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Category: Desperate Housewives

Gold Derby nuggets: Laura Linney shines on Showtime | 'Big Bang' gang theories | Songbird Gwyneth Paltrow

July 28, 2010 |  1:06 pm

Laura Linney Big C Showtime • Three-time Emmy champ Laura Linney is the subject of a lengthy profile in this Sunday's magazine section of the New York Times. Among the highlights of the piece: when writer Frank Bruni accompanied Linney to a rehearsal for the recent Tony Awards where the nominated actress clearly was in her element. "'You just have to see this!' she exclaimed at one point, tugging me backstage. 'It’s just too much fun, all the different casts bumping into each other.'" Along the way, Bruni also visited Linney on the set of her new Showtime series "The Big C," which is set to debut Aug. 16. This first regular TV role for the versatile talent sees her playing a teacher who must learn what is important in her life when told she has terminal cancer. The paycaster has proved to be a Hollywood haven for actresses like Linney, and it is currently showcasing Emmy nominees Toni Collette ("The United States of Tara") and Edie Falco ("Nurse Jackie"). NEW YORK TIMES

• The tuner "Next to Normal" -- which won this year's Pulitzer prize for drama -- welcomed three new cast members Tuesday. Husband and wife Marin Mazzie and Jason Daniely replace Tony winner Alice Ripley and Brian D'Arcy James as the couple coping with her mental illness, while understudy Meghann Fay is permanently stepping in for Tony nominee Jennifer Damiano as the less-than-understanding teenage daughter. PLAYBILL

• CBS has revealed that four of the companies to get a visit from an "Undercover Boss" in the upcoming second season are NASCAR, DirecTV, Great Wolf Resorts and Chiquita Brands. "We're thrilled with this season's new batch of bosses," said the show's creator and executive producer Stephen Lambert. They are NASCAR's senior vice president and chief marketing officer Steve Phelps; Mike White, chairman, president and CEO of DirecTV; Chiquita Brands chairman and CEO Fernando Aguirre; and CEO Kimberly Schaefer of Great Wolf Resorts. The hit show is in contention for best reality series at the upcoming Emmy Awards.

The Big Bang Theory CastHanh Nguyen does a deft job live blogging the lively discussion of "The Big Bang Theory" cast and creators that kicked off the annual TV critics confab Wednesday. Among the tasty tidbits is one from Emmy nominee Jim Parsons, who said he loves Comic-Con, "but seeing the thousands of Sheldon t-shirts was a little disturbing." And when asked about the show's fans, he replied, "They're the sweetest, least psychotic bunch of people I've ever met." ZAP 2 IT

• Our good friend Mike Ausiello caught up with the "Big Bang" gang at Comic-Con last week for a video interview that was punctuated throughout with merriment. Among the subjects covered in the lively conversation were the Emmy snub for best comedy series, upcoming plot points and ongoing salary negotiations. ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY

Joel Keller chats with Emmy winner Felicity Huffman on the set of "Desperate Housewives." The one-time Oscar lead actress nominee ("Transamerica") admitted, "I was anticipating doing more movies. I got a lot of movie scripts for a while... I don't really get them anymore." And she said, "Independent films have taken a dive. They're becoming harder and harder to do and somewhat extinct because there's a glut on the market, and they're just so hard to get funding. So I feel like the golden age of independent movies, at least the way they were being done, is over." TV SQUAD

• And our great pal Ray Richmond sat down with "Housewives" creator Marc Cherry, who said "he could see handing off his 6-year-old baby to someone else to run after the coming 7th season. In fact he thought it was likely, as he’s now penning a pilot for a potential new ABC series that he hopes will be up and running by next June. He wouldn't elaborate on what the pilot is about, only noting it 'will not be set in suburbia.'" Cherry also revealed to Ray, "I’ve got a contract that keeps me around ABC for a few more years. I hope (Housewives will be around) for a couple of more seasons, and my thing is I always will be executive producer and consultant on the show. It’s my baby. I can’t let go. I have control issues. They can’t totally get rid of me." DEADLINE

