracey Wigfield won the writing Emmy for the series finale, while Gail Mancuso was recognized for the “Arrested” episode of ABC’s Modern Family. Mancuso is only the second woman ever to win the Emmy for comedy directing, following Betty Thomas, who won for Dream On 20 years ago. Fey/Wigfield was the fourth woman/all-female team to snag the writing award, following Fey, who won for 30 Rock in 2008; Diane English for Murphy Brown in 1989; and Treva Silverman for Mary Tyler Moore in 1974. All those female writing winners share a bond — they worked for groundbreaking workplace shows with strong women at the center.

Related: Nikki Finke: Live-Snarking 65th Emmys

The writing win for 30 Rock‘s Fey and Wigfield also is brimming with symbolism: the reigning comedy queen Fey teamed with a rising star writer. Wigfield started off as a writers assistant on 30 Rock before getting a shot at becoming a writer on the show and trusted with co-writing the series finale with Fey. “I want to thank Tina Read More »

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EMMYS: Departed Series ‘30 Rock,’ ‘The Office,’ ‘Enlightened’ & ‘Political Animals’ Get One Last Shot At Emmy Glory

By | Thursday July 18, 2013 @ 12:11pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

It is always a bittersweet moment for cancelled series that get a final round of Emmy nominations after their final episode has aired. It was a good morning today for two long-running, award-winning NBC series, 30 Rock and The Office, which dominated the Emmy comedy race in the second half of the past decade, earning four best series trophies between them. Both received writing nominations for their series finales penned by their creators/developers, The Office‘s Greg Daniels and 30 Rock‘s Tina Fey (with Tracey Wigfield). The two comedies also will face off in the shortform nonfiction program category with features dedicated to their final cycles, The Office: The Farewells and 30 Rock: The Final Season. The seventh season of 30 Rock landed a total of 13 nominations, even with last year. That includes noms for comedy series, lead actress (Fey), lead actor (Alec Baldwin) and supporting actress (Jane Krakowski). 30 Rock is now bowing out with a perfect record, earning best series nom for each of its seven seasons. Meanwhile, The Office rebounded from a complete shutout last year to score four noms for its ninth season.

Also getting posthumous recognition are Enlightened and Political Animals. After failing to make the Emmy nominations cut for its freshman season, Mike White’s HBO dark … Read More »

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EMMYS: Comedy Farewells

By | Monday June 17, 2013 @ 9:59pm PDT

Ray Richmond is an AwardsLine contributor.

A pair of long-running NBC comedies — 30 Rock and The Office — will be attempting a rare feat this year: They’ll be trying to win a top series Emmy in their final season. Both have tasted victory in the Outstanding Comedy Series race before, The Office taking the prize in 2006 and Rock in 2007, ’08 and ’09. But winning as a last hurrah is a whole other ballgame, though it’s happened four times before: The Mary Tyler Moore Show snared the comedy series prize in 1977, Barney Miller took it in 1982, Everybody Loves Raymond carted off the comedy trophy in 2005, and The Sopranos earned the top drama series statuette in 2007. Many other long-running series have tried to generate Emmy love in their last year. A few, like Seinfeld, have even been favored. (Seinfeld lost in its final season in 1998 to Frasier, which earned its record fifth statuette in a row.) But most series fail to cart off the gold amid the perception that their best days are behind them, whether accurate or not. As one Emmy-winning producer says: “By the time a show is in its final season, it’s no longer considered fresh or cool, and voters much prefer to reward the hot new thing. It’s just … Read More »

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That Alec Baldwin Is So Good To His TV Mother!

Mike Fleming

While Elaine Stritch played a mom character who drove her executive son crazy on 30 Rock, that Alec Baldwin continues to be a good son, even after the sitcom has gone by the wayside. Or maybe he still feels bad that his alter ego Jack Donaghy backed over her with a car. He has signed on to lend his support as an executive producer for Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me, a documentary on her career that will premiere at the upcoming Tribeca Film Festival. Chiemi Karasawa directed the film about the Tony and Emmy-winning actress. Baldwin reached out to Karasawa directly after he got word of the IndieGogo campaign launched to raise additional funds to release the movie. “It’s a fitting real-life extension of their roles on 30 Rock except in this case there is no ambiguity in Alec’s genuine support and endorsement of Elaine,” Karasawa said. It’s a beautiful gesture.” The film will be shopped at Tribeca by Submarine’s Josh Braun, who’s handling world rights. Karasawa is producing with Elizabeth Hemmerdinger.

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’30 Rock’ Gang Says Goodbye To Tina Fey

By | Friday February 1, 2013 @ 8:23pm PST

When NBC‘s 30 Rock bid adieu to fans on Thursday after seven seasons, 139 episodes, 14 Emmys, and six Golden Globes, the show’s cast and crew got together to send their thank-yous to the woman who made it all possible: Tina Fey. Watch Alec Baldwin, Jack McBrayer, Jane Krakowski, and Tracy Morgan celebrate their showrunner-star with love, anecdotes (“Tina was like my Bruce Lee”), and tears:

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RATINGS RAT RACE: ’30 Rock’ Series Finale Ends Up, ‘Do No Harm’ Lowest Debut Ever

By | Friday February 1, 2013 @ 8:35am PST

After seven seasons NBC’s 30 Rock (1.9/5) ended its run last night with a one-hour special, another Conan O’Brien cameo, a snow globe and some stiff competition. “Our finale is on this Thursday at 8 PM, up against The Big Bang Theory, so just tape The Big Bang Theory for once, for crying out loud!,” Tina Fey said at the SAG Awards last weekend as she accepted the trophy for best female actor in a comedy series. Someone must have been listening because last night’s finale was up 36% over last week’s show and hit its highest viewership total in more than two years with 4.796 million watching. That’s almost 2 million more than the 2.843 million who watched 30 Rock’s Season 6 finale on May 17, which got a 1.4/4 in Live+Same Day ratings.

