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Tom O'Neil has the inside track on Oscars, Emmys, Grammys and all the award shows.

Category: Charlie Sheen

Emmy nomination surprises: 'Nurse Jackie' in, Charlie Sheen out

July 8, 2010 |  7:10 am

● No Emmy pundits foresaw the "Nurse Jackie" nomination for best comedy series. Meantime, Showtime's other laffer, which was Emmy nominated last year, got snubbed: "Weeds." Does that mean bohemian Hollywood has swapped love of marijuana for pills? Side note: Another big snub in a different category is the omission of last year's winner from the category of best reality program: "Intervention." Hmmm … one day after Lindsay Lohan goes before a judge in Beverly Hills for issues related to alcohol? Coincidence?

Nurse jackie emmy nominations

Charlie Sheen's bad-boy antics finally caught up with him. After four Emmy nominations in a row, the "Two and a Half Men" star was snubbed.

Bill Maher has four new chances to increase his lead as Emmy's biggest loser. His four new nominations were for variety series ("Real Time"), variety special ("But I'm Not Wrong") and writing for both. Currently, he has 22 losses, no wins.

● Other snubs: Courteney Cox (the only star of "Friends" who didn't get nominated) was snubbed for "Cougar Town." "Married … with Children" costars Ed O'Neill and Katey Sagal were snubbed for "Modern Family" and "Sons of Anarchy," respectively. What's very odd about O'Neill's newest snub is that three of his costars made it into the race for best supporting comedy actor: Eric Stonestreet, Ty Burrell and Jesse Tyler Ferguson.

● We knew that Jeremy Piven might not get nominated again. After winning three years in a row, he suddenly wasn't nominated last year after that fishy story about mercury poisoning after eating sushi. But "Entourage" wasn't nommed after reaping three consecutive bids (2007-2009).

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Gold Derby nuggets: Katy Perry to host Teen Choice Awards | Charlie Sheen plea deal delayed | 'Mad Men' secrets revealed

June 9, 2010 |  7:04 am

Teen Choice Awards Katy PerryKaty Perry has been tapped to host the 12th edition of the Teen Choice Awards airing on Fox on Aug. 9. Perry is a four-time also-ran with these kudos, which determine winners via an online vote. She lost the Myspacer race in 2008 and her three music bids -- single, album, female artist -- last year. The Jonas Brothers hosted the 2009 festivities. "Twilight" set a TCA record, winning 11 of its 12 nominations, including best drama movie, actor (Robert Pattinson), actress (Kristen Stewart), villain (Cam Gigandet), lip-lock (Pattinson and Stewart) and rumble (Pattinson and Gigandet). Nikki Reed lost "fresh face female" to co-star Ashley Greene. Nominations for this year's kudos will be announced in the coming days.

• Even her one-time "Grey's Anatomy" colleague Eric Dane was surprised that Katherine Heigl submitted herself for Emmy consideration this year. Taken by surprise when asked about the Emmy hopes of his often-absent co-star, Dane recovered and then deftly deflected the conversation. "I don't even know if I've ever submitted myself for an Emmy. I really honestly never thought about myself as getting nominated, or have thought about an Emmy at all to be honest with you. I've never given it much thought. But hey, it would be wonderful." Good news, Eric -- someone in your camp submitted your name to the academy this year E! ONLINE

• "Entourage" producer Mark Wahlberg remains committed to turning "Entourage" -- the TV show about movie actors -- into a movie with the TV actors. On the red carpet at Sunday's MTV Movie Awards, he admitted, "I am more focused on making that movie than my own films. I just think we can make a great movie. I think people always wanted [it] and have complained that the episodes are too short; they've always wanted more. I think we're going to do it. We just have to end strong, and this season is, by far, the best season so far." The HBO hit begins its sixth season on June 27. "Entourage" has lost the best comedy series race for the last three years in a row to "30 Rock." MTV

Charlie Sheen • "Two and a Half Men" star Charlie Sheen won't be behind bars when he finds out if he is an Emmy nominee on July 8. He has reaped a lead actor bid for each of the last four seasons of the CBS Monday night staple, but has yet to win. The actor was set to plead no contest Monday to a misdemeanor charge stemming from a domestic dispute in Aspen, Colo., last Christmas. However, Pitken County Dist. Atty. Arnold Mordkin told the court, "We need more time than is available for us to complete some of the finer points." The plea deal was worked out in part by Yale Galanter, who accompanied Sheen to court and also represented his wife, Brooke Mueller. Sheen was set to serve his 30-day sentence during this summer's hiatus for the show, which just wrapped Season 7. After initially vowing to bow out of the hit laffer, he just inked a deal for two more seasons for a reported seven-figure-per-episode payday. E! ONLINE

• Oscar-winning documentary "The Cove" has yet to be seen in Japan. As Yuri Kageyama reports, "three movie theaters that had been scheduled to show the film later this month canceled their plans last week after receiving a flood of angry phone calls and warnings of protests by nationalists, who have been screaming slogans outside the Tokyo office of the Japanese distributor in recent months. Protesters criticize the film as a betrayal of Japanese pride." The controversial documentary details a dolphin hunt in a Japanese village. AP

