Broadcast Is King at Golden Globes

Jan 23, 2006  •  Post A Comment

By Christopher Lisotta and Jon Lafayette

The broadcast networks, particularly ABC, came out on top at the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s annual Golden Globe Awards Jan. 16, eking out a majority of wins over cable offerings.

ABC took home four statuettes, giving the broadcaster the honor of having the most wins, overshadowing last year’s top winner, HBO, which this year collected three awards.

CBS, Fox and Showtime won one award each.

In 2005 the positions were switched. HBO won four Globes and ABC won three. The success of ABC this year and last stands in stark contrast to both 2003 and 2004, when the broadcaster won no awards, and HBO, driven by now-retired series such as “Sex and the City” and “Six Feet Under” and high-profile miniseries such as “Angels in America,” won seven Globe statuettes.

The Golden Globes, the only major award show where feature film stars and television personalities are honored at the same ceremony, has been an NBC staple for years. Usually scheduled for a Sunday night in January, this year the ceremony moved to a Monday to avoid a ratings battle with ABC’s “Housewives”-driven Sunday schedule. The move appears to have paid off, with viewership for the 2006 Globes improving over last year’s show, which was the lowest-rated telecast in NBC’s 11-year history of airing the ceremony.

At last week’s ceremony, ABC’s sophomore-season plane crash mystery series “Lost” won its first Golden Globe for best TV drama series, while the network’s Sunday night behemoth, “Desperate Housewives,” scored its second win in a row for best TV comedy series. In addition, Geena Davis scored a best actress in a drama series win for the freshman series “Commander in Chief,” and Sandra Oh won for supporting actress in a drama for “Grey’s Anatomy,” rounding out ABC’s tally.

After thanking the Hollywood Foreign Press for “the consideration and the open bar” in his acceptance speech, “Lost” co-creator and executive producer Damon Lindelof said the complicated and sometimes confusing show is “an exercise in faith.”

Backstage, Marc Cherry, the creator and executive producer of “Housewives,” addressed some critics’ suggestion the show started its second season slowly and below the quality level fans of the series came to expect last season.

“We were having to set the wheels in motion again, but we were building to some great stuff,” Mr. Cherry said, adding, “It’s one of those things that’s a nice vindication, but it’s also … a reminder that … our show is a roller coaster. … Sometimes it takes a while to get to the juicy stuff, but when we get there, it’s worth the wait.”

The big upset was Mary-Louise Parker’s win for best actress in a comedy series for her role as a suburban-widow-and-soccer mom-turned-pot-dealer on Showtime’s “Weeds.” Ms. Parker bested the four “Desperate Housewives” stars, who accounted for the rest of category’s nominations.

Speaking to reporters backstage, Ms. Parker said she was as surprised as anyone by her win and expected “Housewives'” Felicity Huffman to walk away with the award (Ms. Huffman did win at the Globes for her role in the feature film “Transamerica”).

“We were all kind of desperate housewives, so mine was just a little more desperate than theirs were,” she said.

HBO won the best miniseries or motion picture made for TV Globe for “Empire Falls,” while no-show Paul Newman won a best supporting actor statuette for his work in the project. HBO’s third win was for S. Epatha Merkerson’s performance in the TV movie “Lackawanna Blues.”

The fact that the Globes ceremony was being held on Martin Luther King Jr. Day was particularly special, Ms. Merkerson said, noting that when she works on her NBC series “Law & Order” she always asks for the day off.

“What the Civil Rights Movement did was that it allowed me to be what I wanted to be,” she said, before chastising reporters for asking such an emotional question.

“Y’all going to make me cry, and I’m trying to be cute,” she said.

Among other winners, Steve Carell won for best actor in a musical or comedy for his role as an insufferable middle manager in NBC’s adaptation of the BBC-produced Golden Globe winner “The Office.” Hugh Laurie took home the Globe for best actor in a drama series for his title role as a mercurial doctor in Fox’s “House.”

Backstage, Mr. Laurie noted that Dr. House would not be terribly impressed with the award.

“Dr. House as a character … has no time for the earthly trappings,” Mr. Laurie said.