Related: How Tina Fey’s ’30 Rock’ Lasted Seven Seasons And Changed The Game For Female Comedy Creators

As one show ended on NBC on Thursday another began with the 10 PM premiere of Do No Harm (0.9/3). Though it might not be around for long. Starring Rescue Me alumni Steve Pasquale, the contemporary Jekyll and Hyde was the lowest rated in-season premiere ever of any scripted show on the any of the Big Four networks. Down 55% from last spring’s Awake premiere, Do No Harm pulled in 3.13 million viewers in the slot usually occupied by Rock Center. Read More »

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How Tina Fey’s ’30 Rock’ Lasted Seven Seasons And Changed The Game For Female Comedy Creators

By | Thursday January 31, 2013 @ 12:55pm PST

Ray Richmond contributes to Deadline’s TV coverage.

When the NBC comedy 30 Rock leaves the air tonight after seven seasons and 139 episodes, it will be exiting a far different TV landscape than it entered. The series premiered on October 11, 2006 as an anomaly: the original vision of a single creator-producer-writer-star named Tina Fey at a time when TV actors generally stayed in front of the camera (with NBC’s The Office proving a rare exception with its double-duty writer-performers). Fey made no secret of being a writer first and an actress second, and there is little debate that her success paved the way for comedy performers dreaming of some semblance of creative control of the product. Without Fey’s 30 Rock, it’s harder to imagine the environment would have existed for a creator-star like Mindy Kaling to rise with The Mindy Project at Fox, or certainly for a daring and controversial writer-producer-star like Lena Dunham to make Girls at HBO.

That Fey was able to steer her quirky satirical tale on a broadcast network made the achievement all the more unlikely. And then to keep 30 Rock going for so many critically acclaimed seasons when its ratings rarely rose above the level of abysmal is fairly unprecedented. Rock remained, throughout its run, the little engine that could, overcoming long odds and a cancellation ax poised constantly over its head. Those with a good memory will recall that the series  entered NBC’s primetime schedule with two strikes against it — as one of a pair of series launching on NBC that peered behind the scenes of a fictitious sketch comedy show. The other was of course Aaron Sorkin’s hourlong Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip, which was the favorite of the two to survive due to the Sorkin pedigree. It’s the one that NBC put its marketing and promotional might behind, plastering Studio 60 on billboards in Times Square and on Sunset Boulevard. Instead, it was SNL vet Fey’s comedic creation that had the artistic legs for the long haul. Read More »

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RATINGS RAT RACE: ‘American Idol’s Second Night Even With 2012

By | Friday January 18, 2013 @ 8:43am PST

Fox’s American Idol (5.6/15) was back Thursday for the second night of its Season 12 premiere. Coming off the series’ lowest-rated in-season premiere on Wednesday, last night’s two-hour auditions show was even with last season’s preliminary second-night ratings. Compared night-to-night, Thursday was down four tenths from Wednesday’s 6.0 debut. Not that that’s unusual for Idol, which has seen a drop-off every season from its first to second premiere night. Last season’s 7.4/19 first night (January 18) fell to a 5.7/18 on its second night in final numbers. Last night’s Idol was watched by 16.18 million, compared with the 18.02 who tuned in last year.

Related: Fox’s Mike Darnell Talks ‘American Idol’
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Nancy Pelosi To Guest On ’30 Rock’ Finale

By | Thursday January 3, 2013 @ 6:35pm PST

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi will guest star on 30 Rock‘s series finale, an NBC spokesperson confirmed to Deadline today. No word if Pelosi would play anything other than herself on the show’s one hour January 31st episode. “I would do almost anything Tina Fey asked me to do,” Pelosi said to The Washington Post today in a statement about her scripted TV debut. Pelosi is one of several politicians who have appeared on the Emmy Award-winning show, including former Vice President Al Gore, former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg (all of whom played themselves). Pelosi also is no stranger to Primetime TV. Over the years she’s made the rounds on daytime and nighttime talk shows, Read More »

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PGA Awards TV: ‘Homeland’, ‘Downton Abbey’ And ‘Louie’ Enter Series Fray

By | Wednesday January 2, 2013 @ 5:01pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

PGA Awards‘ weird eligibility window on the TV side made for another field with an outdated feel, like the comedy series nomination for HBO‘s Curb Your Enthusiasm, which has not aired originals for the past year and a half. The PGA Awards follow the Primetime Emmys calendar despite taking place six months later, honoring programs that aired between June 1, 2011-May 31, 2012.

With that in mind, there were only minimal surprises in the series nominations this year, most notably the omission of HBO’s freshman comedies Girls and Veep and last year’s best drama series winner Boardwalk Empire. Modern Family has a shot at a third consecutive PGA Award with another best comedy series nom alongside returning nominees 30 Rock and The Big Bang Theory as well as FX‘s Louie. This extends Louie‘s momentum. After largely flying under the radar for the first two seasons, the series’ third season earned a first Emmy award in September, its first SAG and Golden Globe nominations last month and now a first PGA nomination. Missing the cut this time are last year’s nominees Parks & Recreation and Glee, though Glee co-creators Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk landed a TV movie/miniseries nom for the first season of American Horror Story. Read More »

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