• First Facebook got Emmy champ Betty White a gig hosting "SNL." Now the online site is being used to campaign for an honorary Oscar for Doris Day. A top box office draw in the 1960s, Day lost her only Oscar race in 1959. Nominated for the smash hit "Pillow Talk," she was bested in the best actress race by Simone Signoret for "Room at the Top." Although Day did accept the Cecil B. DeMille Award from the Golden Globes in 1989, it is unclear if she would leave her beloved Carmel to attend the academy's new Governors' Awards ceremony.  FACEBOOK

Mad-men-logo-300x159Roger Friedman tattles on some of the secrets of the upcoming fourth season of two-time Emmy champ "Mad Men." He writes that "production has only now just wrapped Episode 5 of 13. This much is gleaned: the show picks up more or less right after it ended in Season 3. It’s the beginning of 1964. This could mean the arrival of The Beatles in America and on 'The Ed Sullivan Show.' It’s also the start of color TV. The first new episode is called 'Public Relations.' The second is titled 'Distress Signal,' followed by 'The Fine Print,' and 'Dominion.'" SHOWBIZ 411

• More than four decades after it closed on Broadway after a three-year run, the first rialto revival of "Funny Girl" is in the works. The 1964 show launched Barbra Streisand into the stratosphere. Though the Jule Styne-Bob Merrill tuner about Fanny Brice contended for eight Tony Awards, it was blanked by "Hello, Dolly!" Streisand went on to star in the film versions of both these musicals, winning the Oscar for the first and the enmity of role originator Carol Channing for the second. Patrick Healy reports that producer Bob Boyett has enlisted helmer Bartlett Sher -- who won the Tony two years ago for his restaging of "South Pacific" -- to tackle the task of finding someone to step into Babs' shoes. ARTS BEAT

• The Theatre World Awards -- now in their 66th year -- go to performers deemed outstanding in their New York stage debuts over the last year. By tradition, six men and six women are chosen for this honor by a collection of theater journos. Among those being feted Tuesday are four Tony Award contenders -- lead actor in a musical nominee Sahr Ngaujah ("Fela!") and featured play performers Jon Michael Hill ("Superior Donuts"), Scarlett Johansson ("A View From the Bridge") and Eddie Redmayne ("Red"). The other Broadway newcomers chosen were Chris Chalk ("Fences") and Stephanie Umoh ("Ragtime"). Capturing the committee's attention for their work off-Broadway were Nina Arianda ("Venus in Fur"), Bill Heck ("The Orphans' Home Cycle"), Keira Keeley ("The Glass Menagerie"), Andrea Riseborough ("The Pride"), Heidi Schreck ("Circle Mirror Transformation") and Michael Urie ("The Temperamentals"). PLAYBILL

Top photo: Teen Choice Awards logo. Credit: Fox

Middle photo: Charlie Sheen in "Two and a Half Men." Credit: CBS

Bottom photo: "Mad Men" logo. Credit: AMC

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Gold Derby nuggets: Bret Michaels to 'American Idol'? | Charlie Sheen to jail? | Green Day to Tony Awards

June 2, 2010 |  8:53 am

Bret Michaels American IdolBret Michaels appeared on the finale of "American Idol" last week and says he is in the running to replace Simon Cowell as a judge next season. The curmudgeonly Cowell even endorsed the idea that Michaels, who has battled back from a series of health crises, made mention of during a recent concert. Fox won't comment, but the Poison vocalist certainly has the music cred needed. That star-studded season closer is to be the Emmy submission for "Idol" this year. The songfest has lost the best reality-competition series race to "The Amazing Race" for the last seven years in a row. Among the other possible nominees in that category this year is "The Celebrity Apprentice," which Michaels won last month. Donald Trump is determined to avenge his Emmy losses for "The Apprentice" (2004, 2005) with a win this year for the third edition of the celebrity version of the show.

James Cameron has offered up his private fleet of submersible craft to help BP stop the flow of oil in the Gulf of Mexico. The Oscar champ was part of a group of deep-water experts who met with government officials in the nation's capital Tuesday. Cameron has been interested in oceanography since helming "The Abyss" in 1989. The creator of "Avatar" is also keen on space exploration. In January, he met with Charles Bolden, the head honcho of NASA, to persuade him to include a 3-D camera on Curiosity, a rover headed to Mars next year. PEOPLE

Patrick Stewart has been dubbed a knight of the British empire by Queen Elizabeth II. The respected British stage veteran, best known stateside for his work on TV ("Star Trek: The Next Generation") and film ("X-Men"), received the honor at Buckingham Palace on Wednesday. Said Stewart, "My heroes were Sir Laurence Olivier, Sir John Gielgud, and Sir Alec Guinness. Being in that company is the grandest thing that has professionally happened to me." AP

