TV Column

December 13, 2012

Love ’em or hate ’em, the folks at the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which hands out the Golden Globe Awards each year, love to cozy up to new TV programming during trophy-show season.

If you’re a TV series, you might prefer the Emmys or the Screen Actors Guild Awards, where landing a nomination is kind of like getting tenure.

At the Globes, however, you can be the hottest chick at the party one year and out in the cold the next.

Fortunately, we’re not a TV series — we’re viewers who appreciate the Globes for what it is: the least-mind-numbingly-redundant dispenser of TV-show trophies.

Take, for instance, this year’s Globe nominees for best comedy or musical series, which were announced Thursday.

Three of the five nominees were not in the running last year, and the new contenders include two freshman series: HBO’s “Girls” and NBC’s “Smash.” Bye-bye, 2010 and 2011 Globe winner “Glee”!

The only returning nominees to this category are last year’s winner, “Modern Family,” and Matt LeBlanc’s “Episodes.” Also “new” to the category is “The Big Bang Theory,” which was nominated earlier in its run but has recently fallen out of favor.

“Everyone who is involved with ‘Smash,’ whether on the outskirts or at the epicenter, is thrilled and dancing in the aisles this morning on this wonderful news,” “Smash” exec producer Steven Spielberg said Thursday.

“I’m absolutely thrilled to be in such wonderful company and to be honored by the HFPA,” “Smash” actress Katharine McPhee chimed in — which is odd since she did not receive a Globe nomination for best performance by an actress in a comedy or musical series.

Lena Dunham, creator/star of “Girls,” on the other hand, did. Ditto Julia Louis-Dreyfus, the star of HBO’s new “Veep.”

Likewise, in the race for best drama series, only two of last year’s contenders are back: HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire” and last year’s winner, “Homeland,” from Showtime (which also secured acting noms for leads Damian Lewis, Claire Danes and Mandy Patinkin).

Bye-bye, “Mad Men”! (Actually, “Men,” which won the best drama series Globe in 2008, ’09 and ’10, also sat out Globe competition last January because it did not air during the eligibility period. This time, however, “Mad” was eligible.)

Instead of “Mad Men,” the HFPA has nominated the HBO freshman show “Newsroom.” One day earlier, the Aaron Sorkin newsroom drama got snubbed by the Screen Actors Guild, failing to land a best-drama nom — though SAG did give “Newsroom” star Jeff Daniels a best-performance nomination. Daniels also landed a Globe nom.

Among the newly nominated for a best-drama Globe: PBS’s “Downton Abbey,” which won the Globe for best miniseries last January, for its freshman season.

“Downton” successfully morphed from miniseries to drama series. Conversely, the self-inflicted genre transformation of FX’s “American Horror Story” from drama series to miniseries doesn’t seem to have panned out too well, Globe-wise. “AHS” secured a nomination for best drama series at the last round of Globe competition. But this time, as a miniseries, it failed to secure a best-of-genre nomination.

Instead, the HFPA nominated HBO’s Sarah Palin story “Game Change,” HBO’s Alfred Hitchcock-savaging “The Girl,” History channel’s “Hatfields & McCoys,” USA network’s Washington fantasy “Political Animals” and BBC America’s “The Hour” (about a ’50s BBC newsmag).

As at the SAG noms one day earlier, the only Globe nomination for “AHS” went to Jessica Lange, who this time is up for best actress in a miniseries/telefilm.

“Game Change” is the most-Globe-nominated program, with a tally of five, including acting nods to Julianne Moore, Woody Harrelson, Sarah Paulson and Ed Harris.

The Reporters Who Cover Television made much Thursday of the fact that, once again, there are no freshman broadcast-network series in the running for best drama series. The Reporters noted that this annual snub has gone on since the HFPA recognized NBC’s “Heroes” way back in 2006.

This is a word game because, of course, NBC’s “Smash” is a drama series. It’s just got music.

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