EMMYS: Basic Cable Dramas’ Basic Problem Is A Lack Of Academy Love

By | Monday June 11, 2012 @ 7:41pm PDT

Adam Buckman is a contributor to AwardsLine

Boardwalk EmpireThe Emmy Awards is a game of winners and losers — in most categories, one winner, four losers. But for a whole swath of contenders in the highly competitive drama categories — hour-long dramas on basic cable channels — the challenge is as simple as just being allowed in the final competition. Because while some of TV’s most compelling one-hour dramas are now found on channels that lay between the broadcast and premium networks, these shows are consistently left out in the cold come Emmy time.

The attention in the drama categories still consistently goes to drama series on pay cable channels or broadcast networks. Never mind the actual awards — actual nominations for dramatic series on basic cable, though not unheard of, are still few and far between even as the ranks of quality dramas on basic cable have swelled in recent seasons.

Related: EMMYS: Drama Series Overview

This lack of love from the Emmys doesn’t go unnoticed by producers of some of basic cable’s most critically acclaimed shows. “I’m a little bit rankled at the Television Academy and the Emmys because Rescue Me received so little recognition,” says Peter Tolan, executive producer of the drama series about a group of New York City firefighters that he co-created with comedian Denis Leary. Rescue Me ended its seven-season run on FX last September. Over the years, it received eight Emmy nominations, winning one — a guest-actor Emmy for Michael J. Fox. Leary was nominated once in the best dramatic actor category and lost. Read More »

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‘Men Of A Certain Age’ Creators End Efforts To Find New Home For Canceled Series

By | Friday August 26, 2011 @ 6:40pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Men of a Certain Age is officially dead. Following the dramedy’s cancellation by TNT, series creators Ray Romano and Mike Royce had shopped the series around. Now they took to the “Save Men of a Certain Age” Facebook page, whose online petition has garnered more than 10,000 signatures, to announce that those efforts have been unsuccessful and they are reluctantly throwing in the towel. Here is Romano and Royce’s gracious open letter to fans titled Hold Your Head Up:

Hi folks,

Sorry I haven’t been in touch.  Unfortunately there’s been nothing to report.  And at this point, since we want to be straight with you guys, I have to tell you that we’ve kind of reached the end of the road.  Hard to admit, but it’s true.

If you can think of a network, we called them. Of course, “Men of a Certain Age” doesn’t really belong on certain networks.  But we called them too.  We called everybody.  We tried online, satellite, alternate content providers, corporate sponsorship, Taxi TV, filmstrips… everything.  We’ve exhausted every possibility and then some.

Read More »

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EMMYS: 2011 Drama Series Overview

This year’s Emmy race for Outstanding Drama Series will continue cable’s dominance in this most prestigious category. Cable claimed 10 of the 13 nomination spots over the past two years, and 13 of 19 since 2008. By contrast, cable earned a mere nine nods combined in the seven years between 2001 and 2007 when the networks still ruled. The shift from broadcast is so extreme in 2011 that CBS’ The Good Wife is considered the only network series with a solid shot to earn its second nomination in as many years. (Though not in that league, NBC/DirecTV’s Friday Night Lights, NBC’s Parenthood, and CBS’ Blue Bloods deserve consideration while ABC has entered a rebuilding phase.) The sad reality is that the broadcast networks, which just signed a new eight-year deal with the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences to carry the Emmys, are facing a possible first-ever shutout from the top drama series category. That’s because of the continuing strength and ambition of programming on cable — in particular, HBO in a return to form, and AMC still on a roll.

HBO’s Prohibition-era hourlong Boardwalk Empire drew the most critical attention this Emmy season because of its pedigreed producer team, headed by the legendary Martin Scorsese and creator/showrunner Terence Winter, a Sopranos alum. How interesting that the pay channel’s expensive serial will compete against another period drama from that other Sopranos alum Matt Weiner. AMC’s first acclaimed original series, Mad Men, has won this category three years running and is bidding this year to be the first series to win four in a row since NBC’s The West Wing (2000- 2003). Though the frontrunner, Mad Men could be hurt by a long hiatus.

AMC has seized the mantle from HBO as TV’s preeminent quality-drama purveyor with a pair of newcomers that could crack the series field this year: the zombie-themed hour The Walking Dead, and the dark murder mystery The Killing. Even though two-time category nominee Breaking Bad is not eligible for 2011, AMC could still land three nods, becoming the first network in 10 years to do so in this category, after NBC scored the hat trick in 2001 with The West Wing, ER, and Law & Order. No cable network has ever managed the feat to date.

And then there’s Showtime, whose Dexter is in the running for its fourth consecutive Outstanding Drama nomination, along with first-season Shameless. FX is pushing its increasingly buzzed-about Western, Justified and, to a lesser extent, Sons Of Anarchy. TNT wants attention for The Closer, Men Of A Certain Age, and Southland. USA is pressing Covert Affairs and White Collar. Here’s our assessment of the chances for this year’s drama series in alphabetical order: Read More »

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TNT’s ‘Franklin & Bash’ Off To Soft Ratings Start And Other TV News

Nellie Andreeva

TNT’s new legal dramedy Franklin & Bash premiered with 2.7 million viewers last night, 1.1 million of them in the 18-49 demographic. That is a tad higher than the premiere of Season 2 (and first on TNT) of critical darling … Read More »

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TNT Announces Summer Schedule

