Ahead of Golden Globe awards, lots of drama but few quality choices

Post TV columnist Lisa de Moraes weighs in on this year's Golden Globe Awards nominations for Best Television Series.
By Lisa de Moraes
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, December 13, 2010; 9:18 PM

Nominations for Golden Globe Awards - that annual midseason shot in the arm for TV networks - will be announced Tuesday morning by NBC's made-for-TV POTUS Blair Underwood ("The Event"), Interchangeable Pretty Boy Actor Josh Duhamel and Mrs. Tom Cruise (a.k.a. Katie Holmes).

They will unveil the Globes's TV and film nominations at 8 a.m.-ish EST; the coverage will be carried on the morning infotainment shows including, of course, the "Today" show, which airs on NBC - which has exclusive broadcast rights to the Globes.

Count on FX's "Rescue Me" to receive zero nominations, given that its executive producer Peter Tolan just last week called the organization that puts on the Globes - the Hollywood Foreign Press Association - "a group of [women of ill repute]" who "can be bought." That was closely followed by a report on the Web site Showbiz 411 that seven HFPA members have taken credited roles in Sofia Coppola's newest movie, "Somewhere." Won't it be fun to see how many nominations "Somewhere" gets Tuesday morning?

On the bright side, the HFPA is also known for embracing freshman TV series with sizzle, in contrast to the hidebound Academy of Television Arts & Sciences that puts on the Primetime Emmy Awards.

That said, looking across the TV landscape, you'd be hard-pressed to find freshman shows that could entice even the HFPA. "Hellcats"? "$#*! My Dad Says"? "The Event"? Really?

Only two newbies really stand out as best-series contenders: AMC's new zombie drama "The Walking Dead" and HBO's exec-produced-by-Martin-Scorsese Prohibition saga "Boardwalk Empire." Both are considered shoo-ins by TV industry pundits.

Besides being suspected of favoring flicks that give them credited roles, the HFPA is also known to favor TV series in which foreign thespians have prominent roles, which would work in favor of "Boardwalk Empire," which stars, among others, Scottish actress Kelly Macdonald, who plays Margaret Schroeder, the sweet widow-turned-moll for Steve Buscemi's kingpin.

And of course, Fox's "Glee" and AMC's "Mad Men" are expected to be players at the 68th annual Globes competition, which NBC will broadcast live on both coasts Jan. 16. "Mad Men" is a three-time winner in the competition for best drama series, and "Glee" is the most recent Globe honoree for best comedy/musical series.

And don't count out NBC's "The Office." Its creator, Ricky Gervais, is hosting the Globes ceremony again this year, and we're amid Steve Carell's final season on the U.S. version. These things matter to HFPA.

NBC sings a new tune

While the press has been busy navel-lint-gazing over the whole "American Idol" vs. Simon Cowell's "The X Factor" kerfuffle shaping up at Fox, NBC went and pulled a fast one Monday. The network announced that it would get the jump on Cowell's show, having landed U.S. broadcast rights to a Dutch singing competition format called "The Voice of Holland" that will debut here in the spring of '11.

"The X Factor" isn't scheduled to premiere on Fox until fall of '11.

The new reality series (working title: "Voice of America") will be produced by Mark Burnett - of "Survivor," "The Apprentice" and "Sarah Palin's Alaska" fame - and John de Mol, who created the show's Dutch format and executive-produces that version. De Mol's also the guy to hold responsible for "Big Brother" and "Fear Factor."

NBC noted that the original version of its new reality series has displaced that country's version of "Idol" and "The X Factor" and is now the most-watched talent show in Dutch TV history.

This new show will feature four "celebrity artists," each of whom coaches a team of singers throughout the competition. Wannabes will be eliminated, and yes, viewers get to participate in the elimination, until each celebrity has just one team member left. Those four singers will battle in a live finale to win the crown "the Voice of America" - or whatevs - and land a recording contract.

But every singing competition's gotta get a gimmick. On this one, the gag goes like this: The initial audition process will be "blind" - the celebrity artist/coaches can hear the singers but cannot see them.

"This show truly focuses on amazing voices," NBC's alternative-programming exec veep Paul Telegdy said in Monday's announcement.

"As soon as we saw the Dutch format, we knew this was completely different and really exciting."

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