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Old 08-19-2010, 04:03 AM   #1
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Rookie series rock the Emmys

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Rookie series rock the Emmys
It was a nod to the new and not much of a sendoff to the old that best describes the selection of 500-odd contenders for Emmy statuettes unveiled before dawn Thursday by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.
The spunky Fox comedy-musical "Glee" and the off-kilter comedy "Modern Family" -- also produced by Fox but airing on ABC -- muscled their way into the key nomination categories, leading a number of fresh entrants into what in recent years had become a predictable parade of Emmy hopefuls.
Those two and several other mainstream newcomers to the fray also helped rebalance the scales between broadcast network fare and cable contenders, with the former contingent coming away with 247 total noms to cablers' 240.
The unflinching World War II mini "The Pacific," racked up the most noms for a single entry with 24, but its only competition is a well-mannered British period piece called "Return to Cranford" in what is a dwindling category of longform miniseries entries.
After sifting through the entirety of the 99 categories, the noms suggest a wider pool of outlets in which the 16,000-odd Academy voters fished for creative excellence -- and a preference, be it subconscious or not, for shows with multigenerational appeal.
"I think voters did notice the amazing writing and creative talent that is coming into the business," ATAS chairman and CEO John Shaffner said. "You can feel it in the diversity of shows out there and the subject matter that is being tackled."
Like their counterparts at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, TV voters are responding to pressure to be less stodgy and/or esoteric in their tastes and a little braver and broader in their choices. There was no "Sons of Anarchy" or "Californication," mind you, but a noticeable degree of hipness and heterogeneity is in the panoply of players vying for trophies.
When noms for the 62nd Primetime Emmy Awards were unveiled at 5:40 a.m. PT, the two Fox-produced newcomers came away with mentions in the best comedy category. In the case of "Glee," best comedy actor and actress noms went to Matthew Morrison and Lea Michele.
Both shows scored in the supporting categories as well, with "Glee" racking up 19 total noms and "Modern Family" 14.
"It is a great affirmation for these two breakout shows, coming off the groundswell of public acclaim for them and the syndication deals we just concluded last week for them," Fox Television chairman Gary Newman said.
Newman added that cable clearly has led the way in raising the bar during the past decade and was justifiably rewarded for its efforts, but now broadcast has "gotten the message." If you don't take "bold and distinctive steps creatively," he said, "you simply won't be rewarded by the audience."
"Glee" producer/writer/director/co-creator Ryan Murphy returned the compliment. "In no world should this show have worked," he said. "There's never been a musical comedy on that's worked, and Fox got behind us from the start."
The other freshman broadcast series to make the cut in top races was CBS' "The Good Wife," nominated for best drama and drama actress (Julianna Margulies).
"The series is not in everyone's comfort zone," said Robert King, the show's co-exec producer. "It's a serialized show, yet there's self-contained stories in each episode. I hope these nominations create more shows like this."
The heretofore snubbed critical darling "Friday Night Lights" also pleased the assembled with its best actor noms for leads Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton, suggesting that the academy was making up for past sins of omission.
Those achievements follow last year's breakthrough by Seth MacFarlane's "Family Guy," which wrested for the first time in 50 years a slot for animation in the best comedy series. The show did not repeat -- in fact, it didn't even get a nom for best animated series.
Among others with happy faces Thursday were Jane Lynch, a double-barreled threat with noms for her off-the-wall performance as a cheerleader instructor in "Glee" and her guest appearance on "Two and a Half Men"; Amy Poehler, for her role as a ditzy city operative in "Parks and Recreation"; Sharon Gless for her turn in USA's "Burn Notice"; and the irrepressible 88-year-old Betty White, whose whirlwind of a year now includes a nom for her stint as "Saturday Night Live" host.
The team at "SNL" has to be happy with its haul of 12 citations. Its overall total of 126 beat the previous record of 124 held by drama "ER."
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