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

Category: The Wire

Gold Derby nuggets: See 'Damages' marathon on Aug. 7 ... 'The Wire' star Seth Gilliam blasts the Emmys ... Katherine Heigl & hubby Josh Kelley are 'chillin' out' after Emmy flapdoodle

July 31, 2008 |  3:27 pm

On Aug. 7, FX network will air a marathon of all 13 episodes of "Damages" from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET / PT. The critically hailed show is nominated for seven Emmy Awards, including best drama series and best actress (Glenn Close).

On my favorite subject of Melissa Leo , InContention.com wonders if the "Frozen River" star could be an Oscar front-runner. READ MORE

Speaking of Melissa Leo. I asked Sony Pictures Classics if I could speak to director-writer Courtney Hunt to get her side of the story about Leo's diva fit on the set of "Frozen River," but I'm told that they're traveling and not available till next week. OK, let's see if I can chat with Hunt then. My request for an interview remains open.

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Newcomer Jessie Farrell leads with the most nominations (seven) for the Canadian Country Music Assn. Awards that will be held in Winnipeg, Canada, on Sept. 8, hosted by Terri Clark. Jessie Farrell is a 30-year-old crooner who hails from Vancouver who is up for best single of the year ("Best of Me") and album ("Nothing Fancy"). READ MORE

"We take a little pride in not being nominated," fumes Seth Gilliam while lashing out at the Emmys for giving "The Wire" only one nomination in its farewell season: best writing. The star who portrays Sergeant Ellis Carver told BBC 5 Live: "The show deals with inner city civil servants and the Emmys would rather fantasize about lawyers and romance …. It's a show about a blue collar town. It's not very flashy and glamorous …. There aren't a lot of shootings in every episode and there isn't a lot of flesh and nipples … The Emmys will in no way validate the quality of the material we put out there." READ MORE

Rocker Josh Kelley finally speaks up about the hubbub surrounding his wife, "Grey's Anatomy" star Katherine Heigl, withdrawing from Emmy consideration — news originally broken by Gold Derby. (CLICK HERE) "Were pretty strong cats," he tells Hollyscoop.com. "We cook in a lot, watch a lot of TV, and just chill out and keep it simple." I'm not sure if this next sentence are the words Josh Kelley also uttered, or if this text is full of typos, but here's more: "When you get into the entertainment business usually most people get into knowing that the possibilities of these things happening are could be a reality I think you just try to get strong, deal with it move on and make your art." READ EVEN MORE

(Photos: HBO, OK Magazine)


TCA Awards go really crazy for 'Mad Men' and, as usual, slap 'The Wire'

July 19, 2008 | 10:27 pm

The list of winners of the TCA Awards was blasted all over the Internet nearly three hours before leaders of the Television Critics Assn. bothered to post it at their own website. Apparently, it was much more important for members to be boozing it up at the Beverly Hilton ballroom (where the Golden Globes are held) than to post important news about TV, even though it's theirs. Couldn't they have tapped someone to be designated awards poster like drunks appoint a designated driver so that the lushes can hang back at the bar and go crazy?

Or maybe they don't consider the result of TCA Awards important news? And if they don't, why should we?

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Speaking of crazy, TCA truly went bonkers for "Mad Men" — voting it best new drama series, best new program plus program of the year. Couldn't they have given one of those prizes — say, best drama or program of the year — to the TV show they fawn over like airhead girls gush over the Jonas Brothers? "The Wire" was nominated for both awards.

No, TCA voters stuck it with that bogus, honorary heritage award instead, a prize that is supposed to hail vintage old shows deserving of renewed attention today. The other four nominees for the heritage prize this year were "M*A*S*H," "Roots," "Saturday Night Live" and "Sesame Street." "The Wire" shouldn't be in that lineup, of course. It's not another old chesnut. But it was given this award as a consolation prize because TCA doesn't have the guts to give it a real one. When "The Wire" competes against contemporary peer programs for a TCA Award, the TV critics don't want it.

