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Watch out, Ellen Degeneres: Emmy rivals Rosie O'Donnell and Oprah Winfrey are teaming up

August 6, 2010 |  7:37 am

Rosie_odonnell_2Rosie O'Donnell is returning to TV next fall with a talk show on OWN -- the new cable net owned by Oprah Winfrey. In making the announcement, the two TV titans formed a mutual admiration society. Oprah said, "Rosie is an undeniable talent who has captivated TV audiences for nearly 20 years. She’s a true original, who brings her authentic voice, dynamic energy and pure passion to everything she does." And Rosie added, "It's an honor and a privilege to work with Oprah Winfrey on her network. I’m excited to be back on daytime television."

When Rosie first revealed her intention in March to try her hand at another talk show, there was speculation she might even land in Oprah's time slot when the queen of daytime signed off next summer. However, as Joseph Adalian reports, "local broadcasters hate taking risks and were no doubt worried about just what kind of show the sometimes-controversial ex-Queen of Nice might be planning, even though O'Donnell and her partners had made it clear she wasn't looking to turn into the female Keith Olbermann."

The press release promises "a fun, uplifting show with Ms. O'Donnell's playful and energetic style," and that certainly sounds a lot like Rosie's original daytime talker. That self-titled show dominated the Daytime Emmy Awards during a six-year run that began in 1996. A year after Rosie signed off in 2002, Ellen DeGeneres began her own show, and this new queen of nice now reigns over the TV kudos. However, with Rosie's return, we could soon see a repeat of the smackdown that dominated the Daytime Emmys in the late 1990s.

Rosie's gabfest won best talk show five years in a row (1998-2002) and she took home the best host award for all six years of the show's run (1997-2002). Her initial victories were especially impressive because Oprah hadn't bowed out of the Emmys yet. In 1998, Rosie beat Oprah for best talk show and they tied for the hosting trophy. Oprah dropped out of the host race in 1999 and the show race the following year.

Ellen DeGeneres won best talk show from 2004 to 2007 and talk show host from 2005 to 2008. In 2008 and 2009, she lost best talk/entertainment show to "Rachael Ray" while the gaggle on "The View" took the hosting prize in 2009. This year, Ellen bounced back with a win for best talk/entertainment show but refused to submit her name for consideration in the host category. Will she continue to opt out of this race now that Rosie looms on the horizon?

Photo: Rosie O'Donnell at the 1997 Daytime Emmy Awards. Credit: Steve Fenn / Associated Press

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Gold Derby nuggets: George Clooney bounces reality hosts from Emmycast | 'Modern Family' sneak peek | 'Mad Men' fails to win over advertisers

August 2, 2010 |  2:43 pm

George Clooney Emmy Awards • The winner of the reality show host race won't be accepting on the prime-time Emmy telecast, which is live nationwide this year. As the show is scheduled to repeat on the West Coast at 8 p.m. PDT, the broadcast has to be over in exactly three hours. So, to ensure there is time for George Clooney to collect the Bob Hope Humanitarian Award, the host category has been bumped to the Creative Arts Emmys which take place eight days earlier and air, in an edited version, on the E! cable network. Also missing from the main telecast will be the awards for writers and directors of comedy music variety series, which alternate with the equivalent races for telefilms and minis. Ray Richmond reports on all this and more as per the show's exec producer Don Mischer, who explained, "On the long-form awards, for example, we didn't have the option of shifting the writers and directors for contractual reasons. And we really didn't want to think about taking the made-for-TV movie or miniseries award out. The reality host award was one we didn't have a commitment to in terms of keeping it in the telecast." DEADLINE

• After noting that "when the reality host category had been added to the derby two years ago, they'd been sold a bill of goods about how it was going to young-up the audience for the trophy show," Lisa de Moraes analyzes the rationale of shifting the award off the prime-time kudocast. "What the academy's not saying is that it wants to goose the show's numbers, seeing as how it does not yet have a closed contract to keep broadcasting the show on the broadcast networks. A new contract may not be a slam-dunk, given that the Emmys have become a big fat plug for cable networks, which annoys suits at the broadcast nets mightily. And, when you're trying to attract viewers to a show, you do not want to lose sight of the fact that Clooney is Clooney, while Jeff Probst is, well, Jeff Probst. And yet, despite this undeniable truth, Mischer and academy President John Shaffner continued to insist during their appearance at the Press Tour, that that is not why Probst's annual win will not be seen during the televised portion of the Emmy ceremony. The academy had no choice, they explained. Other categories you'd think would be high on the Whack-This List are protected from cutting by deals the academy has with networks and/or various guilds. Try to cut one of those categories and, for instance, a guild might decide you'd violated that pact and inform you that you're going to have to pay its members residuals on that boatload of clips you air during your trophy show. Ouch!" WASHINGTON POST

