You know what TV critics really hate?


Not that they think much of CBS. But they spit on NBC.

We learned this looking over the list of nominees for the 2005 Television Critics Association Awards.

Out of 51 nominations in 10 categories, NBC snagged a pathetic two and one is for a program that's nearly 60 years old, for goodness sake -- "Meet the Press" -- while the other is for the creaky old, formerly funny "Saturday Night Live."

CBS, on the other hand, received four nominations, including two for "Everybody Loves Raymond" because it's that show's last chance, one for "60 Minutes," the Sunday edition, and one for "M*A*S*H," which is nominated for the Heritage Award. "Heritage" is the critics association's euphemism for "really old." "Saturday Night Live" old. PBS's "Frontline" and "Sesame Street" old. ABC's "Nightline" old.

Know what critics hate even more than NBC?

Reality TV.

Reality got bupkis in this year's TCA Awards nominations.

Last year they at least gave NBC's "The Apprentice" a single nomination for program of the year. The year before that they actually crowned "American Idol" program of the year, but they pretty much had to or their editors would have hauled them into their offices and demanded to know what rock they'd been sleeping under.

On the other hand, TV critics love "Desperate Housewives," which is unusual because this awards ceremony is about critics giving awards to shows that they love and hardly anybody else watches. Like "Arrested Development." Or "Deadwood." Or "The Daily Show."

This year, for reasons we cannot explain, the critics have showered nominations on "Desperate Housewives." And "Lost." Both freshman ABC series were out-of-the-gate hits this season. They're both nominated for program of the year -- along with "Arrested Development," "Deadwood" and "The Daily Show."

"Desperate Housewives" also is up for best comedy, new program of the year and twice for "individual achievement in comedy." In that category actresses Teri Hatcher and Marcia Cross are nominated, which is exciting because, according to Vanity Fair, don't they hate each other?

This year's awards dinner is going to be way more fun than last year's. Last year the dinner didn't get lively until critics realized the word "television" had been misspelled on the programs and on the awards that were being given to the winners.

"Lost," meanwhile, also is nominated for best drama, new program of the year and individual achievement in a drama (Matthew Fox), though we all know Hugh Laurie, who stars in Fox's doc drama "House," is going to win that derby.

Unless, of course, it goes to Ian McShane of "Deadwood" again. It's so unfair that actors can cuss on HBO but not on Fox; it gives them an unfair advantage when it comes to winning awards from critics. Critics love cussing. Did you know that an episode of "Deadwood" contains about seven minutes of cussing? I read that on the Internet; some enterprising person put all the cussing in one episode together and then clocked it.

Once again "The Daily Show" is nominated for best comedy and best news-and-information program. Last year the Jon Stewart-anchored show was named best news-and-info program, which seemed nuts at the time but we now know it was genius.

The most watched program on Wednesday night was not the debut of Ashton Kutcher's reality series, nor the Eagles farewell tour.

The most watched program on the first Wednesday of the summer TV season was the unveiling of ABC's campy live ballroom dancing competition series, "Dancing With the Stars."

About 13.5 million people watched professional dancers pair off with C-list celebrities to perform the cha-cha and the waltz. Seriously.

And that's the biggest audience for a summer series debut since CBS launched "Survivor" in May 2000. It's also ABC's largest summer audience in the Wednesday 9 p.m. time slot in nine years.

Stranger still, this audience had tuned in knowing they were going to watch the dancing of "General Hospital" thespian Kelly Monaco; John O'Hurley of "Seinfeld"; New Kids on the Block's Joey McIntyre; Rod Stewart's ex, Rachel Hunter; heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield; and (gag) Trista Sutter of "The Bachelorette" fame.

Ratings for "Dancing With the Stars," with Evander Holyfield and Edyta Sliwinska, should have ABC suits waltzing on air.