Critics Have Spoken: 'Earl' and 'Office' Are In, 'Housewives' Are Out

The NBC series
The NBC series "The Office," nominated by TV critics as best program of the year as well as best comedy. (By Paul Drinkwater -- Nbc Universal)
By Lisa de Moraes
Friday, June 2, 2006

Television critics have jilted their former sweetie "Desperate Housewives," which last year they crowned the best television series.

"DH" received nary a nomination for the 22nd Annual Television Critics Association Awards.

Critics showered fourth-place NBC with 10 nominations -- the most of any network -- six of which are split between the comedies "My Name Is Earl" and "The Office."

They totally nicked CBS, the country's most watched network -- are you sensing the critic-viewer disconnect? -- with two nominations, and those for aged "Hallmark Hall of Fame" and "60 Minutes."

Former critics' darling HBO had to settle for just four nominations this time around. That's the It's Not TV network's puniest haul in a while. Most of those noms went to "The Sopranos," though "Big Love" is in the running for new program of the year.

Though critics write volumes about the end of comedy on television, they seem to be pretty optimistic about the genre: Three of the five nominees for best new program are comedies -- or five, if, like some of my friends, you think "Big Love" and Fox's "Prison Break" are hilarious.

The other nominees in that derby are Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report," UPN's "Everybody Hates Chris" and NBC's aforementioned "Earl."

The mostly male TCA membership did not show much love to women this year. Only two actresses received nominations: Lauren Graham of "Gilmore Girls" for best comedy performance and Kyra Sedgwick of TNT's "The Closer" for best drama performance.

Graham hasn't a prayer against Steve Carell of "The Office," Stephen Colbert of "The Colbert Report," Jason Lee of "Earl" and Jon Stewart of Comedy Central's "The Daily Show" -- partly because Graham isn't in a comedy, of which TCA was once aware, back at the turn of the century, when they nominated her series in the best-drama derby.

But last year "Gilmore Girls" was nominated for best comedy series and this year there's Graham's nom for comedic performance. Either this show's gotten funnier or the critics' sense of humor has gotten darker.

Sedgwick hasn't a much better chance against Alan Alda of NBC's "The West Wing," James Gandolfini of "The Sopranos," Hugh Laurie of Fox's "House" and Kiefer Sutherland of Fox's "24."

Replacing "Desperate Housewives" as best program of the year will be ABC's "Grey's Anatomy" or "Lost," "The Office," "The Sopranos" or "24."

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