Charlie Sheen • "Two and a Half Men" star Charlie Sheen could well be behind bars when he finds out if he is an Emmy nominee on July 8. He has reaped a lead actor bid for each of the last four seasons of the CBS Monday night staple, but has yet to win. The actor is reportedly set to plead no contest next week to a misdemeanor charge stemming from a domestic dispute in Aspen, Colo., last Christmas. Reports are that Sheen is set to serve his 30-day sentence during this summer's hiatus for the show, which just wrapped Season 7. After initially vowing to bow out of the hit laffer, he just inked a deal for two more seasons for a reported seven-figure-per-episode payday. BBC

• To celebrate the silver anniversary of "Les Miserables" in the West End, producer Cameron Mackintosh is staging a massive concert version in the O2 Arena on Oct. 3. As Alistair Smith reports, this one-time event will boast "a company of more than 300 actors and musicians, including Alfie Boe as Jean Valjean, Nick Jonas (from the Jonas Brothers) as Marius, Norm Lewis as Javert, 'Little Britain' star Matt Lucas as Thenardier, Lea Salonga as Fantine, Jenny Galloway as Madame Thenardier, Camilla Kerslake as Cosette and the casts of the original production at the Queen’s Theatre, the new 25th anniversary production at the Barbican and members of the original 1985 London cast." THE STAGE

• Three-time Grammy champ Keith Urban will headline a July 23 benefit concert in Los Angeles for the charitable wing of the music academy. The evening, dubbed Starry Night, will fund the work of the foundation, which includes music programs for students as well as preservation efforts. Held in conjunction with the Farmers Classic tennis tourney, the event will also support tennis programs in Southern California. Said Urban in a statement, "I was so fortunate to have been exposed to music at such a young age. It touched my heart and opened up a world of adventure and possibilities beyond anything I’d ever known. Being a part of this concert, supporting the efforts of the Grammy Foundation and the Southern California Tennis Association Foundation, is something that I feel very strongly about, because I know firsthand what art, music and sport can do for our youth." GRAMMY AWARDS

Tony Awards logo • More details are emerging about the June 13 Tony Awards telecast on CBS. As is the custom, the four nominees for best musical -- "American Idiot," "Fela!," "Memphis" and "Million Dollar Quartet" -- will be showcased, as will the two nominees for best musical revival -- "La Cage aux Folles" and "A Little Night Music" -- that are still running. The Tonycast will also feature excerpts from all of the best play and play revival nominees. Previous attempts to present scenes from plays have fallen flat but the star wattage this year is high, including Tony nominees Denzel Washington and Viola Davis ("Fences") and Liev Schreiber and Scarlett Johansson ("A View From the Bridge"). The Tonycast is slated to open with a musical medley of popular songs featured in Broadway tuners and will include appearances by "Glee" stars Matthew Morrison and Lea Michele as well as "American Idiot" composers Green DayTONY AWARDS

• Veteran columnist Liz Smith is set to host the seventh annual Theater Hall of Fame luncheon on Thursday that is saluting nine-time Tony Award champ Tommy Tune. Celebrating Tune's golden anniversary in show biz at the Friars Club in Gotham will be fellow hall of famers Angela Lansbury, Frances Sternhagen, Estelle Parsons, Dana Ivey, Roger Berlind, Lois Smith and Charles Strouse. PLAYBILL

Upper photo: Bret Michaels on "American Idol." Credit: Fox

Middle photo: Charlie Sheen on "Two and a Half Men." Credit: CBS

Lower photo: Tony Awards logo. Credit: American Theater Wing

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Gold Derby nuggets: Charlie Sheen exiting 'Two and a Half Men'? | Lucille Lortel nominations | Busy Betty White

April 1, 2010 |  5:58 pm

Charlie SheenCharlie Sheen could be leaving his hit sitcom "Two and a Half Men" at the end of this seventh season. Sheen -- who has had his share of personal woes over the course of the series -- faces charges for a domestic dispute at Christmas and is currently in rehab. The actor has picked up four consecutive Emmy nods for his work on the CBS Monday night staple and makes a reported $850,000 per episode. Whether this is just posturing for an even better payday remains to be seen. PEOPLE

• While we will have to wait and see if Sheen does not return to his show, S. Epatha Merkerson definitely won't be reporting for duty if "Law & Order" is renewed by NBC for next season. She tells Mike Ausiello that after 16 years, "It’s time to move on. I’m doing other things and this will be a great way to leave what has been an extraordinary gig." Merkerson delivered one of the all-time great acceptance speeches when she won an Emmy in 2005 for her lead performance in the telefilm "Lackawanna Blues" and her notes disappeared down her decolletage. ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY

Mike Fleming delivers the news that the three amigos at the center of all the fun -- Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis and Ed Helms -- finally have signed  for the sequel to "The Hangover." The surprise winner of the Golden Globe for best comedy/musical of the year is the top-grossing R-rated comedy of all time. The trio are looking at $5-million-plus payouts each, while director Todd Phillips will make at least $10 million on the picture. DEADLINE