Jimmy Fallon made merry with the TV folk when he appeared at the TCA to tout his upcoming hosting gig of the Emmy Awards. As James Hibberd reports, the "Late Night" host was in fine form. " 'I want the TV academy to be happy, I want [producer] Don Mischner to be happy,' Fallon said of his upcoming Emmy stint, adding that 'I don't want to make anybody uncomfortable' with his jokes. 'You have to relate to different people as well,' Fallon said about appealing to the wider Emmy audience. 'I gotta get you to laugh and you to laugh and you to laugh -- they don't all laugh at the same thing.' " HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

Modern-family-posterEd O'Neill, the only adult cast member of "Modern Family" not to receive an Emmy nomination, told the TCA "that the show's child actors were the ones who really got snubbed by academy voters. 'The truth is, if you're nominated or you're not nominated, you don't have a lot of options. For all I know, the kids could have been nominated before me ... the kids were phenomenal.' " However, his younger cast mates demurred. "Asked if he felt left out of the Emmy race, 12-year-old Rico Rodriguez, who plays Manny on the show, said, 'They probably have something in store for us later in the years; it'll be great to even go to the Emmys.' " THE WRAP

• One of O'Neill's Emmy-nominated "Modern Family" co-stars -- Eric Stonestreet -- thinks that his character, Cameron, will eventually marry his gay partner, Mitchell (Jessie Tyler Ferguson). As he told Sean Daly, "I don’t know how that would happen with the real-life legality. Maybe it would be a destination (wedding). Us going somewhere that gay marriage is legal. But they have to save some of that stuff. We hope to be on the air for seven years." Show producer Christopher Lloyd admits, "Frankly we have stayed away from anything that feels overtly political. It is just not the style of our show. But we wouldn’t rule it out." NEW YORK POST

Nathan Lane has contended twice before for best guest actor in a comedy series and could well be a contender against next year for his just-announced turn on "Modern Family." Gary Levin reports from the TCA that the two-time Tony champ will play, "Pepper, the flamboyant older friend of Mitchell and Cameron,  who was referenced last season. He'll appear in one the early episodes in the fall. Lane approached producers about doing the show, and executive producer Steven Levitan says he fits the part perfectly. But mostly, 'We're toning down on stunt casting; we don't want to turn into a guest of the week. The audience loves our characters and we have enough of them' in the large ensemble." USA TODAY

• Fox is jumping on the country music awards bandwagon with the inaugural kudocast of the American Country Awards set for Dec. 6. As Andrew Wallenstein and Shirley Halperin report, "ACA will attempt to differentiate itself from the other shows by having the fans vote for the winners. The executive producer of the program is Bob Bain,who runs the Teen Choice Awards, another viewer-driven awards show for Fox. After years of decline, there seems to be renewed faith in awards shows given the resurgence of several key franchises, including the Grammys, which rocketed to 26.6 million viewers this year, up more than 7 million from 2009." THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

• The fourth film from theater visionary Julie Taymor -- a re-imagining of Shakespeare's "The Tempest" -- will close the 67th edition of the Venice Film Festival on Sept. 11 and will also be the Centerpiece selection for this year’s New York Film Festival, unspooling in Manhattan on Oct. 2. The picture stars Oscar champ Helen Mirren ("The Queen") as Prospera, a gender-bending take on the character of Prospero, a sorcerer marooned on an island with his daughter. The film features another Oscar winner -- Chris Cooper ("Adaptation") -- as well as Russell Brand, Alan Cumming, Djimon Hounsou, David Strathairn and Ben Whishaw. In making the announcement, NYFF selection chairman Richard Pena said, "Julie Taymor is one of the boldest, most innovative artists working in American theater and film, and her elegant adaptation of 'The Tempest' is a perfect illustration of her unique artistry." NYFF

Mad-men-logo-300x159 • "Mad Men" may have won over the Emmy Awards but it is striking out with ad agencies. As Brian Steinberg writes, "airings of 'Mad Men' took in only $1.98 million in ad revenue in 2009, according to Kantar Media. In 2008, the show nabbed just less than $2.8 million, and in 2007, approximately $2.25 million. These are paltry amounts when one considers that a 30-second ad in an equally buzzy program such as '24' on Fox cost between $200,000 and $280,000 as the show, off its peak, headed into its final season." However, as Brian notes, "while ad dollars placed against 'Mad Men' may be small, AMC's use of the program can help it win more revenue from other sources. Since 'Mad Men' arrived, the amount AMC gets paid by cable and satellite operators per subscriber has increased to 24 cents from 22 cents, according to SNL Kagan. Before the show debuted, that fee had declined to 21 cents in 2006 from 22 cents in 2005. The channel is available in more than 95 million homes." AD AGE

