It's Not Just HBO For '05 Emmys
Broadcasters helped by Housewives and Lost
By Jim Benson -- Broadcasting & Cable, 7/17/2005 8:00:00 PM
Network television made something of a comeback with this year's Emmy nominations, a welcome respite after spending years getting trounced by pay cable's HBO in the most coveted categories.
When the nominations were handed out last week, the most-talked-about nominees were ABC's critical and ratings darlings Desperate Housewives and Lost.
HBO, which has benefited greatly from the recognition it has received for its stash of Emmys over the years once again led the tally board with 93 nominations, but that was down from 124 last year. That was still far more than any broadcast network. But the gap has narrowed. Last season, the commercial broadcast networks combined had 179 nominations. This year, they have 218.
HBO's winning margin is due in large part to the success of its TV movies. The Life and Death of Peter Sellers and Warm Springs each collected 16 nods to top all nominees. Among series its drama Deadwood received 11.
HBO was shut out of the Outstanding Comedy category for the first time in 13 years, with Emmy nominators omitting Entourage. Other HBO powerhouses were not in the running: The Sopranos (20 nominations) didn't air during the season, Sex and the City (11) is history, and Curb Your Enthusiasm (eight) aired outside the voting period.
Housewives tied NBC's Will & Grace, garnering a series-leading 15 nominations each, and both were nominated for Outstanding Comedy. The show about Wisteria Lane is the odds-on favorite to win, and Lost, with a dozen nods including Outstanding Drama, could make the Sept. 18 awards show a nice black-tie event for ABC.
It wasn't last year, when ABC's Emmy telecast slumped to a 4.2 rating in the 18-49 demo, from a 7.1 in 2003 on Fox. This year, rotating to CBS, the awards show will be jazzed up and quickened. And with really popular shows dominating the major nominations, Emmy's numbers may improve.
“I'm really glad to see Lost and Desperate Housewives nominated, just because they were so popular and they were so good,” says Dick Askin, president of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (ATAS), which produces the Emmy telecast. “If they hadn't been nominated, we would have had some explaining to do in terms of why not, as they seem to be universally acclaimed.”
Not all favorites were so lucky. CBS has a schedule of dominating CSI dramas, none of which were nominated for the top drama award. None of NBC's Law & Order shows are on the Outstanding Drama Series ballot, either, although Law & Order SVU's Mariska Hargitay was nominated in the Lead Actress category. Lots of critics think FX deserved some snaps for Rescue Me, Nip/Tuck and The Shield. (Glenn Close got a Lead Actress nomination for The Shield.)
The Big Four broadcast networks were bunched tightly together. CBS got 59 nominations; Fox, 49. Although NBC had a bad year in the ratings, it walked away with 54 nominations, down from 65 last year. ABC finished with 51, jumping from 33 last year. UPN garnered three, and The WB took two. PBS had 23. (Twenty-four cable networks were nominated.)
In the end, though, it was Housewives and Lost that drove the broadcast momentum. That wasn't exactly a surprise, but, for broadcast networks that have been the butt of Emmy jokes for most of this decade, last week's nominations were a victory in themselves.
|EMMY Top 10|
|Nominations by network|
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