• LAT theater critic Charles McNulty extols the efforts of Valerie Harper to use new media like Facebook and Twitter to draw people to the old medium of live theater. The four-time Emmy champ is appearing on Broadway as the theatrical diva Talullah Bankhead in the new play "Looped." CULTURE MONSTER

Lortel_Awards_logo • While Harper could contend for a Tony as her show runs on Broadway, the off-Broadway community rewards its top productions with the Lucille Lortel awards. Nominations for the silver anniversary of these kudos were announced Thursday. The plays "The Glass Menagerie," "Pride" and "When the Rain Stops Falling" lead with six apiece. Among the performers contending are Oscar-winning songwriter Keith Carradine ("Nashville") and three-time Emmy champ Laurie Metcalf for their featured work in "A Lie of the Mind." Winners will be announced May 2, two days before Harper finds out if she is a Tony nominee. PLAYBILL

• Two-time Tony champ Nathan Lane, director Kenny Leon and Macy's Thanksgiving parade will be honored at the 2010 Drama League luncheon on May 21 in Gotham. PLAYBILL

• Oscar winner Anna Paquin declared herself to be bisexual in a PSA for the Give a Damn campaign, which promotes gay and lesbian equality. Paquin, who picked up a Golden Globe for the first season of "True Blood," is engaged to her on-screen paramour, Stephen Moyer.

• Oscar and Grammy winner Jennifer Hudson has a new gig as the spokeswoman for Weight Watchers. The "Dreamgirl" star gave birth seven months ago and credits the program with helping her shed the baby weight. She will be appearing in TV spots and print ads. On "Good Morning America" on Thursday, Hudson said, "No one recognizes me anymore. I wanted to go in a different direction and find a better lifestyle." E ONLINE

Betty WhiteBetty White is busier than ever. When not appearing in TV series, like the upcoming finale of freshman hit "The Middle," or preparing her own TV Land sitcom this summer -- "Hot in Cleveland" -- the five-time Emmy champ is picking up lifetime achievement awards. Last summer the TV critics honored her, in January SAG sang her praises and on April 14 she will be feted by the American Women in Radio & Television. Says Jay Leno, who will present her this latest prize, "This Golden Girl has won my heart and the hearts of many fans from around the world."

• Advertisers will pay a premium for a spot on the series finale of "24." Prior to the announcement that the 2006 Emmy winner for best drama series was signing off after eight event-filled years, Fox had been looking for a cool half-million per ad for the May 24 two-hour closer. That rate has jumped to $650,000, and there may be little inventory left already. AD AGE


Emmy gamble: 'Mad Men' star Elisabeth Moss drops to supporting

Poll: Does Miley Cyrus deserve a Razzie for 'The Last Song'?

Gold Derby nuggets: Matt Damon guesting on '30 Rock' | 'Law & Order' updates | Emmy-winner David Mills dies at 48

'Glee' and 'Modern Family' win Peabody Awards

Again, Showtime ships first campaign mailer to Emmy voters

Can 'Avatar' crush 'Twilight: New Moon' at the MTV Movie Awards?

Gold Derby nuggets: 'Glee' gives back | Tonys a no-go for Conan O'Brien | 'Avatar' rules Empire awards | 'Lost' finale finds big bucks

Shocker: 'Squeakquel' beats 'Twilight: New Moon' at Kids' Choice Awards

Gold Derby nuggets: Megan Mullally exits stage left | Chloe Sevigny: No love for 'Big Love' | Simon Cowell Int'l Emmy honoree

Top photo: Charlie Sheen in "Two and a Half Men." Credit: CBS.

Middle photo: Lucille Lortel award logo. Credit: Lucille Lortel Foundation.

Bottom photo: Betty White at the SAG Awards. Credit: TNT

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Gold Derby's official racetrack odds: Who will win the Emmys

September 19, 2008 | 10:50 am

OK, you've seen who all of the experts predict will win the Emmys (CLICK HERE), including me, but you haven't yet seen my careful breakdown of all contenders in each top category. Below: Gold Derby's racetrack odds. Please note: they're issued for entertainment purposes only and should not be used for gambling. Missing are the two reality races, but soon I'll add those odds too. Right now I haven't finished watching all of the episodes each nominee submitted to Emmy judges as samples of their best work.


My evaluations rely heavily on episode submissions. For example, note that I think "Saturday Night Live" is a real threat to "The Daily Show," which has won best variety series five years in a row. Granted, "SNL" hasn't won since 1993 and I still put "Daily Show" out front, but "SNL" submitted the same blockbuster episode that's likely to pay off with a win for Amy Poehler as best supporting actress: Tina Fey's return as host. Jon Stewart's episode is fantastic too — it's 20 minutes of ranting against the White House (of course) followed by a brief, fun chat with Judd Apatow.