Country Strong Gwyneth PaltrowDonna Hughes previews the just-released title track from the upcoming film "Country Strong." The ditty is done by Oscar champ Gwyneth Paltrow who stars as fallen singer Kelly Canter. As Donna notes, "The actress is no stranger to the music scene, having charted a hit single with Huey Lewis on a remake of 'Cruisin' from the film 'Duets' in 2000. She also happens to be married to Coldplay's Chris Martin." Country crooners Vince Gill and Patty Griffin perform background vocals on this debut single. Though the film won't be out till Dec. 22, the soundtrack is set for release on Oct. 26.  While there is no word yet on the full track listing, another singing star -- Tim McGraw -- appears in the film as Canter's husband/manager. He sets out to resurrect her career with the help of a songwriter she meets in rehab. THE BOOT

Anne Thompson thinks that "Get Low" -- the new Robert Duvall picture about a hermit re-entering 1930s society -- "should be a soft lob down the middle for Oscar voters." As Anne notes, the film, which she saw at last year's Toronto filmfest, is doing well with the mainstream critics and she planned on attending Tuesday's premiere at the academy which was chronicled by our team. THE ENVELOPE

Photos, from top: Laura Linney in "The Big C" promotional still. Credit: Showtime; "The Big Bang Theory" 3rd season Blu-Ray cover art. Credit: Warner Home Video; Gwyneth Paltrow in "Country Strong." Credit: Screen Gems.

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Emmy comedy actresses: Why no recent repeats?

July 20, 2010 |  4:28 pm

Our forums moderator Chris "Boomer" Beachum notes a curious Emmy fact. There's been surprising turnover of winners in the category of best lead comedy actress over the last decade. That's in contrast to other Emmy races that often look like a TV repeat. Consider the other top series acting categories — the winners all repeated over the last two years: Alec Baldwin ("30 Rock"), Bryan Cranston ("Breaking Bad") and Glenn Close ("Damages").

Emmys Tina Fey Toni Collette

However, nine women won best comedy actress over the last nine years. The last repeat was Patricia Heaton ("Everybody Loves Raymond") in 2000 and 2001.

2009 — Toni Collette ("United States of Tara")
2008 — Tina Fey ("30 Rock")
2007 — America Ferrera ("Ugly Betty")
2006 — Julia Louis-Dreyfus ("New Adventures of Old Christine")
2005 — Felicity Huffman ("Desperate Housewives")
2004 — Sarah Jessica Parker ("Sex and the City")
2003 — Debra Messing ("Will & Grace")
2002 — Jennifer Aniston ("Friends")
2001 — Patricia Heaton ("Everybody Loves Raymond")

Photos: Toni Collette and Tina Fey. Credit: Academy of Television Arts & Sciences

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'Sopranos' Emmy winner Drea De Matteo joins 'Desperate Housewives'

June 30, 2009 | 10:39 am

Drea De Matteo won an Emmy Award for her final season on "The Sopranos" and picked up Golden Globe and SAG nods as well for her work as the turncoat Adriana. After her character was whacked in 2004, De Matteo spent two seasons on the ill-fated spinoff "Joey" and did a five-episode arc on "Sons of Anarchy." Now she is set to return to prime-time in style, joining the cast of "Desperate Housewives."

Desperate Housewives Season 5 Emmy Awards As the ninth of the titular characters, Drea De Matteo is to play a woman with a landscape designer husband and a troubled son. There is no word as to whether De Matteo will be aboard for just one season or for the run of the series. Following the death of the vampy, trampy Edie Britt (Nicollette Sheridan) this season, the show needs a strong-willed character to stir up life in the leafy suburb.

The most recent addition to the women of Wisteria Lane was two-time Emmy winner Dana Delaney ("China Beach"), who joined the show in Season 4. Her character, Katherine Mayfair, was central to the mystery of that season, and she has remained on "Desperate Housewives" since in a pivotal role. Five years ago, Delaney was on creator Marc Cherry's wish list of actresses to play Bree, a part that eventually went to Marcia Cross.

The second season casting of four-time Emmy winner Alfre Woodard as new housewife Betty Applewhite did not go nearly as well. The mystery surrounding her family fell flat, and Woodard's character never seemed to mesh with the other women. Ironically, one-season wonder Woodard was the only one of the series regulars to earn an Emmy nod that year. She lost the supporting actress in a comedy series race to Megan Mullally ("Will & Grace").