• The red-hot Betty White is guesting on the season opener of the sophomore season of "Community." David Kronke visited the set to see "America's favorite octogenarian, who plays a deeply eccentric anthropology professor named Jane Bauer." She tangles with Jeff Winger (Joel McHale) in a smackdown that required the use of a stuntwoman at one point. And, as David reports, "White, the usual sugar in her voice, asks her, 'Honey, will you do me a favor?' The stunt double, as awed as the rest of the cast and crew by the iconic White, replies, 'Anything for you.' White says flatly, 'Don't screw up,' delivering her improvised joke for the sole benefit of those in attendance with the same élan as she does her punchlines in appearances seen by millions." TV GUIDE

• Although Will Arnett was at the TCA Monday touting his new Fox sitcom "Running Wilde," he found time to talk about his last series with Fox, the much-missed "Arrested Development," which won the Emmy for best comedy series for the first of its three seasons in 2004. Arnett told TheWrap that a film version of the caustic comedy is "definitely happening" and "that he'd spoken with other principals in the project over the weekend. 'We just had a meeting about it yesterday morning,' Arnett said. 'Timing we're still working on, but it's definitely going to happen.' " THE WRAP

Photos, from top: George Clooney on the "Hope for Haiti" telethon. Credit: MTV; "Modern Family" first season poster. Credit: ABC; "Mad Men" logo. Credit: AMC

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Emmy Awards nominations: Who got skunked!

July 8, 2010 |  7:05 am

Ah, the Emmy Awards nominations that might have been! Below is a list of the programs and stars snubbed Thursday by the 14,000 voters of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Here is a list of nominees contending for the major awards at the 62nd annual edition of the Emmys, which will be handed out Aug. 29 on NBC.

* = nominee in 2009

EmmySQ

NOT-SO-BEST DRAMA SERIES
"Big Love" *
"Damages" *
"Friday Night Lights"
"Grey's Anatomy"
"House" *
"The Mentalist"
"Rescue Me"
"The Tudors"
"24"

NOT-SO-BEST COMEDY SERIES
"The Big Bang Theory"
"Bored to Death"
"Californication"
"Desperate Housewives"
"Entourage" *
"Family Guy" *
"How I Met Your Mother" *
"Scrubs"
"Two and a Half Men"
"Ugly Betty"
"United States of Tara"
"Weeds" *

NOT-SO-BEST MINISERIES
"Alice" (SyFy)
"Emma" (PBS)
"Occupation" (BBC America)
"The Prisoner" (AMC)
"Small Island" (PBS)

NOT-SO-BEST TV MOVIE
"Amish Grace" (Lifetime Movie Network)
"A Dog Year" (HBO)
"Einstein & Eddington" (HBO)
"Jesse Stone: No Remorse" (CBS)
Hallmark Hall of Fame: "When Love is Not Enough: The Lois Wilson Story" (CBS)
"Who is Clark Rockefeller" (Lifetime)

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Can 'Lost' find its way back to the winner's circle at Emmy Awards?

May 24, 2010 | 12:58 pm
Lost Cast 2005 Emmy Awards

As 20-million viewers now know, not all of the questions posed by the six seasons of "Lost" were answered in Sunday's finale. One more mystery that won't be solved till July 8 is whether the show can contend one last time at the Emmy Awards for best drama series.

"Lost" won this top prize in 2005 for its first season, then went missing for two years. In the second of those, "The Sopranos" won the Emmy for its farewell season, having signed off in 2007 with an equally enigmatic ending. Like "Lost," it had just one Emmy win for best series before picking up that bookend award.

"Lost" returned to the series race in 2008 and 2009, losing both times to "Mad Men." Our two Emmy Awards experts -- Chris "Boomer" Beachum and Robert "Rob L" Licuria (Awards Heaven) -- agree that "Mad Men" will contend again this year, as will "Breaking Bad," "Damages" and "Dexter." Only Boomer is buzzed about "Lost," as well as "The Good Wife," making the ballot. Rob thinks "House, M.D." and "Big Love" will round out the roster.

"Lost" leading man Matthew Fox has never been nominated for an Emmy, and neither of our experts expect him to make it into the crowded lead actor category this year. Neither do they see any of the actresses from the series finally breaking through and earning an Emmy bid.