But I don't think, like many of my peers, that Tina Fey will win best comedy actress. Three of her opponents submitted episodes that involved some element of split personality and that usually pays off with a victory. (Never again wonder how Lindsay Wagner won best drama actress for "The Bionic Woman" in 1977 — that's when she suddenly discovered her evil twin, remember?) In this year's derby, America Ferrera goes bonkers when sprayed with a poisoned perfume, Christina Applegate goes psycho when she hears the song "We've Got the Beat" on the radio and Julia Louis-Dreyfus, pumped up on testosterone, threatens to kick the "sorry, tanned, bleach-blonde, Botoxed" butts of rival school moms. The reason I give the best odds to Ferrera is because she stars in a one-hour program. The longest shows usually win — as Ferrera proved last year.

To see a full list of all episode submissions, CLICK HERE. Click through the subsequent pages of that forum to read the predix of our posters based upon what they think of those episodes. If you're curious to see what episodes were entered at past Emmy derbies, CLICK HERE. Remember: actors submit one sample episode; ditto for contenders for best variety and reality series. Nominees for best comedy and drama submit six that are paired off into three groupings that are randomly submitted to voters. Actors vote on actors, writers on writers, everybody gets to vote in the program categories. Roughly 250 to 300 voters volunteer to judge submissions in the races for best comedy and drama series. The typical acting category has about 50 to 75 judges.

"Mad Men" - 5/4
"Damages" - 7/5
"Lost" - 8/1
"House" - 9/1
"Dexter" - 10/1
"Boston Legal" - 50/1

"30 Rock" - 1/3
"The Office" - 8/5
"Entourage" - 20/1
"Curb Your Enthusiasm" - 30/1
"Two and a Half Men" - 40/1

Bryan Cranston, "Breaking Bad" - 2/1
James Spader, "Boston Legal" - 11/5
Jon Hamm, "Mad Men" - 13/5
Hugh Laurie, "House" - 8/1
Michael C. Hall, "Dexter" - 8/1
Gabriel Byrne, "In Treatment" - 35/1
(NOTE: I changed this prediction from James Spader to Bryan Cranston on Sept. 19.)

Glenn Close, "Damages" - 2/1
Mariska Hargitay, "Law and Order: S.V.U." - 3/1
Sally Field, "Brothers and Sisters" - 7/2
Holly Hunter, "Saving Grace" - 4/1
Kyra Sedgwick, "The Closer" - 9/2

Alec Baldwin, "30 Rock" - Even
Steve Carell, "The Office" - 5/2
Lee Pace, "Pushing Daisies" - 7/2
Tony Shalhoub, "Monk" - 6/1
Charlie Sheen, "Two and a Half Men" - 50/1

America Ferrera, "Ugly Betty" - 2/1
Christina Applegate, "Samantha Who?" - 7/3
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, "New Adventures of Old Christine" - 5/2
Tina Fey, "30 Rock" - 3/1
Mary-Louise Parker, "Weeds" - 50/1

"John Adams" - 1/2
"Cranford" - 7/5
"Tin Man" - 30/1
"The Andromeda Strain" - 40/1

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Emmy predictions: Steve Carell or Alec Baldwin to win best comedy actor?

August 28, 2008 |  7:57 pm

Again our two top Emmy gurus are clashing over who'll win a top race!

Chris "Boomer" Beachum believes the champ will be Steve Carell ("The Office") and he may be right. Steve Carell is arguably America's biggest comedy star, and it's shocking that he's lost this category twice for a show that won best comedy series (2006).

This year Carell has a secret edge: a special, one-hour episode he submitted to judges ("Goodbye, Toby"). Because the comedy acting categories are usually dominated by half-hour sitcoms, having twice the face time of your rivals often pays off. Over the last eight years, five champs prevailed in one-hour episodes. Curiously, three of the five nominees this year have that advantage: Carell, Lee Pace ("Pushing Daisies") and Tony Shalhoub ("Monk"). To be brutally frank, Shalhoub probably owes a few of his three past victories to the fact that he plays a colorful oddball on a one-hour show.


I totally agree with Boomer's evaluation of Carell's amazing performance in "Toby." "He gets to be over-the-top funny, sentimental, romantic and just about everything else," Boomer notes. "If he doesn't win this time, I don't think he ever will." Read my full examination of Carell's episode HERE.

But Carell has a problem: he portrays a boss from hell who's so creepy that he's hard to embrace — and Emmys are all about TV industry insiders passing out hugs, of course. Yes, Carell has many redeeming, even sympathetic moments here, but he had a doozy of a heart-tugging scene at the end of last year's episode ("Business School") that suddenly redeemed his character, and he still lost — to someone portraying a creep, no less (Ricky Gervais, "Extras")!

I agree completely with the ranking in this category made by our other forums moderator: Robert "Rob L" Licuria ( Alec Baldwin only stars in a half-hour show ("30 Rock"), but his performance in the "Rosemary's Baby" episode has the most powerful impact of all five nominees, even though it's just one scene.