After being written off by many TV critics, "Desperate Housewives" took a big risk this season and shifted the story ahead five years. This fast forward offered a chance for a much-needed reboot. "Desperate Housewives" ended its fifth year on a high note as the season-long mystery was solved and all seemed as well as it ever can be for the women of Wisteria Lane. In the two-hour finale, there was a wedding, an affair, a pregnancy and an adoption.

Desperate Housewives" lost its only bid for the comedy series Emmy Award to the farewell season of "Everybody Loves Raymond" back in 2005. After that first-season nod, the hourlong show has been snubbed by Emmy in that top race ever since. While it made the top 10 runoff as determined by a popular vote in both Seasons 2 and 3, it failed to win over the judging panels and earn a spot in the final round last year.

This year, the Emmy Awards nominating process has been revised to eliminate the juried runoff. Now the contenders will be determined solely by popular ballot. "Desperate Housewives" ranks No. 9 for the season with an average audience of 14.5 million. The only other comedy in the top 20 is "Two and a Half Men," which sits in 11th place with 9.8 million viewers. This switch could also help the actresses who play the housewives get back in the Emmy race.

Continue reading »

'Desperate Housewives' finale didn't rate with our forum posters

May 18, 2009 | 11:28 am

"Desperate Housewives" lost its only bid for the best comedy series Emmy Award to the farewell season of "Everybody Loves Raymond" back in 2005. After that first-season nod, the hour-long show has been snubbed by Emmy in that top race ever since. While it made the top 10 runoff as determined by a popular vote in both 2006 and 2007, it failed to win over the judging panels and earn a spot in the final round last year. And the actors have fared little better.

Desperate Housewives Fifth Season ABC Emmy AwardsFor playing frazzled working mom Lynette Scavo on that first breakout season of "Desperate Housewives," Felicity Huffman won the 2005 Emmy. She contended again in 2007 but lost to "Ugly Betty" star America Ferrera. Last year, she made the top 10 list but was not a hit with the judging panel, which helped winnow down these contenders to the final nominees.

Teri Hatcher won the Golden Globe midway through the first season in 2005 for her work as lovable klutz Susan Mayer and picked up an Emmy nod that year as well. She was a popular vote choice at the Emmys in both 2006 and 2007 but did not rank among the top 10 last year.

Marcia Cross racked up three consecutive Golden Globe nods (2005-07) as well a 2005 Emmy bid for her brittle Bree Van de Kamp Hodge. While she made the Emmy runoff in each of the last three years she has failed to translate that popular success into a nomination.

Neither Nicollette Sheridan as the vampy tramp Edie Britt or Eva Longoria  — who plays the delicious diva Gabrielle Solis — have earned any Emmy nominations to date. Longoria was popular enough with academy voters to be considered by the judging panels in each of the last three years, but she has yet to make it through to the final round.

And based on the comments of our forum posters, both the show and the stars face uphill battles at the Emmy Awards this year as well.

Leobassaid, "What a TERRIBLE season. Absolutely nothing worked. Even the praised 100th episode was lame, in my opinion. Out of the hit shows that premiered in 2004 (Grey's, Lost, Desperate Housewives, House...) DH is easily the one that got stale faster."

AJthought, "Overall, the finale was probably the weakest of the 5 but it had its good moments. I actually liked how they resolved the Dave mystery, which is easily the worst mystery they have done. I never thought anything could beat the Applewhite mystery but the Dave storyline takes the cake for being the worst, most bland, and the most predictable mystery yet."

nrlondon76 wrote, "Disappointing season finale as the Dave storyline dragged it down. I would have preferred more housewife attention and a whole lot less of Dave. The entire Dave mystery this season was just blah."

Continue reading »

Will 'Desperate Housewives' fifth finale finish first with Emmy voters?

May 18, 2009 | 11:20 am

"Desperate Housewives" ended its fifth year on a high note as the season-long mystery was solved and all seemed as well as it ever can be for the women of Wisteria Lane. In the two-hour finale, there was a wedding, an affair, a pregnancy and an adoption. But can all this drama get the show back into the Emmy race for best comedy series?