However, both Boomer and Rob are sure that the two supporting actor champs featured on "Lost" -- Terry O'Quinn and Michael Emerson -- will be back in the race this year. O'Quinn and costar Naveen Andrews went down in defeat to William Shatner ("Boston Legal") in 2005. After winning in 2007, O'Quinn bowed out of the competition, but he told Boomer last month that he will submit himself again this year. Emerson lost to O'Quinn in 2007, and Zeljko Ivanek ("Damages") in 2008 before prevailing last year. Henry Ian Cusick scored a guest nod in the second season -- which he lost to Christian Clemenson ("Boston Legal") -- before joining the show as a regular.

Should any of the "Lost" cast find themselves on the Emmy ballot, they will be able to submit the 150-minute finale as a sample of their work. Performers do well with the Emmy Awards when showcased in an extra-long episode. Previous Emmy champs Helen Hunt ("Mad About You"), Michael J. Fox ("Spin City"), Eric McCormack ("Will & Grace") and Jennifer Aniston ("Friends") all won with double-length episodes.

Last Wednesday, the TV academy announced that the board of governors had approved an exception to the rule restricting entry of extended episodes to just twice the normal length of the show. If "Lost" does earn a series nomination, it is unclear whether this super-sized episode -- if submitted -- will count as two or three of the six episodes used to judge overall production.

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Case closed: 'Law & Order' canceled on brink of setting TV record

May 14, 2010 | 12:39 pm

Law-and-Order-Cancellation-Season-20 NBC canceled "Law & Order" Friday after two decades on the air. When the procedural drama signs off May 24, it will be tied with "Gunsmoke" as prime-time's longest-running drama series. Olympic gold medalist Lindsay Vonn is one of the show's last guest stars. The ski champ features in the series finale as a key witness in a terrorism case.

Two of the three "Law & Order" spinoffs -- "SVU" and "Criminal Intent" -- were renewed for seasons 12 and 10 respectively; "Trial by Jury" lasted just 13 episodes in 2005. And a new "Law & Order" series set in Los Angeles is scheduled to debut on NBC next season.

The original "Law & Order" debuted on NBC in September 1990. Although the series was a solid ratings performer for most of its run, it failed to win over the Emmys very often, taking home just six awards for its 52 nominations so far.

Beginning with the second season, it earned 11 consecutive Emmy Award nominations for best drama series, winning the award only once, in 1997. Elaine Stritch won the guest actress Emmy in 1993 and the series has won four technical awards -- sound editing (1992) and cinematography (1993, 1997, 1998).

Over the years, "Law & Order" starred three different lead actor contenders -- Michael Moriarty (1991-1994), Sam Waterston (1997, 1999, 2000) and Jerry Orbach (2000) -- but none of them made it to the winner's circle. Neither did either of the two supporting actor nominees -- Steven Hill (1998, 1999) and Benjamin Bratt (1999).

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Will 'Amazing Race' continue winning streak with Emmys?

May 10, 2010 | 12:39 pm

The Amazing Race Pious Phil Keoghan "The Amazing Race" wrapped up its 16th installment Sunday night with the kind of nail-biting finish that has won it seven consecutive Emmy Awards for best reality competition series.

Battling brothers Jordan and Dan Pious crossed the finish line first to win the $1-million prize. At the final roadblock in San Francisco, the pair was  quick to piece together a puzzle about memorable events over the first 11 legs of this race around the world. Their success left fan favorites cowboy brothers Jet and Cord McCoy in second place while one-time beauty queen and viral video sensation Caite Upton and her model beau Brent Horne had to settle for third spot.

The show chronicling a race around the world has never lost its Emmy category since it was created in 2003. That winning streak has soured two of its competitors. At last year's Emmys, "Survivor" star Jeff Probst won best reality TV host for the second year in a row over, among others, "Amazing Race" host Phil Keoghan. Probst told reporters backstage he thought, "Maybe 'Amazing Race' should do what Oprah did and pull itself out of competition." Moments later "Amazing Race" producer Bert Van Munster was asked by reporters if he'd do just that. He replied, "I'm going to discuss it with my committee here, but it's unlikely," adding "It was very intimidating to win for the seventh time."

And last month, Donald Trump spoke of his determination to avenge his Emmy losses for "The Apprentice" (2004, 2005) with a win this year for the third season of the celebrity version of the show. He told Randee Dawn of the Hollywood Reporter that the Emmys have "lost credibility. Instead of shows that deserve to win, they pick 'Amazing Race.' It's a very sad commentary." However, as Randee reported, "Perhaps Trump is sore over what happened in 2004, the first year that 'Apprentice' and 'Race' faced off. Ever assured, Trump recalls he was halfway out of his seat when the Emmy presenter began announcing 'Race' as the winner. 'I was standing up to go down there and pick up the Emmy,' he says. 'Incredible. It's a joke. If the Emmys want their ratings back, they have to pick shows that deserve it.'"