The usual Emmy formula for winning is this: The actor must show off a broad emotional range and have at least one big-impact scene in an empathetic role. Baldwin displays a dazzling array of emotions when he breaks into his outrageous jive riff during the therapy session with Tracy, which has the impact of a nuclear bomb. Empathy? Sure, Baldwin, like Carell, portrays a creepy boss from hell, but admit it — I do — he's so hilariously devilish that you can't help but root for him. Read my full examination of Baldwin's episode HERE.

This race is neck and neck, a total toss-up. Boomer may be right and, if so, Carell would totally deserve the victory. But I have a hunch Rob's correct. However, I don't pick Baldwin with enormous confidence.


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What Emmy judges see: Charlie Sheen in 'Charlie Waffles' eppy of 'Two and a Half Men'

August 28, 2008 | 10:42 am

Now that we've carefully examined the episodes submitted to Emmy judges in the race for lead actor in a comedy by Alec Baldwin ("30 Rock"), Steve Carell ("The Office"), Lee Pace ("Pushing Daisies") and Tony Shalhoub ("Monk"), it's time to scrutinize the entry of poor, oft-neglected Charlie Sheen ("Two and a Half Men"). To read our analysis of the other episodes, click on the nominees' names above.

Weighing the five Emmy nominees for best comedy actor, Charlie Sheen already rules with the highest Nielsens thanks to headlining TV's highest-rated laffer. Now many Emmywatchers believe he's submitted his best performance ever to judges. And they're right. The problem with it, however, is the stuff of "Two and a Half Men," a zany, knee-slapping sitcom that doesn't give Sheen a dark, soulful moment to offset his deft comic fireworks — and, surprisingly, OK singing chops.

The premise of "Is There a Mrs. Waffles?" is outrageous: Charlie (Charlie Sheen) becomes the "King of Kid Songs" when he assumes the identity of "Charlie Waffles" and appears in TV commercials selling silly ditties to kiddies with titles like "Who Cut the Cheese?" "Grandma May Smell Funny" and "Bye Bye Boobies."

His brother Alan (Jon Cryer, who really shines here too) becomes horrified, gasping, "I just don't understand what kind of spiteful god could allow my drunken whoremonger of a brother to become a children's singing star while I toil away in poverty-stricken anonymity!"

Worse, Charlie uses his success to pick up the single moms of his wee fans when he encounters the ladies at the supermarket and CD signings. But Charlie suddenly becomes humbled — and panics — when he learns from his manager that he must perform a live concert before 1,200 kids. As he and Alan drive in the car, Charlie confesses, "I have stage fright — severe, debilitating wet-your-pants stage fright."

Later, as Charlie and Alan chat on the sofa at home, Charlie continues his piteous confession: "The last time I was in front of an audience (was) seventh grade talent show. I started shaking, sweating, felt like I wanted to throw up."

But Charlie agrees to do the concert when his manager threatens to sue him for violation of contract.

However, he shows up drunk, boasting, "I figured out what happened in seventh grade! I hadn't started drinking yet!"

He goes out on stage, tries to sit down on the piano bench and falls backward to the floor. The kids howl with laughter. When he burps, the kids cackle more. "That one's not on the CD!" he tells 'em.

The concert is a huge success and soon the DVD footage is being sold on TV too.





Continue reading »

What Emmy judges see: Alec Baldwin in 'Rosemary's Baby' episode of '30 Rock'

August 25, 2008 |  7:19 pm

Considering that Alec Baldwin has already won a Golden Globe and two SAG Awards for his role on "30 Rock," it's surprising that he still hasn't nabbed an Emmy for the show voted best comedy series last year.

Ricky Gervais ended up pulling off a jaw-dropping upset in that race for best comedy actor in 2007, but Gervais is currently shuttled off to the lineup for TV movie actors because that's where the "Extras" finale qualifies. Now Baldwin competes against Charlie Sheen ("Two and a Half Men") and three chaps who have, literally, a big advantage over Baldwin and Sheen. They compete with one-hour episode entries over half-hour rivals. In the last eight years, stars with one-hour episodes won five times. To read in-depth analysis of the sample episodes they chose to submit to Emmy judges, click on their names: Steve Carell ("The Office"), Lee Pace ("Pushing Daisies") and Tony Shalhoub ("Monk").

But don't write off Baldwin hastily. In "Rosemary's Baby," he gives the flashiest performance of all nominees in this category, and it's a dangerous performance that risks being slammed as racist if it wasn't so over-the-top ridiculous. It's a shocking comic riff that really shows off Baldwin's gifts as a comic actor.

The gist: Baldwin's smug TV exec Jack Donaghy must stop his star Tracy (Tracy Morgan) from doing everything he's told not to — like organizing dog fighting. Tracy says he can't help himself because he's still rebelling against the ne'er-do-well dad who deserted him when he was young. Jack sets up a powwow with the network therapist, who suggests that Jack help Tracy to act out role playing so Tracy can confront these ghosts from his past.