Desperate Housewives Season Five Finale Emmy Awards "Desperate Housewives" has contended only once for TV's top prize. That was back in 2005 for its first smash-hit season. The ratings winner lost to the last year of "Everybody Loves Raymond." For Seasons 2 and 3, the show did make the top 10 as determined by a popular vote of academy members. However, it failed to impress the judging panels enough to earn a place in the final list of nominees. And last year, "Desperate Housewives" didn't even make the top 10 despite continued good ratings.

This year, the Emmy Awards nominating process has been revised to eliminate the juried runoff. Now the contenders will be determined solely by popular ballot. "Desperate Housewives" ranks No. 9 for the seasons with an average audience of 14.5 million. The only other comedy in the top 20 is "Two and a Half Men," which sits in 11th place with 9.8 million viewers.

Ironically, that mancentric sitcom seems to have taken the place of these wily women in the lineup of Emmy-nominated comedy series. The traditional three-camera sitcom has landed a nod in each of the last three years, while the single-camera hour-long dramedy has been snubbed.

After being written off by many TV critics, "Desperate Housewives" took a big risk this season and shifted the story ahead five years. This fast forward offered a chance for a much-needed reboot. However, while the show has sizzled in some episodes this season — most notably in the demise of Edie — the finale got mixed reviews.

Continue reading »

Inside track: Emmy race for best TV comedy actress

April 25, 2009 | 11:14 am

Here's a snapshot of what we see on the Derby track right now.

* = Top 10 semifinalist in 2008

** = Nominee in 2008

Tina Fey Emmy Award 30 Rock

BEST ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES
(Front-runners)

Christina Applegate, "Samantha Who?" **
Toni Collette, "United States of Tara"
Marcia Cross, "Desperate Housewives" *
America Ferrera, "Ugly Betty" **
Tina Fey, "30 Rock" ** (WINNER IN 2008)
Teri Hatcher, "Desperate Housewives"
Felicity Huffman, "Desperate Housewives" *
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, "New Adventures of Old Christine" **
Eva Longoria-Parker, "Desperate Housewives" *
Mary-Louise Parker, "Weeds" **
Amy Poehler, "Parks and Recreation"
Nicollette Sheridan, "Desperate Housewives"
Sarah Silverman, "The Sarah Silverman Program" *

Continue reading »

Nicollette Sheridan's farewell from 'Desperate Housewives' would be a great Emmy episode

April 20, 2009 | 11:10 am

Nicollette Sheridan left "Desperate Housewives" after almost five seasons with a socko episode devoted to her character. While she has not been nominated for an Emmy in the past, this farewell appearance could be the one that finally gets the prime-time soap veteran noticed by academy voters.

Nicollette Sheridan Desperate Housewives Emmys  Sheridan was initially cast as a recurring character on "Housewives," but response to her portrayal of man eater Edie Britt was so strong that she was upgraded to series regular. And while she proved to be a fan favorite, Sheridan was snubbed by the various TV kudos. 

For the first breakout season of "Desperate Housewives," Felicity Huffmanwon an Emmy playing frazzled working mom Lynette Scavo, and Teri Hatcher took home a Golden Globe for her work as lovable klutz Susan Mayer and picked up an Emmy nod as well.

And Marcia Cross has racked up three Golden Globe nods and an Emmy bid for her brittle Bree Van De Kamp Hodge. But Sheridan and Eva Longoria  -- who plays the equally promiscuous Gabrielle Solis --have had to make do with single Golden Globe nods and sharing in two Screen Actors Guild ensemble awards

This fifth season of the show pushed the plot of "Desperate Housewives" five years into the future.  Edie -- who was banished from the street last year -- returned with a new man (Neal McDonough) in tow. More bad luck in love for Edie as her hubby turned out to be an escaped loony and she ended up his newest victim. Fleeing from his clutches, Edie crashed her car and was electrocuted as she stepped out of the crushed vehicle and into a puddle.

The April 19 episode showcased Sheridan as each of the other housewives reminisced about a moment with Edie that showed a softer side to her character. For Susan, it was when Edie told her that Carl was cheating on her, and for Bree, it came when she discovered Edie was visiting Orson in jail because she refused. With Lynette, it was when Edie made her realize she could beat cancer by dragging her to a  honkytonk, while Gabrielle recalled a night when Edie confessed she did not see herself living to her 50th birthday. But the most poignant scene of the episode was between Edie and her frenemy, Karen (two-time guest actress winner Kathryn Joosten), who spoke about losing their respective sons.