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Daytime Emmys rescued from oblivion by CBS

April 23, 2010 |  1:13 pm

Daytime Emmy Awards The Daytime Emmys are returning to CBS for the first time since 2007. The kudos will be handed out on June 27 in a prime-time ceremony airing live from the Las Vegas Hilton. Nominations for the 37th annual edition of these TV honors will be announced May 12.

In recent years, the Daytime Emmys presentation has suffered from declining ratings as daytime audiences have dwindled. Last year, these awards suffered the ignominy of being doled out on the CW network during the doldrums of summer. The Aug. 30 airing attracted only 2.68 million viewers, about half the number who watched when the show aired on ABC in June 2008.

Throughout the 1990s and the early part of this decade, the three oldest broadcast networks rotated the awards, drawing audiences in excess of 10 million until 2003. NBC dropped out of the pool the following year when viewership dipped to 8.4 million. CBS stuck with it until the June 2007 telecast was watched by only 8.3 million people

This year, there were widespread rumors that the Daytime Emmys would either be picked up by the little-viewed Soapnet cable channel or else give up the ghost entirely. Salvation came Friday with the CBS announcement, which makes sense because the eye web wants to bolster a dying TV genre. There are only seven soaps left on TV nowadays, but CBS airs the two most watched -- "The Young & the Restless" and "The Bold and the Beautiful."

While "Y&R" has won seven best drama series Emmys over the years, it took "The Bold and the Beautiful" more than two decades until it finally prevailed last year. "B&B" had been nominated for the top Emmy three previous times, but many award gurus believed it might never win, being a half-hour program competing against one-hour rivals.

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Gold Derby nuggets: 'Mad Men' returns in July | 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' back next year | '24' movie script ready

April 20, 2010 |  5:35 pm

Mad-men-logo-300x159 • "Mad Men" returns to the AMC lineup for a fourth season on July 25 at 10 p.m. ET. The reigning two-time Emmy champ for best drama series is a strong bet to contend for a third consecutive year when nominations are announced on July 8. The third season ended with many of the characters in a state of flux. Just how long this series will continue to explore the lives of Don Draper and company is up for debate. Creator Matthew Weiner has voiced concern about continuing beyond six seasons, but the network says no end date has been discussed. TV SQUAD   

• As Steve Pond reports, "The Screen Actors Guild has chosen the nominating committees for its 2011 SAG Awards, selecting 2,100 of its more than 125,000 members for a committee that will select the feature film nominees, and another 2,100 to choose the television nominees." Actors are only allowed to serve on a committee once every five years. And the studios are kept from knowing the names of the nominators, with SAG acting as a clearinghouse for screeners. Nominations for the 17th annual kudos will be announced Dec. 16, with the awards handed out Jan. 30. THE ODDS

564_curb_your_enthusiasm_468 • "Curb Your Enthusiasm" will be back for a 10-episode eighth season in 2011. The five-time Emmy contender for comedy series drew its best ratings for Season 7, which used a reunion of "Seinfeld" as a plot device for creator and star Larry David to repair his TV marriage. In making the announcement, David said, "After much soul searching — and by the way, it was nowhere to be found — I have decided to do another season of 'Curb.' I look forward to the end of shooting, when I can once again resume the hunt for my elusive soul. I know it’s here somewhere or perhaps in the rugged mountainous regions of Pakistan." ZAP 2 IT

Emily Christianson has compiled a fun and fact-filled photo gallery saluting the various casts of classic TV fare who have reunited over the years at the TV Land Awards. This year, it was two-time Oscar champ Tom Hanks who joined his "Bosom Buddies" on-stage. In years past, these kudos have saluted Emmy-winning fare like "The Carol Burnett Show" and "The Golden Girls" as well as rerun staples such as "The Brady Bunch." THE ENVELOPE

24-logo-1Kiefer Sutherland just wrapped the finale of "24," but he is already talking about a movie version of the 2006 Emmy champ for best drama series. The real-time crime drama is signing off May 24 after eight event-filled years. And says Sutherland, screenwriter Billy Ray ("State of Play") has finished a film script that may be more in keeping with the spirit of the early years of the TV show. "It doesn't have to be a bomb. It can be something personal that people understand." IGN