That's exactly what TCA did to "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" — they stuck it with the phony-baloney heritage award after failing over and over to give it a real prize. And therein lies the proof of what hypocrites its members are. The vast majority of them belly-ached and bashed the Emmys for years because "Buffy," first, then "The Wire" didn't win top awards. Well, as far as I'm concerned, "Buffy" and "The Wire" (which just finished its final season) never won any real TCA awards either, so it's high time that its members practiced some self-flagellation in penance.

At least "Buffy" and "The Wire" have fared better than "Battlestar Galactica," another darling of those TV critics who love to slam the Emmys for failing to recognize its brilliance. So far "Galactica" still hasn't won anything, which suggests that next year, when it's off the airwaves entirely, it's a shoo-in for the next worthless heritage award.

Amazingly, a rare woman received a performance award from the predominantly male organization. Winner of best achievement in comedy Tina Fey ("30 Rock") becomes only the fourth female to claim one of the 24 performance prizes ever bestowed by TCA for comedy or drama. The previous three: Jane Kaczmarek for "Malcolm in the Middle" in 2000 and 2001 and Edie Falco for "The Sopranos" in 2003.

The career achievement award, as usual, went to a man. No females were even nominated this year. Recipient: Lorne Michaels, producer of "Saturday Night Live" and "30 Rock." Of the previous 23 honorees, only four were women (Lucille Ball, Angela Lansbury, Carol Burnett, Mary Tyler Moore).

Below is the full list of 2008 champs. To see the nominees, CLICK HERE.

PROGRAM OF THE YEAR: "Mad Men" (AMC)
OUTSTANDING NEW PROGRAM: "Mad Men" (AMC)
OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN COMEDY: "30 Rock" (NBC)
OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN DRAMA: "Mad Men" (AMC)
OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN NEWS & INFORMATION: "The War: A Film by Ken Burns & Lynn Novick" (PBS)

SEE THE REST OF THE LIST - CLICK HERE!

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Emmy pundits' predix smackdown: Tom vs. Ray

July 15, 2008 | 12:35 pm

Ray Richmond of the Hollywood Reporter and I don't really hate each other, though I'm sure it might look like that when we get into our frequent slugfests over award predix. In fact, I absolutely love beating up on Ray more than any other journalist — really, and that's saying something. Here we go at it over what will be nominated for Emmys this Thursday morning and, to prove what a noble gent I am, I let Ray have the first word (so that I — ha, ha, ha — could have the last . . . well, at least until nominations come out).

BEST COMEDY SERIES
RAY: "Curb Your Enthusiasm," "Family Guy," "The Office," "Pushing Daisies," "30 Rock"
TOM: "Curb Your Enthusiasm," "The Office," "Pushing Daisies," "30 Rock," "Two and a Half Men"

RAY: Yes, "Family Guy" makes the cut -- not necessarily because it deserves to, but because the TV Academy loses its marbles every once in a while. And this is that once. The only other question is whether "Pushing Daisies" gets pushed out by its ABC sister "Ugly Betty," but Betty has so dropped from the radar I'm thinking not. "Weeds"? Only if Woody Harrelson takes over the voting process from those bean counters in suits.

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TOM: Obviously, Ray, you were partying with Woody when you made these Emmy predix if you really think that "Family Guy" will get in over "2.5 Men." The latter's been nominated every year that the TV academy has had these panels — that is, the last two years. The last (and ONLY) time a cartoon sneaked into this comedy lineup was "The Flintstones" MORE THAN 45 YEARS AGO — back before computers, cable TV and double Pinkberry scoops — when the Emmy counters were using real beans.

BEST DRAMA SERIES
RAY & TOM: "Boston Legal," "Damages," "Grey's Anatomy," "House," "Mad Men"

RAY: "Mad Men" and "Damages" are locks. "House" probably is too. I'm thinking "Grey's" gets in over "Lost." "Boston Legal" is in because it is written that David Kelley shall always be in the running in some fashion. "The Wire"? No matter how deserving, it's probably a miracle it made it even this far.

