Gold Derby nuggets: 'Modern Family' writers speak up | More 'Mad Men' | 'Black Swan' debuts at Venice
• Rick Porter chatted with some of the "Modern Family" scribes about the Emmy hopes of the freshman hit as well as the snub of a TV vet: "'Sadly, the unsung hero is Ed O'Neill,' writer/co-exec producer Dan O'Shannon says. 'He's just so great. I think some of the stuff that's really great about him is sometimes maybe overlooked in the bigger comedy of the other characters. But he just really holds the show down.' Adds fellow co-EP Bill Wrubel, 'He never feels the need to be the center of a scene. He's happy to kind of just do his line and react. His generosity on stage was really eye-opening. And he's super-fun to write for, because his delivery is just perfect every time.'" Co-creator Steve Levitan endorsed the idea of an ensemble Emmy: "I think that would be incredible. I think it's a great idea, and I love that award [at the SAG Awards]. ... It is an ensemble, and it's very hard to pick out who the standouts are." ZAP 2 IT• As Steve Pond observes, "Not many Emmy voters will be roaming the aisles or cramming into the halls and meeting rooms at Comic-Con this week. But Emmy nominees will certainly be there, lobbying not for votes but for the viewers who can turn their shows into pop-culture phenomena and by doing so, just maybe attract the attention of awards voters." Says Steve, "you will find a full contingent of Emmy-nominated shows making the trip, starting with 'True Blood' and encompassing everything from 'Dexter,' 'Lost' and 'Glee' to 'Kick Buttowski: Suburban Daredevil' (Outstanding Short-Format Animated Program) and 'Human Target' (Outstanding Original Main Title Theme Music)." THE ODDS
• Ricky Gervais reveals he has been asked to present at the upcoming Emmy Awards. Writing on his blog, the wry comedian says, "Got asked to hand out an Emmy. Nice. I'm there anyway as I'm nominated for the animation and 'The Office,' so that would be perfect. Even if I don't win I'll still get to go back stage and have a sneaky beer. No beer in the theatre! Unbelievable! It's not in Utah for ****'s sake. Still mustn't grumble." DIGITAL SPY
• Rick Porter reports that "Mad Men" -- which begins its fourth season Sunday -- could be on cablecaster AMC for another two years. However, "the catch, and it's a pretty big one, is that Lionsgate only has creator Matthew Weiner under contract through this season. Variety notes that the studio wants to get a sense of how much AMC will be willing to pay for the show before starting up negotiations with Weiner." ZAP 2 IT
• Nellie Andreeva explores the relationship between when a program airs and how well it does with the Emmy Awards. She notes, "'Mad Men' won multiple awards including the top drama series statuette at the Emmys in the past 2 years. Both times, a new season of the show launched just before the final voting phase, with fresh episodes airing throughout. In the year before 'Mad Men''s first Emmy appearance, 'The Sopranos' won best drama series. The series was also fresh in voters’ minds, having concluded its run with the much-talked about finale in June." DEADLINE
• Lisa de Moraes puts the latest contretemps about Conan O'Brien in context. Deon Cole, one of the Emmy-nominated team of writers on "The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien," tweeted "NOT NBC but the powers that be has sent us an email saying that the category we are nominated for will not be televised this year! really?" However, as Lisa notes, "It's a pity Cole is so far behind in reading his guild's memos. Because, in the days leading up to last year's Emmy broadcast, the writers and directors guilds pounded out a deal with the TV academy in which they agreed that the writing and the directing competitions for best variety, musical or comedy series (aka 'VMC's') and VMC specials (think 'Kennedy Center Honors') would take turns being part of the televised portion of the two-night Emmy ceremony. The academy did this as part of its effort to trim the Emmy TV show's mind-numbing number of awards. Last year's Emmycast included the races for best writing and for best directing in a Variety, Music or Comedy Series so this year the writers and directors who worked on VMC Specials are getting their turn, when NBC broadcast's this year's Emmy show on Aug. 29." THE WASHINGTON POST
• Thomas Peter details the Tony-winning talent associated with the HBO pilot "The Miraculous Year." John Logan -- who just picked up the best play prize for "Red" -- penned the script about a self-destructive Broadway composer while the music will be penned by Adam Guettel, who won a Tony Award for his score to "The Light in the Piazza." Joining Tony champ Norbert Leo Butz as the troubled tunesmith will be Tony winners Frank Langella, Patti LuPone and Eddie Redmayne. And, oh yes, Oscar winner Kathryn Bigelow will direct the pilot. PLAYBILL
• Ten theater veterans will begin three-year terms on the Tony Awards nominating committee this season, including three-time directing nominee Michael Grief, two-time acting nominee Andre de Shields and Moises Kaufman -- a directing nominee for "I Am My Own Wife" and a nominee for his play "33 Variations." Approximately one-third of the roster of 30 nominators rotates off each year. TONY AWARDS
• Anne Thompson previews the lineup for the 67th edition of the Venice Film Festival, reporting that "not completed in time for Cannes, Darren Aronofsky’s 'Black Swan' will make its world debut as the opening night film at the Venice Film Festival, which runs on the Lido from Sept. 1 through Sept. 11." And, as Anne writes, "other American films expected to debut in Venice include Sofia Coppola’s 'Somewhere,' Julian Schnabel’s 'Miral,' Ben Affleck’s 'The Town' and Al Pacino’s 'Wilde Salome.' Weinstein Co’s U.K. entry 'The King’s Speech,' starring Colin Firth as King George VI, may also make the Venice line-up." THOMPSON ON HOLLYWOOD
• Members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences received an e-mail today asking them to "Save the Date" of Nov. 13 for the Governors' Awards to be bestowed. In late August, the academy will announce who'll be honored at the event.
• Lou Lumenick reveals, "Alex Gibney's 'Untitled Eliot Spitzer Project'' finally has a title, 'Client 9' after the disgraced former governor's nom de john. The new moniker, and little else popped up in a tiny ad in yesterday's Village Voice listing two daily showings to meet the Oscar-qualification requirements for documentaries." And, as Lou notes, "this is nothing unusual; there have been a flurry of such low-profile public showings before the Aug. 31 deadline, mostly at out-of-the-way venues like the Coliseum on W. 178th St. ('Teenage Paparazzo,' 'Monica and David'') and the Village East on Second Avenue ('Garbo, The Spy')." Says Lou, "What's slightly unusual is that 'Client 9'' is showing not in a tiny auditorium but the 585-seat AMC Loews 72nd Street East, a former showplace venue that used to be known as the Tower East." NEW YORK POST
Top photo: "Modern Family" poster. Credit: ABC.
Middle photo: "Mad Men" poster. Credit: AMC.
Bottom photo: Natalie Portman in "Black Swan." Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures.