Tuesday, May 21, 2013
The Associated Press
LOS ANGELES - "Mad Men" is on the brink of making Emmy drama series history, Lena Dunham's comedy "Girls" is the buzz du jour, and both are on cable.
MAINERS AMONG EMMY NOMINATIONS
Two Mainers are among the TV stars whose performances or shows were nominated for this year's annual Emmy Awards.
The list of nominees was released early Thursday and includes Glenn Close in the category of lead actress in a drama series for her role in the DirecTV series "Damages."
Close and her husband -- Idexx Laboratories founder David Shaw -- have a home overlooking the ocean on Prouts Neck in Scarborough.
Nominated for outstanding comedy series is the HBO show "Veep," which stars Julia Louis-Dreyfus as the vice president and features Readfield native Tim Simons as a White House liaison.
Simons, a University of Maine graduate, is not nominated for his individual performance.
The Emmy Awards will be given out on Sept. 23, and the ceremony will be seen live on ABC at 8 p.m. "Veep," which went on the air this year, is Simons' first big break in TV and has not been involved with an Emmy nomination before.
Close has won the Emmy for "Damages" twice before, in 2008 and 2009. She has also been nominated for six Oscars for film roles, but has never won. She lost out on an Oscar this year for her starring role in "Albert Nobbs."
Another Mainer was also nominated for an Emmy on Thursday, though not as a performer. Biddeford native Chrisi Karvonides, a costume designer, was nominated in the category of outstanding costumes for a miniseries, movie or special for her work on "American Horror Story" on FX.
-- Staff Writer Ray Routhier
As Thursday's nominations proved, the gap between cable and the broadcast networks is stunningly wide and only getting wider.
Five out of six best drama series slots were claimed by cable shows, both premium and basic, with the sixth going to PBS. Networks, which had controlled the comedy genre last year, lost fully half of that turf to "Girls," "Veep" and "Curb Your Enthusiasm," all HBO.
Not a single actor in a network drama series earned a lead or supporting bid for September's Emmy Awards.
Cable channels offer so much awards-caliber programming that even theatrical films, increasingly dependent on action films and adolescent comedies, can look shabby in comparison.
Dunham, who made a splash with her indie film "Tiny Furniture," breathed life into the TV sitcom with "Girls," a darkly comedic coming-of-age New York story on HBO. It received a best comedy nod and acting, writing and directing nominations for her.
History Channel moved into scripted fare in a big way with its "Hatfields & McCoy," starring Kevin Costner, which earned solid reviews and spectacular ratings this spring and 16 nods Thursday.
The miniseries was the most-watched entertainment telecast ever on basic cable, drawing about 13 million each for its first two parts and hitting a high of 14.3 million for its third chapter. The best the networks had to offer that week: NBC's "America's Got Talent," seen by 11.5 million people.
Networks increasingly rely on talent contests and sports, programming that invites live viewing and means fewer people will record the airings and skip commercials. News magazines, relatively cheap to produce, have been another broadcast staple.
Scripted series, whether drama or comedy, tend to be formulaic -- which certainly doesn't mean unpopular. CBS is the most-watched network on the strength of crime dramas including "NCIS," "CSI" and their spinoffs.
But innovation is coming from shows like "Mad Men," which earned a leading 17 Emmy nominations and the chance to earn its fifth best drama award and set a new record as the most-honored drama in television history.