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Globe TV Noms Hot and Cool

Jan 19, 2004  •  Post A Comment

When the 61st annual Golden Globes are awarded Jan. 25, television and production executives will be watching with rapt attention.
From humble beginnings, the tiny Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s raucous dinner-show extravaganza has grown in stature with the Hollywood establishment over the years, partly because Globe winners in the 11 television categories sometimes augur what will transpire eight months later at the Emmy Awards presentation.
More important to television insiders is that the 93 HFPA members have very idiosyncratic taste compared with that of the vast membership of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. The Globes are frequently bestowed upon unestablished series and their stars, a turn of events that can suddenly and dramatically change a new show’s fortunes.
“It seems we’re less likely to nominate the traditional American-flavored shows because we’re not American,” said Jenny Cooney Carrillo, who for the past 10 years has served as the HFPA TV committee co-chair. “It’s unfortunate that a show as great as `ER’ or `Friends’ never won a Golden Globe, and I don’t believe `Everybody Loves Raymond’ was ever nominated.”
This year’s surprise nominations include BBC America’s “The Office” for best musical or comedy series, and its star Ricky Gervais for best actor in musical or comedy series. (“It’s under everyone’s radar,” Ms. Carrillo acknowledged.) Other out-of-the-mainstream picks are FX’s “Nip/Tuck” for best drama series and its star Joely Richardson for best actress in a drama series. Young Amber Tamblyn of CBS’s “Joan of Arcadia,” unheard of to prime-time viewers only a few months ago, is also competing in the drama category.
“You could call the Golden Globe categories `best new TV actress,’ `best new television comedy.’ They tend to be the first out there rewarding, hailing a show,” said Tom O’Neil, author of “The Emmys: The Ultimate, Unofficial Guide to the Battle of TV’s Best Shows and Greatest Stars.” “Once the Globes spotlight something as cool and hot, it often gives the Emmy voters the chance to embrace it too.”
“Gillian Anderson would never have won her Emmy [for actress in a drama series for Fox’s `The X-Files’] if she hadn’t won a Globe first,” Mr. O’Neil contended, “especially because of the bias against sci-fi with the Emmys. `X-Files’ was given entree to the Emmys because the Globes made it cool.”
Last year, USA’s “Monk” was another example of Emmy voters following in Globe voters’ footsteps. “Monk” star Tony Shalhoub won a Golden Globe for best actor in a musical or comedy series, and later that year went on to win an Emmy. “Tony Shalhoub’s win was absolutely a call to action for the Emmy voters to stand up and take notice of this incredibly different comedy performance in a basic cable series-very different from a Ray Romano in a traditional sitcom,” said Richard Licata, Showtime’s newly named executive VP of entertainment and public relations, who helped coordinate “Monk’s” awards campaign as an executive at Rogers & Cowan.
Last year, a Globe went to HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm” for best musical or comedy series. The show went on to garner several Emmy nominations, winning for best directing for a comedy series.
The official response at the HFPA to Emmy copycatting: “We are flattered if anybody thinks we have an influence over anyone, but it’s not our goal,” said HFPA President Lorenzo Soria.
Of course, many Globe winners never win an Emmy. Fox’s “Party of Five” and Claire Danes of ABC’s “My So-Called Life” are two examples. “The bias of the Golden Globes welcoming rookies offsets the bias of the Emmys crowning the same old veterans, and they complement each other,” Mr. O’Neil said.
Besides participating in the Emmy action, Globe winners often score big in ratings. Mr. O’Neil cited the Globe for “Ally McBeal” as “the single best and most amazing example of their clout and impact.”
At the time of its nomination as best comedy-an unconventional category for a one-hour show-“Ally” was a little-watched Fox series in danger of cancellation. In the months after its 1998 win, the series spiked 45 percent in ratings among viewers ages 18 to 49, compared with the September-to-January period preceding the awards. The end of the “Monday Night Football” season accounted for some of that increase, said Joe Earley, a Fox Broadcasting spokesman, but certainly not all of it.
A year later, “Ally McBeal” won an Emmy for best comedy series. It went on to become a long-running hit show.
The Golden Globes presentation first aired locally in Los Angeles in 1958 and became a permanent national fixture starting in 1981. Now the show is broadcast to 150 countries and attracts 250 million viewers worldwide.
One thing that never changed, however, is the party atmosphere of the ceremony, which starts right after dessert plates-this year being chocolate globes filled with chocolate mousse-are cleared. Everyone breaks bread together rather than being lined up in the rows of an auditorium.
“There’s no master of ceremonies, no ballet, no songs, just star after star after star in a banquet setting. According to many people, this may be a contributing factor to the show’s success,” said Mr. Soria, who is a correspondent for Italy’s daily newspaper La Stampa and the weekly newsmagazine L’Espresso.