TOM: Uh-oh. Ray and I are in total agreement here. Why does that terrify me so?

BEST DRAMA ACTOR
RAY: Bryan Cranston ("Breaking Bad"), Michael C. Hall ("Dexter"), Jon Hamm ("Mad Men"), Hugh Laurie ("House"), James Spader ("Boston Legal")
TOM: Michael C. Hall ("Dexter"), Jon Hamm ("Mad Men"), Hugh Laurie ("House"), Denis Leary ("Rescue Me"), James Spader ("Boston Legal")

RAY: Spader's a lock because he talks so slowly and intensely, it seems, but he ain't winning this time. Hamm's the one to beat seemingly. And the AMC momentum with "Mad Men" could — I pray — carry Cranston in. He is SO deserving. But he could get beaten out by Byrne, just because he's Gabriel Byrne. Hall deserves a nom for sure, and Laurie has deserved to win for three years running. He still does. But he won't. But if he doesn't get nominated, I say firebomb the ATAS headquarters and let's just start over.

TOM: Yeah, Hamm, Laurie and Spader are in. Ray (amazingly) is right about those, but he's wrong about Spader not winning again. Come on, Spader's NEVER LOST. He's gone three for three in this race and the reason he won repeatedly in the past was because writer/producer David E. Kelley kept penning him those grandstanding speeches he'd spew to juries at the end of each episode of "Boston Legal" that he submitted to Emmy judges. This year Spader submits his BIGGEST speech doozy ever — in which he chews out the whole U.S. Supreme Court. How can Hollywood lefties NOT vote THAT? READ MORE

As for Ray's deluded hope that Cranston will get in — well, I'd cheer that if it happened, but it won't. Cranston would have to rank in the top seven or so places in the popular vote and I think that's unlikely for a new, lowly rated, cable show about a guy toying with crystal meth and terminal cancer. Denis Leary's been nommed consistently for the past three years, surviving all wacky, radical changes in the voting process. I see no reason why he suddenly gets bumped now.

BEST DRAMA ACTRESS
RAY & TOM: Glenn Close ("Damages"), Minnie Driver ("The Riches"), Sally Field ("Brothers & Sisters"), Holly Hunter ("Saving Grace"), Kyra Sedgwick ("The Closer")

RAY: This is probably the easiest major category to handicap. It's difficult for me to see it being anyone other than Close, Driver, Field, Hunter and Sedgwick, though Arquette or Moss could pull an upset if enough of their relatives are permitted to vote (and Moss surely would deserve it). Field could also be victimized by backlash to last year's dead-on but controversial acceptance speech ("You gagged me, you really gagged me!"). Close will win, however. End of story.

TOM: Ray and I are in agreement again. Shoot me.

BEST COMEDY ACTOR
RAY: Alec Baldwin ("30 Rock"), Steve Carell ("The Office"), Larry David ("Curb Your Enthusiasm"), Lee Pace ("Pushing Daisies"), Tony Shalhoub ("Monk")
TOM: Alec Baldwin ("30 Rock"), Steve Carell ("The Office"), David Duchovny ("Californication"), Lee Pace ("Pushing Daisies"), Charlie Sheen ("Two and a Half Men")

RAY: Baldwin was jobbed last year in favor of "Extras' Ricky Gervais, and everyone knows it. Probably won't happen again. He and Carell are slam dunks, as is Shalhoub. David only seems to generate greater affection for his misanthropic "Curn" role as the years pile up, so he's likely in too along with the charming Pace (who could be edged out by Emmy darling Garrett, but I don't think so).

TOM: Ray may have blundered upon a smart set of predix here and he may even out-score me because — what the heck — I feel like throwing some Emmy dice. Betting against Shalhoub to return may be foolish. He's been nommed for the last five years, winning three times (2003, 2005, 2006), but his episode entry this year is a bit weak ("Mr. Monk and the Naked Man"), which will bring down his typical judges' score. And I think his popular-vote score will be down, too, because he's old news. Sure, Duchovny's old Emmy news too — he used to be nommed routinely for "The X-Files," so we know that voters love him — and now his comeback in new series "Californication" is sexy.