If Sheridan finally reaps her first Emmy nomination, she'll be asked to submit a sample episode to the fellow actors who serve as jurors in her category. This one would be a doozy ... and might even prove to be a winner. It should also be considered as a submission for writing, directing and series categories.

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'Desperate Housewives' Nicollette Sheridan waves goodbye to Wisteria Lane

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Emmy preview: Battle over best comedy series gets serious

Photo: ABC

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Nicollette Sheridan gets 'Desperate Housewives' costar's vote for an Emmy

April 7, 2009 | 11:39 am

There's new tattle claiming that the April 19 episode of "Desperate Housewives" featuring the exit of Nicollette Sheridan is such a doozy that it might finally earn overdue academy notice to the actress who must be truly desperate for an Emmy at this point.

Desperate Housewives Nicollette Sheridan

"It was a fabulously written episode," costar Teri Hatcher tells People. "She should get nominated for an Emmy."

Nicollette Sheridan was snubbed by Emmy voters throughout the first four seasons of "Desperate Housewives." Ditto Eva Longoria Parker, who also portrays a sexually frisky role with gusto. The other, more conservative housewives — Felicity Huffman, Teri Hatcher and Marcia Cross — have all been nominated. Huffman won the Emmy for best actress  in 2005.

Sheridan's character, Edie, has faced lots of gripping drama over the last TV season — literally — at one point having to fight free from the clutches of her monstrous hubby as he tried to strangle her. While fleeing, Edie got in a car crash, then got electrocuted as she stepped out of the crushed vehicle and into a puddle.

On April 19, many more past travails — and triumphs — of Edie will be revisited in her last appearance  on "Desperate Housewives." "Her final episode is really beautiful, and it involves a lot of flashbacks," costar Dana Delaney told E! Online columnist Marc Malkin.

Continue reading »

'Desperate Housewives' Nicollette Sheridan waves goodbye to Wisteria Lane

March 10, 2009 |  6:07 pm

Nicollette Sheridan finished filming her final scene on "Desperate Housewives" yesterday. And last night, Mark Malkin of E Online dished with recent cast addition Dana Delaney about the departure of one of the original housewives. As per the Emmy-winning actress ("China Beach"), "Her final episode is really beautiful, and it involves a lot of flashbacks."

Nicollette_sheridan_desperate_house

Could this be the episode that finally makes Emmy Awards voters take notice of the subtler talents of Nicollette Sheridan? For the first four seasons of "Desperate Housewives," she was snubbed by Emmy voters as was costar Eva Longoria Parker.

Their respective characters — Edie Britt and Gabrielle Solis — started out as the least sympathetic of the housewives. For that red-hot first season, Felicity Huffman won the Emmy Award by playing a frazzled working mom while Teri Hatcher took home a Golden Globe for her work as a lovable klutz. Marcia Cross has racked up three Golden Globe nods and an Emmy bid for her portrayal of seeming perfection. Sheridan and Longoria Parker have had to make do with single Golden Globe nods and sharing in two Screen Actors Guild ensemble awards.

This fifth season of "Desperate Housewives" pushed the plot five years into the future with both Edie and Gabrielle facing new challenges that gave the actresses great scenes to play. Edie — banished from the street last year for her antics — returned with a new husband (Neal McDonough) in tow. Though eerily calm, Dave has a host of inner demons that are slowly being unleashed and Edie may well be his next victim.

And Eva Longoria Parker has had to make us feel sympathy for the self-involved Gabrielle. First she pouted about Carlos' blindness, then she pushed him to return to work as an investment banker when his sight returned, and now she has to deal with the guilt of having helped his boss hide his philandering from his murderous wife. All that is balanced by scenes showing a different side of the character as the one-time model deals with motherhood.

Photo:ABC

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Nicollette Sheridan exits 'Desperate Housewives' as Emmys hope enters

February 13, 2009 | 11:41 am

Nicollette Sheridan is leaving "Desperate Housewives" just when she is being given the kind of meaty scenes that make Emmy Awards voters swoon. Over the first four seasons of "Desperate Housewives," Nicollette Sheridan was snubbed by Emmy voters each and every year — just like costar Eva Longoria Parker.

