Open Mic

This Year's Emmy Awards Telecast Could Be One of the Best in Years; Will 'The Good Wife' Score?

Hillary Atkin Posted July 13, 2010 at 3:35 AM

Some fresh, new blood has been injected into the races for this year's Emmy awards and some interesting additions and omissions make this one of the most appealing Emmy competitions in years. And, it will be a short one with the televised ceremonies set for August 29.

The Emmys are known for anointing some of the same people for years on end. Tony Shalhoub is a perfect example. Although his show, "Monk," has ended its first run, Shalhoub was nominated for a staggering eighth time as best actor in a comedy series. He's taken home the trophy on three of those outings.

But make a couple false moves, or even just one, and see your Emmy reign ended--even if it has absolutely nothing to do with your on-screen character. Former Emmy darling Charlie Sheen—a four-year in a row contender—didn't make the cut this year as best comedy actor, as he waits to resolve his domestic violence case. Jeremy Piven’s mercury poisoning incident had repercussions far beyond the Broadway stage he departed. He’s apparently dragged his entourage down along with him. Recently a repeat contender for best comedy series, it received just one major nomination this time. Ouch.

Kicking "Entourage" and "Two and a Half Men" to the comedy curb made room for two new entrants that are sure to have a long Emmy run, "Glee" and "Modern Family." Both had large numbers of nominations showered upon them. “Nurse Jackie,” not exactly considered a comedy in most viewing households, is a surprise entrant in the category, which has long been dominated by "30 Rock." But don't count out the Rock just yet. It scored 15 nominations, including those in every acting category except supporting actor.
Long-time laffers “The Office” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm” are also vying for the trophy.

But it was the late-night comedy terrain that had the most drama. Clearly a message from the voters—and the huge surprise to everyone else—Conan O'Brien racked up four nominations for his abbreviated seven-month run as host of "The Tonight Show." Leno: 0.

Bad-boy behavior at the office may have contributed to the abrupt end of David Letterman's 26-year long streak of garnering Emmy nominations. As Jay said, maybe they'll both be watching the telecast from Oprah's house.

Thirty-five years after it premiered, “Saturday Night Live,” shows no signs of waning, ending its season on a high note with the Betty White Mother’s Day episode. That show alone garnered seven nods, including—hooray!-- one for Ms. White. In fact, SNL has quietly become the most nominated show in Emmy history, with its 12 new nominations this time around bringing its lifetime total to 126, surpassing 124 for “ER” and 117 for “Cheers.” As the years go on, Lorne and crew will obviously widen the gap.

Speaking of raw numbers, HBO is again in triple digit territory, with 24 of its 101 nominations coming for "The Pacific.” No drama in the miniseries category, a business in serious decline on television. The only competition for the 10-part Spielberg-Hanks produced World War II saga is “Return to Cranford,” which aired on PBS.

Riding the current trend of the popularity of all things vampire, the pay cabler’s “True Blood” finally broke through to Emmy voters, as did the overlooked “Friday Night Lights.”

“The Good Wife” as a best drama nominee and industry favorite Julianna Margulies as best actress vaulted to the top of their class in their freshman year with nine nominations, boding well for a fertile period of popularity with Emmy voters.

“The Good Wife” joins “True Blood,” the just-departed “Lost,” “Breaking Bad” and “Dexter” in squaring off against recent perennial trophy-getter “Mad Men,” whose nattily-attired leads, Jon Hamm and January Jones, are naturally up for the gold.

It’s going to take a lot to dislodge the folks at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce from their preeminent Emmy position, but “Wife” could be the one to knock them off their pedestal.#