HBO Comes Out on Top

Dec 22, 2003  •  Post A Comment

HBO dominated the Golden Globe television nominations last week with shows like “Sex In The City” and the miniseries “Angels In America,” but a handful of basic cable networks and some struggling broadcast shows might be the award’s biggest beneficiaries.
Underdog critical favorites such as “Nip/Tuck,” “The Office,” “Arrested Development” and “Miss Match” shook up the otherwise predictable list of nominees and should earn newfound attention whether or not they ultimately take home a trophy.
“I was really thrilled by it, because if you look at the other four shows in the category, they’re all iconic warhorses,” said “Nip/Tuck” creator Ryan Murphy, whose show was nominated for best drama series. “It’s a great thing to go into a second season getting that kind of honor. Hopefully, it will put a lot more eyeballs to the set.”
“Nip/Tuck” also scored an acting nomination for Joely Richardson. “The Shield’s” Michael Chiklis was also nominated, bringing host network FX three nods.
Another basic-cable winner was first-time nominee BBC America, a channel that has largely flown under the commercial radar despite sharp programming such as the British version of “Coupling,” the talk show “So Graham Norton” and the cult favorite “The Office”-which was nominated for best series and actor (Ricky Gervais) in the musical/comedy categories.
“This is a huge moment for us,” said Paul Lee, CEO of BBC America. “We’ve known for over a year just how good `The Office’ really is, but to have this recognition from the Globes takes BBC America to the next level.”
Another potential beneficiary of “The Office” honors is NBC, which is planning a U.S. version of the show. NBC also enjoyed another well-timed nomination, with Matt LeBlanc being honored for his role in “Friends” just as the actor is readying a spinoff.
Two other broadcast nomination standouts include Amber Tamblyn’s nod for best actress in “Joan of Arcadia” and Fox’s quirky comedy “Arrested Development,” which was tapped for best musical/comedy series. Though Fox has recently stated its commitment to “Arrested Development” by ordering a full season, the series has languished in the ratings, and the nomination could potentially help the series buy more time to find an audience.
All told, HBO dominated the proceedings with 20 nominations, including seven for its acclaimed adaptation of Tony Kushner’s play “Angels in America.” The cable network was followed by NBC with 10 nominations, mostly due to “Will & Grace” and “The West Wing,” though Alicia Silverstone also picked up a surprise nod for her performance in “Miss Match.” Ms. Silverstone’s category contained six nominees, suggesting a close race.
“Mainly the nominations are a boost for BBC America, a boost for FX and a boost for the up-and-comers,” said Tim Brooks, Lifetime’s executive VP of research.
Other notable nominations went to James Brolin and Judy Davis for their portrayals of Ronald and Nancy Reagan in the controversial miniseries “The Reagans.” The show was originally produced for CBS, but that network bumped it in the face of a highly publicized protest over the portrayal of the former president and first lady. After CBS passed on it, the miniseries moved to sister network Showtime, where it became a three-hour movie.
Showtime Entertainment President Robert Greenblatt denied any feeling of vindication for taking a chance on the movie and instead credited the talent of the producers and cast. “`The Reagans’ is a great success story,” Mr. Greenblatt said. “I was glad people could see past the negativity of the controversy.”

Showtime, which received no Golden Globe nominations last year, also picked up nods for “Soldier’s Girl” and “Tennessee Williams’ The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone.”
The 61st Annual Golden Globe Awards ceremony will be held Jan. 25 in Beverly Hills, Calif., and will air on NBC. The awards are presented by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. The broadcast will be produced by Dick Clark Productions. Actor-producer Michael Douglas, who began his career in TV, will receive the Cecil B. DeMille Award, the Globes’ highest honor.
A complete list of Golden Globe television nominations is available at tvweek.com.