Will the broadcast networks be shut out of Lead & Supporting Actor in Drama Series?

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  • outsider
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    #249357

    Last year, the broadcast networks were shut out of Writing and Directing in a Drama Series. This had happened before in the Writing category but it was a first for Directing.

    As cable continues to produce original, exciting and challenging drama series, the broadcast networks seem to lag behind for various reasons. They will still have a presence in the Drama Series category thanks to “The Good Wife” or “Downton Abbey” but history might be made in two other categories.

    Hugh Laurie is broadcast television’s only hope for a nomination in Lead Actor in a Drama Series, but this year he’s on extremely shaky ground. If he fails to receive a nomination, it will be the first time the category is made up of cable actors. This happened at the recent Golden Globe and SAG Awards and it could be a signal that the era of great leading male performances on broadcast television is coming to an end.

    In Supporting Actor in a Drama Series, Josh Charles and especially Alan Cumming could come back but the category is so crowded and competitive that they could be easily left out. They seem to be the only viable contenders from the broadcast networks. Robert Carlyle is amazing in “Once Upon a Time” but apparently his name hasn’t been included in the discussion.

    What does everyone think? Will cable dominate these categories? Is this development surprising? Can broadcast make a strong comeback in the future?

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    Andrew Eng
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    #249359

    I agree for Lead Actor. The competition is just too tough for Laurie to get back in, IMO. Like you said, the GG and SAG snubs are telling. However, I do think Cumming makes it back in, but only just. If he doesn’t, it won’t be a surprise as there any many contenders for his slot; Charles, Goggins, McDonough, Baker, Goodman, Nolte, Braugher, Pitt, Harris, Kartheiser etc. Dinklage, Paul, and Esposito are locks, while Slattery and Patinkin are safe. Like you, I wish Carlyle was in the discussion, as he is OUAT’s best shot for a major nomination, and if he gets in it will be deserved.

    If broadcast wishes to make a comeback in any drama category, then they will have to produce shows that are good enough to get recognized (like 24, Lost, and FNL, for starters).

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    eastwest
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    #249360

    What a great topic! That is amazing that this would be a first for that category (lead). I am still predicting Hugh Laurie to get a final nomination, but I do agree that he’s on shaky ground.

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    Guest2014
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    #249361

    Mark Harmon should be a candidate for the NCIS episode ‘Life Before His Eyes’, the series’ 100th episode, and he acted his ass off in it. 

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    G.Penn
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    #249362

    Part of the problem and why this will continue to happen is right all of the Broadcast drama nominations are essentially coming from one show – The Good Wife. There used to be a number of potential drama series that were worthy and had great performances as well. Those days are gone, really. I don’t think it’s a huge deal, it sort of reminds me of how FOX would have trouble getting into the drama categories, where as CBS, NBC, and ABC were all dominating it in the 90s.

    But then, it’s not that difficult to figure out why. There are alot of great concepts for series on network television. The problem is that they have to stretch it out for 22 episodes – which leads to filler episodes – whereas cable only has 10-13 episodes a season, meaning only the best ideas make the cut. This makes their seasons really tight and really strong.

    Also, a lot of talent is heading to cable. I mean, Aaron Sorkin is, to me, the quintessential network television writer and his new show is on cable. His shows really don’t deal with content that can’t be on network television (whereas something like the Sopranos or even Nip/Tuck needed to be on cable). A lot of talent behind the scenes is being wooed to cable.

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    Riley
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    #249363

    Hmm, I did not realize that I was predicting only cable for drama series, drama lead actor and drama supporting actor.

    Good catch!

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    Cathy V
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    #249364

    I know I’m beating a dead horse, but I dearly wish that John Noble would be in the conversation for supporting.  But I know it ain’t gonna happen 🙁

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    Daniel Montgomery
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    #249365

    But then, it’s not that difficult to figure out why. There are alot of great concepts for series on network television. The problem is that they have to stretch it out for 22 episodes – which leads to filler episodes – whereas cable only has 10-13 episodes a season, meaning only the best ideas make the cut. This makes their seasons really tight and really strong.

    Also, a lot of talent is heading to cable. I mean, Aaron Sorkin is, to me, the quintessential network television writer and his new show is on cable. His shows really don’t deal with content that can’t be on network television (whereas something like the Sopranos or even Nip/Tuck needed to be on cable). A lot of talent behind the scenes is being wooed to cable.