• The much-delayed Broadway musical "Turn Off the Dark," based on Spider-Man, has lost its villain with Tony Award winner Alan Cumming ("Cabaret") committing to a regular role on TV's freshman hit "The Good Wife" instead. The tuner, first announced in early 2009, had already lost its leading lady, Evan Rachel Wood ("The Wrestler"). Only newcomer Reeve Carney, who is to play the webbed crusader, remains on board. The tunes are by Bono and the Edge of U2 with two-time Tony winner Julie Taymor ("The Lion King") helming the big-budget production. PLAYBILL

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

Middle photo: "Curb Your Enthusiasm" logo. Credit: HBO

Bottom photo: "24" logo. Credit: Fox

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'Glee' and Adam Lambert hit high notes at GLAAD Awards

Michael Bublé wins big at Junos while Justin Bieber is shut out

Why was Taylor Swift skunked at the ACM Awards?

Will Daniel Radcliffe cast a spell over Tony Awards voters?

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Emmy predix: Best supporting actor in a drama series

Cannes film festival competition short on Oscar contenders

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Can Conan O'Brien get back in the race for the Emmys?

April 12, 2010 | 12:46 pm

Conan O'Brien TBS Emmy Awards Conan O'Brien has landed a new gig to replace his short-lived run at the helm of "The Tonight Show." While it took him only a few weeks to sign with TBS for a Monday-Thursday 11 p.m. talk show, O'Brien may have to wait awhile to get back in the Emmy race. Remember, this critical darling failed to win over viewers in the vaunted 11:35 time slot and even the final season of "Late Night With Conan O'Brien" managed just one Emmy Award nomination last year. 

It took Conan O'Brien a full decade of hosting "Late Night" before the show landed its first Emmy bid in the variety comedy music series category in 2003. It contended unsuccessfully in that race for five years, always losing to "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart," which O'Brien will now face head-on in the ratings. In both 2008 and 2009, "Late Night" lost its slot to the resurgent "Saturday Night Live," while "The Daily Show" kept winning.

O'Brien and his writing staff finally won an Emmy in 2007 after being also-rans every year from 1996 to 2004 and then again in 2006. That was the only Emmy won by "Late Night" out of 29 nominations, including two more bids for writing in 2008 and 2009. In 2008, the "Late Night" writers lost to the team behind "The Colbert Report" and in 2009 to the scribes for "The Daily Show."

Prior to "The Daily Show" owning the series category, "Late Show With David Letterman" won that  award five years in a row beginning in 1998. The CBS late-night talk show hosted by David Letterman has competed in the top Emmy race every year since its debut season in 1994, when it won. In addition, it has taken three technical Emmys for a total haul of nine awards out of 64 nominations.

Compare that to the track record of Jay Leno, who returned to the "Tonight Show" in March. While he may be beating long-time rival David Letterman once again in the ratings, don't expect Leno to contend anytime soon at the Emmys. After all, he and the show were snubbed by the Emmys for his (first) farewell tour last year. The last nomination for Leno's edition of the NBC staple was in 2005, when he contended for the now-defunct individual performance prize, losing to Tony Awards host Hugh Jackman.

During Leno's 17 years at the helm, this NBC late-night staple won just one Emmy for best variety comedy series. That was way back in 1995, and the last of the show's nine nods in that race was in 2003. Add in three technical wins and the first incarnation of the "Tonight Show With Jay Leno" managed to take home just four Emmys out of 40 nominations. While Letterman -- who won four consecutive Emmys as part of the writing team on the original "Late Night" beginning in 1984 -- has been a perennial writing nominee for "Late Show," Jay Leno and his team of gag writers were snubbed by the Emmys for the entire run of his first version of the "Tonight Show."

Photo: Conan O'Brien at the 2007 Prime-time Emmy Awards. Credit: Fox.

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'Pyramid' to rise again on CBS daytime sked?

April 12, 2010 |  9:09 am

Dick Clark Pyramid Daytime Emmy Awards Everything old is new again -- at least when it comes to television. So the news that a revamped version of the game show "Pyramid" -- which first hit the airwaves in 1973 -- could be replacing the canceled soap "As the World Turns" on CBS comes as no surprise.

Last year, the classic game show was in the running to replace the axed soap "Guiding Light" but Eye execs instead went with another 1970s game show staple -- "Let's Make A Deal." The success of the new edition of that show, with Emmy champ Wayne Brady as host, has inspired CBS to try its luck again.

In one of those ironies of the TV biz, the Dick Clark-produced game show was canceled by CBS after the first season, only to be resurrected by ABC and flourish. The "$10,000 Pyramid," as it was called back then, ruled as the top-rated game show on the air for three consecutive seasons.

