There’s a new kid on the Golden Globes block.
ABC, which in recent years has struggled to draw viewers and buzz in prime time, made headlines this season with an extreme makeover of its own, racking up great ratings for freshman series “Desperate Housewives” and “Lost” and sophomore program “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.”
Last week the network’s newfound gleam brightened with the announcement of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s Golden Globe Award nominations. ABC grabbed nine nominations in total and won the distinction of having the most-nominated show, “Desperate Housewives,” which earned five nominations.
Perennial awards show darling HBO maintained its dominance among all networks-cable or broadcast-thanks to its 20 nominations, more than double what second-place ABC received and equal to the number of nominations received by all the commercial broadcast nets combined.
ABC’s Suzanne Patmore-Gibbs, senior VP of drama development, said the network’s Golden Globe nominations are good for the broadcast business overall.
“They have expressed so much good will,” she said of the other broadcast networks. “It feels like a win for everybody.”
One-hour “Housewives,” which was developed as a drama, was honored in the comedy or musical category. It garnered a best series nomination and nominations for four of its five female stars. Marcia Cross, Teri Hatcher and Felicity Huffman were all nominated for best actress in a musical or comedy, while Nicolette Sheridan scored a supporting actress nomination in the series, miniseries or TV movie category. The only distaff series regular shut out was Eva Longoria.
“I had hoped all five women had been nominated,” said Mark Pedowitz, president of Touchstone Television. “But we’re thrilled with what we have.”
HBO’s biggest honorees were TV movie “The Life and Death of Peter Sellers” and the mob drama series “The Sopranos,” which each got four nominations, coming in second to “Housewives” in terms of total noms for an individual TV project. The network’s suffragette TV movie “Iron Jawed Angels” was next with three nominations, while Western drama “Deadwood,” Hollywood comedy “Entourage,” the historical TV movie “Something the Lord Made” and the final season of the romantic comedy “Sex and the City” each scored two nominations. Unscripted comedy “Curb Your Enthusiasm” garnered one acting nomination for the show’s creator and star Larry David.
Besides ABC’s “Housewives” and HBO’s “Entourage” and “Sex and the City,” Fox’s Emmy winner “Arrested Development” made the best musical or comedy series nomination list, along with NBC’s veteran “Will & Grace.”
In the best drama series category, “The Sopranos” and “Deadwood” were joined by ABC’s new not-so-deserted-island drama “Lost” (the show’s sole nomination), along with past nominee “Nip/Tuck” from FX and past winner “24” from Fox.
Ms. Patmore-Gibbs said the nominations bode well for the network’s continued upswing.
“It’s a good sign that both the public and critics are watching and caring,” she said of ABC. “It certainly is a sign to the community and to us that we are back in the game. We feel like a contender.”
She also said the nominations send a message to the creative community about the atmosphere at ABC.
“Hopefully, that will result in new viewers and cement the loyalty of the viewers we already have,” Ms. Patmore-Gibbs said. “We have something to launch shows off of next year. We have proven ourselves [to be a] place where talent can come and succeed, which is great.”
The Disney-owned ABC shared much of its success with its sister company, Touchstone Television, which produces “Desperate Housewives” and “Lost.” Touchstone’s nods included Jennifer Garner, who received her fourth nomination for best actress in a drama for “Alias”; Tony Shalhoub, who received his third nomination in the best actor in a musical or comedy category for USA’s “Monk”; and Zack Braff, who scored his first Golden Globe nomination in the best actor in a musical or comedy category for NBC’s “Scrubs.”
“There is a sense of validation that the studio was on the right path, and how it supported the creators of the shows,” Mr. Pedowitz said. We hope this begets other people to come here as a place to set up shop and deliver the best product that they can.”
While ABC got the second-most nominations of any network, some other broadcast nets did not fare as well. CBS comedy “Everybody Loves Raymond,” which is ending its critically acclaimed run this season and hasn’t received a nomination since 2001, and NBC’s “Friends” and “Frasier,” both stalwarts that ended last season, were shut out of competition.
Industry insiders said they thought the broadcast snubs were about old versus new more than about broadcast versus cable.
Ted Frank, NBC’s executive VP of current programs, said the Golden Globes traditionally honor new shows at the expense of some established series.
“Both `Friends’ and `Frasier’ did work that was worthy of nomination last season, but the nominations fell the way they fell,” Mr. Frank said, “and I do think the Globes tend to look toward newer shows.”
NBC garnered six nominations for the 2005 awards, down from 10 nominations last year. Pedowitz said the nominations reflect the transition of the programming landscape.
“It’s the changing of the guard,” he said. “It’s now a whole new generation of television.”
The Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s recognition of newcomers did include a handful of other broadcast projects. Among debuting series on the broadcast networks, Christine Lahti scored a best actress in a drama nomination for her work in The WB’s political family series “Jack & Bobby,” the netlet’s sole nomination. James Spader, who won an Emmy this year for playing the ethically challenged attorney Alan Shore on the final season of “The Practice,” was nominated for the same role in “Practice” creator David E. Kelley’s freshman series “Boston Legal.” The same is true for William Shatner, who won an Emmy playing lawyer Denny Crane last season on “The Practice” and is now nominated in the supporting actor category for his work on “Legal.”
In addition, Matt LeBlanc got a best actor in a musical or comedy nod for his role in the first-season “Friends” spinoff “Joey.” “Matt has created a great character in `Joey,”‘ Mr. Frank said, pointing out the value of Golden Globe recognition. “I’m sure it is something we will use in promoting the show as we go forward.”
Fox scored three nominations, including a best actor in a musical or comedy nod for “Arrested Development’s” Jason Bateman. Ratings leader CBS, which is No.1 for the season in total viewers and which has been beating NBC in the coveted 18 to 49 demographic, garnered two nominations: a best actor nod for Charlie Sheen in the comedy “Two and a Half Men” and a best actress in a miniseries or TV movie nomination for Blythe Danner for her work in the TV movie “Back When We Were Grownups.”
The 62nd Annual Golden Globe Awards will be televised Sunday, Jan. 16, at 8 p.m. (ET) on NBC.