Jack agrees but enacts outrageous African American TV roles. When portraying Tracy's dad, he channels Redd Foxx as Fred Sanford in "Sanford and Son" and, when being Tracy, he's Jimmie Walker as J.J. in "Good Times." Jack cranks up the racial stereotypes so high that the therapist is flabbergasted and offended, but not Tracy. He gets seriously absorbed in the exchange.

JACK (AS FRED SANFORD): "Hey, dummy! I'm mad at you too! Why you gotta act out that way?"

TRACY: "Cause you left me, Dad!"

JACK (AS FRED SANFORD): "I was young and confused and your mom didn't want me around no more. Now pass me dem damn collard greens."

TRACY: "Is this true, Mom?"

JACK (AS TRACY'S MOM): "He gambled away my welfare check!"

JACK (AS FRED SANFORD): "I got a mind to smack you upside the head!"






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ALMA Awards honor America Ferrera, Charlie Sheen

August 18, 2008 | 12:45 pm

The ALMA Awards celebrating Latino achievements in film, TV and music were held last night in LA. And unlike previous years we won't have to wait till the awardfest, emceed by "Desperate Housewives" star Eva Longoria Parker, airs on ABC on Sept. 12 to find out most of the winners. Alma_awards While the ALMA Awards website has no winners posted and the AP report on the awardsfest is surprisingly spotty, the wire service  also ran a complete list of winners.

"Ugly Betty" was feted with a special achievement award as was show star America Ferrera. Edward James Olmos won best actor in a drama series for "Battlestar Galactica" while Charlie Sheen took the comedy award for "Two and a Half Men." Roselyn Sanchez of "Without a Trace" and Judy Reyes from "Scrubs" won the TV actress prizes.

For the full list of nominees - CLICK HERE

Could Steve Carell's creepy role in 'The Office' hurt his Emmy hopes?

July 30, 2008 |  3:59 pm

Sometimes I'm tempted to dismiss Steve Carell 's shot at winning the Emmy for two reasons. He portrays what we all (including Emmy voters) hate the most — the creepy boss from hell — and he's already lost the race for best comedy actor twice. How can he possibly have any hope now?

This year Carell gave Emmy judges a special, one-hour episode of "The Office" titled "Goodbye Toby" as the sample of his best work. As everybody knows, size matters in Hollywood and it really, really matters at the Emmys. In the race for best comedy actor, which is usually reserved for the stars of half-hour sitcoms, one-hour episodes have won five times Steve_carell_pull_quote1 over the last eight years. Tony Shalhoub won three times for his one-hour show "Monk" in 2003, 2005 and 2006. In 2000, Michael J. Fox won for submitting his one-hour special farewell eppy of "Spin City" titled "Goodbye/Conclusion." In 2001, Eric McCormack won for "Lows in the Mid-Eighties," the one-hour flashback episode that reveals how the title characters of "Will & Grace" met.

This year we have three one-hour entries — Steve Carell, Tony Shalhoub and Lee Pace ("Pushing Daisies") — plus an extremely strong half-hour entry by Alec Baldwin ("30 Rock"). Charlie Sheen's 30-minute performance in "Is There a Mrs. Waffles?" is quite good too, but the lightweight nature of "Two and a Half Men" probably sinks him.

The detestable nature of Carell's character Michael in "The Office" is probably what's sunk him twice in the past. Now it's back big time. In "Goodbye, Toby," Michael has an irrational, unfair hatred of his personnel director and he's caught giving Toby a cruel farewell present — a rock with the note marked "Suck on this!"

Unfortunately, Michael gets caught in front of the new personnel director, Holly, with whom he's utterly, hopelessly in love. The fact that Michael is so ridiculously smitten throughout this episode does help to blunt his offensive nature — sometimes — like when he and Holly take a ferris-wheel ride out in the parking lot where the whole office gang throws Toby a farewell party.

"It's love at first sight," Michael confides to Jim (John Krasinski) about his hots for Holly. "Actually, no, it was when I heard her voice. It was love at first see with my ears!"

Carell's big, theatrical, knock-out scene comes when the party starts and Michael lets loose with a knock-off version of Supertramp's "Goodbye, Stranger" sung to the words of "Goodbye, Toby" with the help of a local rent-a-band at the shindig. Carell surrenders shrewdly to the silliness of the scene while he hops around, screeching and overselling every absurd lyric. He's great.








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Can 'Naked Man' help Tony Shalhoub to win Emmy No. 4?

July 29, 2008 |  3:56 pm

"Monk" star Tony Shalhoub won three Emmys and only lost twice because he usually has two advantages over his rivals in the race for best comedy actor. Tony Shalhoub stars in a one-hour program ("Monk" is twice as long as the sitcoms competing against it) and he gets to wig out in big, grandstanding scenes thanks to his character being a nut job.