    I don’t think the problem is necessarily the length of seasons on broadcast networks. I think the priorities have shifted rapidly in the last 10 years. There isn’t as much ambition, and when there is, it’s either forced into an easily digestible procedural format, or no one watches it, or both (poor, mishandled “Awake”).

    So you’ll get tons of shows that follow the “case of the week + gimmick” formula (i.e. “Unforgettable” = police case of the week + she remembers everything), and other shows that only want to copy the success of one that came before (i.e. “The Event” and “FlashForward,” which both wanted so badly to be the next “Lost”). I think that’s why so much talent has gone to cable. The broadcast networks are littered with the bones of good, unique shows that couldn’t attract a wide enough audience for their networks (see also: “Lone Star,” “Dollhouse,” and “Friday Night Lights,” the last of which was only saved thanks to DirecTV), so TV’s auteurs (like Sorkin, Milch, Simon, Gilligan, Weiner) are increasingly choosing cable.

    There seems to be a creative freedom and room to grow there that you don’t find in the rigidly ratings-focused nets. These days, there are tons of new cable dramas that start out slow and then build in popularity over time (“Mad Men,” “Breaking Bad,” “Game of Thrones,” “Justified,” “True Blood”). There are virtually no examples of that on the trigger-happy networks anymore. And even shows that are never big ratings grabbers have a chance to survive where they probably wouldn’t on the nets (“Southland,” “Treme,” “Boss”).

    So if the broadcast networks struggle in the drama categories at the Emmys, I think it’s mostly a reflection of their creative priorities.

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    GoMe91
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    #249366

    I think networks don’t give shows a chance to grow anymore. That’s why more and more people are going to cable. Lone Star didn’t look like a great show to me, but did FOX have to cancel it after 2 episodes? Especially considering the good reviews?

    If I had a new show, the first places I would go are cable networks. I would even try Lifetime before I went to NBC. If networks want to be well represented at the Emmys, they’d give potentially great shows more time to develop and gain an audience before taking it off. If all they care about is money and ratings, then they can’t complain if they don’t get any Emmy nominations. We all know that nowadays, shows that slowly find an audience turn out to be the best. That’s because those shows are the most daring and different (like Breaking Bad!)

    I’m not like a “cable snob”. My favorite drama and comedy is on a network. But I do think that new shows (with some exceptions like the awful “Work it”) should be given a full season at least. That way, more TV creators will feel more comfortable putting their quality work in the hands of a network. 

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    BTN
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    #249367

    Few of these people are as good as Simon Baker. Why can’t he get back? Because he is on a procedural.

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    outsider
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    #249368

    Ha ha! Was I wrong or what? Broadcast television is still present in Drama Series, Lead Actor & Supporting Actor and it’s all thanks to a tidal wave of support for “Downton Abbey”.

    PBS is not among the big broadcast networks but it’s certainly not a cable network. It’s free and you don’t have to pay to watch it. You can donate of course but that isn’t a requirement to watch.

    Still, it’s amazing that the four networks that air the annual Emmy telecast have been shut out of these categories. It’s also sad for ABC/ CBS/ NBC because they have had such a rich history here.

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    BTN
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    #249369

    PBS is not what people mean when they say broadcast networks so the number really is zero.

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    Guest2014
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    #249370

    Few of these people are as good as Simon Baker. Why can’t he get back? Because he is on a procedural.

    Doesn’t pass the smell test; Mariska Hargitay was on a procedural and she got the Kaczmarek treatment, nomination after nomination long past her character’s expiration date, quality-wise.

    More and more of this general sentiment I’m finding on message boards today:

    “I think the Emmys should separate the cable shows from those of free TV; I mean, I’m happy for cable shows sweeping almost every category but it doesn’t mean the free TV shows are not good.”

    Or just expand your horizons, ATAS; there IS quality drama series on the broadcast networks that’s begging to be seen, as soon as you drop your biases against them. 

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    BTN
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    #249371

    But the SVU writers really went out of their way to create Emmy material for actors. You don’t see that on The Mentalist. The idea that the show gets turned over to actors just so they can do proper Emmy acting to get awards.

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    221BSam
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    #249372

    That was a really interesting thread to read, we just don’t have these kinds of entertainment tussles in England, I too think Robert Carlyle should have been nominated, I love ‘Once’ , the reason being he plays two characters extremely well. This network vs cable drama is interesting to an outsider.

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