During its second season on ABC, the show doubled the jackpot, and the renamed "$20,000 Pyramid" won a Daytime Emmy as best game show. This incarnation would win the top Emmy twice more, tying with "The Hollywood Squares" in 1980 and winning for its final season on ABC in 1981.

After one season in syndication as the more generous "$50,000 Pyramid," the show returned to CBS in 1982 as the "$25,000 Pyramid" and ran till 1988, winning the Emmy five years in a row (1983-1987) and then again in 1989 for its final season on CBS. The following year, "Jeopardy" began a six-year winning streak and to date has earned a record 11 Emmys as best game show.

Guiding Light Pyramid Emmys

Dick Clark won three of his 10 Emmy bids for hosting in 1979, 1985 and 1986. The short-lived "$100,000 Pyramid" of 1991, emceed by John Davidson, as well as the Donny Osmond version of "Pyramid," which ran from 2002 to 2004, failed to impress Emmy voters.

Photo: Dick Clark on the set of "The $10,000 Pyramid." Credit: CBS

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Gold Derby nuggets: Laura Dern 'Enlightened' by HBO | ACM honorees include Keith Urban | Tony Awards eligibility updates

April 8, 2010 |  4:57 pm

Laura Dern Enlightenment HBOLaura Dern has inked a deal with HBO for her first regular TV gig. She and Mike White -- who directed her in "Year of the Dog" in 2007 -- have created "Enlightened" a half-hour single-camera comedy about "a self-destructive woman who has a revelatory experience at a treatment center and becomes determined to live an enlightened life, creating unexpected havoc at home and work." Dern's mother, Diane Ladd, as well as Luke Wilson and Sarah Burns are to co-star in this showcase for Dern, which will begin its 10-episode run this year. Last year, Dern won a Golden Globe for her portrayal of former Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris in the HBO political drama "Recount." THR

Anne Thompson is aces at covering the Cannes filmfest and reports, "filmmaker Claire Denis ('White Material') will preside over the Un Certain Regard jury. I have also learned that Mexican actor Gael Garcia Bernal (whose new Spanish film 'Even the Rain' is tagged for possible inclusion in the fest) and Italian actress Giovanna Mezzogiorno ('Vincere') will join Tim Burton’s competition jury, while Canadian writer-director Atom Egoyan ('Chloe') will preside over the Cinefondation Jury. And the Director’s Fortnight will award Agnes Varda with its 8th Carosse d’Or life achievement award." THOMPSON ON HOLLYWOOD

ACM logo • Australian crooner Keith Urban will be feted at the upcoming Academy of Country Music kudocast on CBS with the Jim Reeves International Award. Past recipients include Garth Brooks, Roy Clark, Buck Owens and Dolly Parton. Mel Tillis and the late Marty Robbins will be the recipients of the Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award which has gone previously to such country legends as Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, George Jones, Brenda Lee and Loretta Lynn. Don Schlitz and the late Cindy Walker are to be honored with the Poet's Award and "Crazy Heart" will be given the Tex Ritter Award for showcasing country music on the big screen. The ACMs will handed out in Las Vegas on April 18.

• "Curb Your Enthusiasm" is coming to the TV Guide network beginning June 2, and while the basic cablecaster will edit the show for nudity and language, it is not cutting it for length. "Curb" ran 30 minutes or so on commercial-free HBO, so to round out the hour time slot, the net is programming "Curb: The Discussion." Hosted by "Curb" star Susie Essman and co-produced by the show's creator and star Larry David, the first panelists will be David's old pal Jerry Seinfeld, Emmy nominee Jon Hamm ("Mad Men") and Oscar nominee Taraji Henson ("The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"). TV GUIDE

• The 24th annual Genesis Awards air on Animal Planet on the weekend of April 24. The kudos -- honoring the media for their coverage of animal protection issues -- were handed out on March 20 at the Beverly Hilton. Among the recipients of the 19 awards were the Oscar-winning films "Up" and "The Cove" and the TV series "Bones" and "Family Guy." Actress Tippi Hedren was presented with the lifetime achievement award by her daughter Melanie Griffith. GENESIS

Tony Award • The administration committee for the Tony Awards convened for the third of four times this theater season on Thursday. The committee is made up of two dozen theater folk, with 10 apiece from the Broadway League and the American Theater Wing -- which jointly host these top theater kudos -- and one each from the Dramatists Guild, Actors' Equity Assn., United Scenic Artists and the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers. They rule on category placement as usually only those performers listed above the title are eligible to contend in the lead categories at the Tony Awards. However, with the increase in equal billing for all, there is a need to separate out the true star turns from the supporting players. As such, two-time nominee Laura Linney will contend as a lead for "Time Stands Still" as will Patrick Breen for "Next Fall." And of the four actors in "A Behanding in Spokane," only Oscar champ Christopher Walken was found to be in a leading role.