Nellie Andreeva

TNT just unveiled its summer schedule, setting premiere dates and time slots for new series Franklin & Bash and Falling Skies and returning shows The Closer, Rizzoli & Isles, Hawthorne, Men of a Certain Age, Memphis Beat and Leverage. Meanwhile, OWN announced its new unscripted series Kidnapped by the Kids, … Read More »

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2011 WGA Award Nominations For TV

Nellie Andreeva

Only two new series, HBO’s Boardwalk Empire and Showtime’s Nurse Jackie, were able to crack the top series categories for the 2011 WGA Awards for television, which remained largely unchanged from last year, with 4 out of 5 nominees in each category returning from last year. On the drama side, Boardwalk Empire replaced Lost, while Nurse Jackie took over for Curb Your Enthusiasm, which hasn’t aired a fresh season. Lost still got a nice farewell with a nomination in the episodic drama category for the series finale written by Damon Lindeloff and Carlton Cuse. After the comedy breakthrough last year when the New Series category featured four comedies, Glee, Modern Family, Hung and Nurse Jackie, and only one drama, The Good Wife, the pendulum swung the other way, with no comedy series making the cut in the field at all this year. Somewhat surprisingly, AMC’s breakout zombie hit The Walking Dead did make it, joined by another surprise nominee, Ray Romano’s buddy drama Men of a Certain Age, as well as Boardwalk Empire, Justified and Treme. Speaking of surprises, the canceled Sarah Silverman Program on Comedy Central scored a posthumous nom in the episodic comedy category. Overall, Breaking Bad, 30 Rock and Modern Family topped the list with the most nominations, 3 each. Here is the list of the 2011 WGA nominees for TV, news, radio, promotional writing and graphic animation:

TELEVISION NOMINEES

DRAMA SERIES
Boardwalk Empire, Written by Meg Jackson, Lawrence Konner, Howard Korder, Steve Kornacki, Margaret Nagle, Tim Van Patten, Paul Simms, Terence Winter; HBO
Breaking Bad, Written by Sam Catlin, Vince Gilligan, Peter Gould, Gennifer Hutchison, George Mastras, Tom Schnauz, John Shiban, Moira Walley-Beckett; AMC

Dexter, Written by Scott Buck, Manny Coto, Charles H. Eglee, Lauren Gussis, Chip Johannessen, Jim Leonard, Clyde Phillips, Scott Reynolds, Melissa Rosenberg, Tim Schlattmann, Wendy West; Showtime

Friday Night Lights, Written by Bridget Carpenter, Kerry Ehrin, Ron Fitzgerald, Etan Frankel, Monica Henderson, David Hudgins, Rolin Jones, Jason Katims, Patrick Massett, Derek Santos Olson, John Zinman; NBC

Mad Men, Written by Jonathan Abrahams, Lisa Albert, Keith Huff, Jonathan Igla, Andre Jacquemetton, Maria Jacquemetton, Brett Johnson, Janet Leahy, Erin Levy, Tracy McMillan, Dahvi Waller, Matthew Weiner; AMC

COMEDY SERIES
30 Rock, Written by Jack Burditt, Hannibal Buress, Kay Cannon, Robert Carlock, Tom Ceraulo, Vali Chandrasekaran, Tina Fey, Jon Haller, Steve Hely, Matt Hubbard, Dylan Morgan, Paula Pell, John Riggi, Josh Siegal, Ron Weiner, Tracey Wigfield; NBC

Glee, Written by Ian Brennan, Brad Falchuk, Ryan Murphy; Fox

Modern Family, Written by Jerry Collins, Paul Corrigan, Alex Herschlag, Abraham Higginbotham, Elaine Ko, Joe Lawson, Steven Levitan, Christopher Lloyd, Dan O’Shannon, Jeffrey Richman, Brad Walsh, Ilana Wernick, Bill Wrubel, Danny Zuker; ABC

Nurse Jackie, Written by Liz Brixius, Rick Cleveland, Nancy Fichman, Liz Flahive, Jennifer Hoppe-House, Mark Hudis, Linda Wallem, Christine Zander; Showtime

The Office, Written by Jennifer Celotta, Daniel Chun, Greg Daniels, Lee Eisenberg, Brent Forrester, Amelie Gillette, Charlie Grandy, Steve Hely, Jonathan A. Hughes, Mindy Kaling, Carrie Kemper, Jason Kessler, Paul Lieberstein, Warren Lieberstein, B.J. Novak, Peter Ocko, Robert Padnick, Aaron Shure, Justin Spitzer, Gene Stupnitsky, Halsted Sullivan, Jon Vitti; NBC

NEW SERIES
Boardwalk Empire, Written by Meg Jackson, Lawrence Konner, Howard Korder, Steve Kornacki, Margaret Nagle, Tim Van Patten, Paul Simms, Terence Winter; HBO

Justified, Written by Dave Andron, Wendy Calhoun, Benjamin Cavell, Fred Golan, Gary Lennon, Benjamin Daniel Lobato, Chris Provenzano, Graham Yost; FX

Men of a Certain Age, Written by Bridget Bedard, Warren Hutcherson, Rick Muirragui, Jack Orman, Ray Romano, Mike Royce, Lew Schneider, Mark Stegemann; TNT

Treme, Written by Lolis Eric Elie, David Mills, Eric Overmyer, George Pelecanos, Tom Piazza, Davis Rogan, David Simon; HBO

The Walking Dead, Written by Frank Darabont; Charles H. Eglee, Robert Kirkman, Jack LoGiudice, Glen Mazzara; AMC

Read More »

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