Emmy Spotlight 2007: Drama Series

Jun 4, 2007  •  Post A Comment

In anticipation of the 2007 Emmy nominations for drama series, cable shows are getting the buzz this year, from the hotly anticipated final season of “The Sopranos” to FX newcomer “The Riches.”
“Cable shows are the ones that tend to be the most unique,” said Bill Carroll, VP and director of programming at Katz Television. “What they bring to the table is an ability to explore without having the concerns of commercial restraints that the networks have. The cable shows tend to be, for lack of a better word, more adult.”
“The Sopranos,” which made its final comeback this year after an 18-month hiatus, has already accumulated a huge number of awards. But insiders are divided in their opinion as to whether this Emmy season will cap the HBO show’s illustrious run. Brad Adgate, senior VP of research at Horizon Media, said Emmy voters could tap “The Sopranos” in recognition of its end.
Mr. Carroll agreed. “You have to assume that in the final year, ‘The Sopranos’ will get a nomination,” he said. “That’s almost a given. You get the nod that last year as a salute or sendoff.”
But showbiz expert Bill Tush, retired CNN senior entertainment correspondent, thinks otherwise. “‘The Sopranos’ this year will be overlooked,” he said. “I still feel that it is an entertaining show to watch, but they’ve gotten awards for so many years.”
Mr. Carroll was bullish on “The Riches,” starring Minnie Driver and Eddie Izzard, which centers around a clan of crooks who assume the identities of an upper-middle-class family. “Usually there is one nomination that falls into the area of the new, edgier kind of show,” he said. “And ‘The Riches’ falls into that category.”
“The Shield” is an FX network favorite for Mr. Adgate. “It defines the network,” he said. “It’s always good for some industry recognition.”
Jill Rosengard Hill, vice president at Frank N. Magid Associates, pointed to Showtime’s “The Tudors” as “the only strong new cable show that might be considered for best drama.”
Other industry experts see TNT’s “The Closer” as a sure thing. “It’s unbelievably hot,” said Mr. Tush.
Other cable shows mentioned as possibilities include FX’s “Nip/Tuck,” which won a 2005 Golden Globe Award for TV series-drama, the ever-popular “Rescue Me” and, more of a long shot, HBO’s “Big Love,” which garnered a 2007 Golden Globe nomination for TV series-drama.
Despite the proliferation of cable shows in the top picks, a handful of network shows are strong contenders. Industry experts were unanimous in pointing to Fox’s “House” as a shoo-in.
“‘House’ is very critically acclaimed,” said Mr. Adgate. “It’s become a real destination program for a lot of people, and ratings are way up.”
Mr. Tush agreed. “‘House’ is fantastic,” he said. The quirky medical drama, which has garnered a long list of awards for lead actor Hugh Laurie, was nominated for a 2006 Emmy as outstanding drama series.
Other medical dramas include ensemble shows “Grey’s Anatomy” and “ER.” Insiders believe that “ER” will be passed up, with the sole possibility of Forest Whitaker grabbing a nomination as guest actor, drama.
“Grey’s Anatomy” is another story. “I don’t think they’ll ignore it, given its success,” said Mr. Carroll.
A newcomer that’s high on everyone’s list is ABC’s “Brothers and Sisters,” an ensemble focusing on the interactions of adult siblings. “It is a compelling, relevant, fun show to watch,” said Ms. Rosengard Hill. “I don’t think it’s as smart as ’24’ or ‘The West Wing,’ but I think it has mass appeal.”
Another newcomer, NBC’s “Friday Night Lights,” hasn’t excelled in the ratings, but it comes in strong on critical acclaim.
NBC’s “Heroes,” which got a Golden Globe nomination, may also get a nod, although some experts point out that sci-fi shows usually are ignored by Emmy voters.
“I think ‘Battlestar Galatica’ will get cold-shouldered,” said Ms. Rosengard Hill. “But ‘Heroes’ has mass appeal.”
The year is notable for the shows that industry experts believe will be ignored, including any of the “Law & Order” series; the once-hot “24,” which many critics found to be less than original; and “Lost.”
“‘Lost’ is … lost,” said Mr. Tush. “I think people got tired of watching where everyone came from and where they were going.”
Even the popular “CSI” franchise didn’t light a fire under our critics, except for a lone voice of approval. “‘CSI: Miami’ will be nominated,” said Mr. Tush, pointing to lead actor David Caruso’s successful comeback.
One of the toughest tasks of this year’s Emmy nominating committee will be simply to be aware of and watch all the TV drama series. “There used to be three networks and maybe six dramas,” said Mr. Tush. “Today, even the Emmy voters probably don’t know what to vote on, because I guarantee you they don’t know all that’s out there.”
At a Glance
Leading Contender
The Sopranos (HBO)
Other Likely Nominees
House (Fox)
Grey’s Anatomy (ABC)
The Closer (TNT)
The Shield (FX)
Hot Newcomers
Heroes (NBC)
Friday Night Lights (NBC)
Brothers and Sisters (ABC)
The Riches (FX)
The Tudors (Showtime)
Deserves a Nomination But Won’t Get One: Battlestar Galactica (Sci Fi)

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