Desperatehousewivesedie2

Their respective characters — Edie Britt and Gabrielle Solis — were the least sympathetic of the five original women of Wisteria Lane. For the first season, Felicity Huffman won an Emmy Award playing frazzled working mom Lynette Scavo while Teri Hatcher took home a Golden Globe for her work as lovable klutz Susan Mayer. Marcia Cross has racked up three Golden Globe nods and an Emmy bid for her brittle Bree Van De Kamp Hodge. Sheridan and Longoria have had to make do with single Golden Globe nods and sharing in two Screen Actors Guild ensemble awards.

This fifth season of "Desperate Housewives" was designed as a reboot, pushing the plot five years into the future. Both Edie and Gabrielle face challenges that give the actresses playing the parts a real chance to shine. Edie — who was banished from the street last year — returned with a new husband (Neal McDonough) in tow. Turns out Dave is an escaped looney and Edie may well be his next victim. Already, Edie has confronted him about his oddball behavior and she could well be setting herself up for a fall — literally. Nicollette Sheridan has shown a softer side to Edie and it will be a shame to see her go.

And Eva Longoria Parker has had to make us feel sympathy for the self-involved Gabrielle, who pouted about Carlos' blindness and pushed him to return to his old loathed job of investment banker when his sight returned. She too has had scenes that display a different facet of the character as the one-time model deals with motherhood and finding her old self in her new and unimproved body.

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I'm switching my Emmy prediction to Bryan Cranston!

September 19, 2008 |  6:57 pm

Yes — yikes — this means I am shimmying out onto a thin, shaky predix limb, I know, but little Emmy birdies tell me that we pundits have made a big mistake underestimating Bryan Cranston ("Breaking Bad") in the race for best drama actor.

Up until recently, I was with my Envelope comrades resting on usually sturdy oak for James Spader ("Boston Legal"). After all, Spader has never lost — he's gone three for three at Emmys past, including last year, and now he gives his most dynamic performance yet in the sample episode he submitted to Emmy judges. "The Court Supreme" is Spader's performance supreme, granted — he's never been better or given a longer or more dramatic courtroom speech than he does chewing out the whole U.S. Supreme Court. Read more about his Emmy chances and history, CLICK HERE.

But I have a hunch that Emmy voters are just as sick of seeing him win as we pundits are, especially after his ungrateful, snarky acceptance speech last year when he claimed his latest statuette with a shrug, saying, "I still have no idea who votes for these things. Or how you even secure a ballot. Uh . . . but thank you."

The battle over best drama actor is a truly dramatic smackdown involving formidable heavyweights. Jon Hamm ("Mad Men") and Hugh Laurie ("House, M.D.") have real shots to win, and maybe even Michael C. Hall ("Dexter") too. Perhaps I'm making a big mistake pooh-poohing the prospects of Gabriel Byrne ("In Treatment"). After all, he's an esteemed star of artsy indie films, which appeals to those notorious snobs in the TV academy, and he delivers a pretentious-as-heck talkathon with Dianne Wiest in his episode submission, but it doesn't contain the emotional fireworks we spy elsewhere in this race.

Bryan_cranston_breaking_bad_emmy2

Frame for frame, moment for moment, Cranston delivers the most intense, theatrical performance of all contenders as a science teacher who wigs out and becomes a crystal meth chef upon hearing the news that he's dying of cancer. The episode has a huge "ick" factor. Watching this good father, husband and teacher team up with drug dealers who will sell their poison to innocents is cringe-inducing, especially since he does it sweating, scowling and romping around in his underpants in the desert. But he does it to whip up a quick fortune to leave his family before he croaks, so his motive isn't selfish.

Just look at the YouTube video below. It's the first scene of the pilot episode, which is what he submitted to Emmy judges. He's talking into a video camera, telling his family how much he loves them and why he's doing such terrible things. If that doesn't wow Emmy voters, what will?

Cranston's episode has all three elements that are key to impressing judges: It has wide emotional range, impact (not just one big money scene, but a treasure-packed hour of them) and — most important of all — empathy. That's crucial. Portraying a powerfully empathetic character is how Particia Arquette ("Medium") and Felicity Huffman ("Desperate Housewives") pulled off recent upsets in the lead-actress races. It's impossible not to feel the terror, dread, sadness and doom Cranston's character experiences as he chooses to step into hell before life's end. Read the full episode description HERE.