This year Tony Shalhoub is a major contender again, but has three serious rivals. Lee Pace may be the front-runner because he has the one-hour advantage too, and gives a full-bodied, sensitive performance in the pilot episode ("Pie-lette") of "Pushing Daisies." But, beware: two-time past loser Steve Carell gave Emmy judges a special one-hour eppy of "The Office" too ("Goodbye Toby" — read our analysis HERE). Alec Baldwin doesn't reveal much emotional range in his 30-minute "30 Rock" submission, "Rosemary's Baby," but he sure does wow Emmy judges with his audacity as he launches into jive-pumped imitations of Redd Foxx/Fred Sanford ("Hey, dummy! I'm mad at you too!") and Jimmie Walker/J.J. ("Dyn-o-mite!") that might offend African Americans if the imitations weren't so over-the-top ridiculous.

Frankly, Forget the fifth nominee. Charlie Sheen submitted the superb "Is There a Mrs. Waffles?" episode of "Two and a Half Men." It's his best perf ever, but, considering the shallowness of the role, that's not saying much. Besides, it's creepy too -- it portrays the scum-bum rascal as a hero to kids when he becomes a hit singer of their favorite, silly ditties.

One of the biggest questions looming over this Emmy race is how that wild card Tony Shalhoub will play out. On one hand, it's tempting to dismiss him now because his episode, "Mr. Monk and the Naked Man," doesn't have the same gravitas as episodes that resulted in his three previous wins: "Mr. Monk and the Airport" (2003), "Mr. Monk Takes His Medicine" (2005) and "Mr. Monk Bumps His Head" (2006).

But it does have one touching scene before it explodes into utter absurdity. In this episode, Monk is so freaked out by the sight of skin that he can't solve the murder of a girl on a nude beach. When he sits down to sort this out with his therapist, he grabs a Kleenex to prepare for a teary chat, then he reveals, "Something I never told you. Something happened when I was a boy. There was an incident with a man. I'd never seen him before, a stranger. I was young, so small , I remember, I remember, I was naked, so naked. I hated being naked. I was crying. He hit me. There was blood, blood everywhere. I was screaming, wanted him to stop. My mother was smiling. Why didn't she stop him? She was supposed to protect me. He kept hitting me. Swinging me around, upside down. I never wanted to be naked again!"

Now here comes the absurd part when his therapist interrupts, noting, "That man was a doctor. You're remembering your own birth."

"Oh, come on!" I gasped at that point of viewing this episode. Emmy voters too?

As if that scene's not ridiculous enough, consider the scene that TV academy voters see a few minutes earlier, one so preposterous that it may dash Tony Shalhoub's newest Emmy hope.







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Gold Derby nuggets: Oscars to scalper — 'Gotcha!' ... Charlie Sheen sez, 'Give Jon Cryer the Emmy!' ... Ted Danson just happy to be nommed again

July 24, 2008 |  3:25 pm

Ted Danson was a lead comedy actor Emmy nominee for each season of "Cheers." It took him till Season 8 before he finally won (he repeated for Season 10). Now, 15 years after that classic sitcom left the airwaves, Danson is back in the race for showing his dark side on "Damages." does a great job of compiling comments the 60-year-old actor made about this change-of-pace role and his thoughts on the Emmys then and now. "When you're younger and get nominated, there was part of me — I don't know if I took it for granted — but now it's a very rich experience," he told the AP.


Jon Cryer does not think the third time will be the charm for him at the Emmys as he competes once again as supporting actor in a comedy series for "Two and a Half Men." As he tells TV Squad he faces two strong competitors: "Entourage" star Jeremy Piven, who beat him both times in the past ("Laugh all you want, [he] is my nemesis. He's a force of nature") and fellow CBS Monday night star of "How I Met Your Mother," Neil Patrick Harris. While Cryer makes light of his chances, his co-star Charlie Sheen would sure like to see him triumph: "After 25 years in the business, he finally gets the recognition he deserves. So if he wins, that's plenty for me."

Over at, Sasha Stone adds to the Oscars drum sound for Melissa Leo ("Frozen River") - READ MORE

Sony Pictures Television is becoming a significant Emmy player, earning a company-high 29 Emmy nods this year. As part of its promotional push for its Emmy contenders like drama series nominee "Damages" and telefilm nominees "A Raisin in the Sun" and "The Memory Keeper's Daughter," the studio has set up a website. Academy voters can log in to catch Sony_website up with the studio's offerings and review information about each nominee. This initiative is one that is proving popular among studios looking to reduce costs of reaching all voters via direct mail.

A judge has ordered Craigslist to identify the person who posted an ad online selling scalped Oscar tickets last February for $2,500 apiece. The AP reports his name is Daniel — that's all that is known for now. READ MORE

EW's Popwatch blog has a step-by-step breakdown of the Emmy race for best choreography — CLICK HERE.

The Toronto International Film Festival has announced its lineup for its Midnight Madness showings in September — HERE.

To raise charitable donations, the Grammys are right now auctioning a guitar signed by Jeff Beck and more, CLICK HERE.




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