• And finally, file this in the truth-is-stranger-than fiction drawer. Turns out that Hungarian-born adventurer Count Laszlo de Almásy -- who inspired the romantic hero played by Ralph Fiennes in the 1996 Oscar-winning "The English Patient" -- was "actually homosexual and in love with a young soldier, according to letters discovered in Germany." DAILY TELEGRAPH

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Top photo: Laura Dern at the 2009 Golden Globe Awards. Credit: NBC

Middle photo: Academy of Country Music logo. Credit: ACM

Bottom photo: Tony Award statuette. Credit: American Theater Wing

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

March 31, 2010 |  4:34 pm

30_rock_logoMatt Damon will make a rare appearance on TV when he reunites with Alec Baldwin -- a co-star from "The Departed" -- on "30 Rock." The Oscar-winning screenwriter of "Good Will Hunting" was at the top of Tina Fey's wish list of guest stars. Last fall Damon told Mike Ausiello he was a huge fan of the show and "would do it in a heartbeat if they asked me to come on. I have not been approached about doing it. She (Fey) should call my people or even better me." That phone call was made and Damon will play the latest in a long line of ill-fated suitors for Fey's character. ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY

• Oscar-winning actress Marlee Matlin ("Children of a Lesser God") produced a TV pilot -- "My Deaf Family" -- that featured a California family with deaf parents and hearing children. When it didn't sell, she turned to YouTube -- which offers closed captioning -- to generate interest in the idea. As she tells Alex Pham, "I guess in this world where economics, number crunching and demographics are what drive decisions, you have to roll up your sleeves and find other ways to prove that your show is good TV. I wouldn't mind an exclusive online agreement or network agreement, as long as I can find the means to tell more stories about this fascinating family." COMPANY TOWN

• Add Isabelle Huppert to the growing list of movie stars who have guested on TV's "Law & Order: SVU." As per exec producer Neal Baer, the Gallic great will appear in the upcoming 10th season finale as the mother of a kidnapped child. Huppert is the Meryl Streep of French cinema, having been nominated for 13 Cesar Awards but winning only once -- in 1996 for "La Ceremonie." She has rarely worked in English since making the misfire "Heaven's Gate" in 1980. Another French film star -- Leslie Caron -- was one of four guest actresses on "SVU" to win Emmys for their appearances. AP

Law & Order logoNellie Andreeva reports that NBC's renewal for a record 21st season of "Law & Order" could be contingent on a new deal with TNT which carries the procedural in a second window. "Law & Order" won the Emmy for best drama series in 1997 and has contended 10 more times, most recently in 2002. THR

• Should "Law & Order" sign off this year, Olympic gold medallist Lindsay Vonn will be one of the show's last guest stars. The ski champ will feature in the season finale as a key witness in a terrorism case. AP

Mark Malkin delivers the news that Oscar nominee Gabourey Sidibe will be guest host of an upcoming episode of "Saturday Night Live." The "Precious" leading lady has been busy already this year with her recurring role on the new Showtime series "The C Word" opposite Laura Linney. E ONLINE

• "Glee" star Jane Lynch will be feted with the achievement award at the 14th annual Outfest in L.A. on July 8. That marks opening night for the gay and lesbian film festival. Previous recipients of the top kudo have included filmmakers Don Roos, Jane Anderson and Rob Epstein, all of whom were recognized for significant contributions to the LGBT film and media. OUTFEST

The Corner DVD cover • Scribe David Mills -- who won two Emmys in 2002 for "The Corner" -- died suddenly in New Orleans Tuesday at age 48. He was in the city as part of the production team for the upcoming HBO series "Treme." Over the years, Mills also picked up Emmy nominations for his writing on "NYPD Blue" and for producing that show and "ER."  Before his stellar TV career, Mills was a journalist and his controversial 1992 interview with rapper Sister Souljah became part of that year's presidential campaign. NOLA

• Fans of "The Amazing Race" will get a chance to run their own version of the show in Europe this summer. A Cleveland company is offering 17 teams the chance to compete for a $9,000 cash prize by completing various tasks over a nine-day period including a 4,000-foot-high alpine toboggan. Cost to enter is $2,675 per person. The CBS Sunday night staple has never lost the race for best reality series at the Emmys since the category was introduced back in 2003. NEW YORK TIMES

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Top photo: "30 Rock" logo. Credit: NBC

Middle photo: "Law & Order" logo. Credit: NBC

Bottom photo: "The Corner" DVD cover. Credit: HBO

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