But Cranston also has a few other pluses. Even though his character allies himself with a thug, he knocks off worse devils in the pilot to "Breaking Bad." The final fight scene is a heart-stopping shockeroo, and it redeems him a bit too. But the other secret ingredient this episode contains is its theme of substance abuse — one that often triggers big award wins in rehab-happy Hollywood. Candice Bergen won many of her five Emmys for episodes dealing with Murphy Brown's alcoholism. Ditto for Dennis Franz ("NYPD Blue"), even Kirstie Alley ("Cheers"). Just last year Helen Mirren claimed another Emmy as best actress in a TV film as a police detective battling the bottle.

Lastly, Cranston, personally speaking, is endearing and beloved across Hollywood. It's easy to see why in this video chat I had with him and his "Breaking Bad" costar Anna Gunn last weekend on the red carpet outside the Creative Arts Emmys. Watch his reaction when I tell him that he's got a real chance to win. Over the past few weeks I've been hearing more and more positive buzz for his Emmy hopes from inside industry sources, so I'm starting to take his chances seriously. And so should you. With six nominees in this category, a contender, theoretically, may need only 17% of the vote to win.

What I say in this video to Gunn and Cranston is hard to hear because I'm holding the camera several feet away from them while they hold the mike close to themselves. At first I ask them for their reaction to the amazing breakthrough that basic-cable TV shows by AMC ("Mad Men," "Breaking Bad") have had at the Emmys this year. Later in the video I ask Bryan to tell us what his reaction was when he heard that he was nominated for best lead drama actor. Then I inform him that some serious Emmy gurus (like Michael Ausiello of Entertainment Weekly) are picking him to win. Then I ask him if he'll attend this Sunday's ceremony with a prepared acceptance speech — just in case he does win.

Hey, I can't let Ausiello be the only guru to claim this longshot among the pundits in our Emmy pool, can I? (See all predix HERE.) So now I'm (nervously) stepping off of the James Spader bandwagon to pick Cranston for the win too. Below are my revised racetrack odds for this category. To see the full list of racetrack odds, CLICK HERE

BEST DRAMA ACTOR
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

(AMC, L.A. Times)


Emmy winner and TV academy governor Kathryn Joosten reports a huge increase in voters this year

September 19, 2008 |  3:38 pm

Early this morning I had this video chat with Kathryn Joosten, who won her second award as guest actress in a comedy series for "Desperate Housewives" at last weekend's Creative Arts Emmys.

Thought it would be great to get her to chat with us about the voting process since she's not only a seasoned Emmy veteran but a high-ranking member of the TV academy, serving on both its board of governors and the executive committee.

Please pardon all the background noise in this video. Frenzied construction was going on around us as workers buzzed and banged away to get the red carpet area ready for Sunday. In case you have trouble hearing what she has to say, some of her choice comments are below.

Joosten_pull_quote_2

Emmy-winning actors, remember, are chosen by a group of fellow actors who watch an episode submitted by each nominee as an example of their best work. Which one did she choose?

"I submitted the last episode of the season where we bury Ida in the baseball field," she says. "I thought that one would work because — that whole burial poem, real poignant and all. Then I say, 'OK, let's dump her!' "

Orginally, producers told Joosten to submit a difference episode. "I just said, 'No, I'm going to do this. It's my submission!' "

She also reveals that producers initially planned to enter her in a different category.

"First of all, they had me down for supporting, and I knew that wasn't going to work," she says. "You've got those five women. You think I'm going to go up against them for supporting? No. Besides, I am a guest star. That is what my contract says."

How does Emmy voting work?

"The first phase is — we send out a paper ballot with everybody who's considered," she says. "That's voted on by people just checking off what they want. The top 10 of those become the pool for selecting the top five. And then people again volunteer to judge different categories, whether it's male or female or comedy or drama. Then they get tapes and they vote again and that leaves the top five. Once the top five are selected, again we go back to the voters for a third time and ask them to pick a category that they want to vote on and then they have to sign an affidavit that they did watch all of the submissions in that category and then that determines who the winner is."

This year there was a huge increase in the number of actors participating as voters — up about 50%. How'd that happen?

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