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Seven Emmy geniuses predict Thursday's award nominations

July 14, 2008 |  3:24 pm

Somehow I've managed to coax six suckers brilliant kudos seers to join me in predicting the Emmy nominations that will be announced this Thursday morning: Michael Ausiello (EW.com), Matt Webb Mitovich (TVGuide.com), Marc Berman (MediaWeek), Ray Richmond (Hollywood Reporter) and our two resident Emmy gurus — our forums moderators Robert "Rob L" Licuria (AwardsHeaven.net) and Chris "Boomer" Beachum. To see how we fared predicting the Emmy top 10 lists, CLICK HERE! Below: how we size up the races for best drama and comedy series. To see our predix for best lead actor and actress, CLICK HERE!

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Cable stars make a historic breakthrough in Top 10 Emmy lists

July 3, 2008 |  1:18 pm

Not only is there lots of great Emmy news in the Top 10 lists for best comedy and drama series — "The Wire," "Mad Men," "Damages," and "Family Guy" — but, as of this counting, cable stars have nabbed 18 of the 40 slots for lead actor and actress in a comedy and drama series. That's up from 11 last year.

We still need to fill in two slots for lead comedy actor (it used to be three, but we just learned that "Til Death's" Brad Garrett is in), but so far we already have 38 of the 40 entries in those top acting lineups. So we're nearly done with our snooping. Looks like cable TV has made historic inroads and the TV academy must be cheered for the increasing presence of excellent cable fare in a traditionally broadcast-heavy contest.

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As Lisa de Moreas points out in her Washington Post column today (CLICK HERE): "Last year only three of the 10 contenders for a nomination in the drama-series lead actress competition came from cable. This year only three are actresses in broadcast TV series."

Among the most notable entries in the acting Top 10s are three nice surprises certain to make TV critics cheer: Sarah Silverman of Comedy Central's "The Sarah Silverman Program," Bryan Cranston of AMC's "Breaking Bad" and Mary McDonnell of SciFi's "Battlestar Galactica." Plus there are the new cable contenders we expected and are happy to behold: Jon Hamm and Elisabeth Moss ("Mad Men"), Glenn Close ("Damages"), David Duchovny ("Californication") and Gabriel Byrne ("In Treatment"). And lots more in the supporting slots.

The TV academy is experimenting with a relatively new voting process involving these semifinalist runoffs, so it's naturally gun-shy about publicly releasing any info. They did so by officially unveiling the best-series lists, but didn't divulge the acting lineups. So Gold Derby did it for the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. (We have yet to receive a thank-you note.)

The reason: We want people to see how heroically the TV academy is increasing its process of insisting on careful scrutiny of contenders. Forget the Oscar, Grammy and Tony, the Emmy is the only showbiz peer-group award that demands its voters actually see what they're voting on and there's something fantastically noble about that. Prior to three years ago, nominees were chosen strictly by a popular vote and only the final five in each race were subjected to the same careful judging process that calls for voters to watch representative episodes submitted by contenders as examples of their best work, then sign an affidavit attesting that they viewed everything required before inking their ballots.

The Emmy isn't just any award, it's the most important showbiz prize on the planet because it weighs the work of the most powerful medium in the world: TV. The Oscar is more glamorous and esteemed only because we're a nation of film snobs. We call movies the silver screen, but dismiss TV — which we take for granted, like family, because we view it in our underwear at home while crunching Fritos — as the boob tube. In fact, some episodes of "Mad Men," "Dexter" and "Damages" were better than most, if not all, of the flicks that just won Oscars, right?

I, hereby, officially apologize to the TV academy for outing them these last three years by disclosing the Top 10 lists, but I did it out of profound admiration. I love the Emmy — it's my favorite award by far — and, arguably, it's the most important because, by giving underdogs a serious shot at winning, it's running the fairest contest and one that, in the end, makes an invaluable contribution to the world's most powerful medium.

Bottom line: TV's Golden Girl rescued many brilliant, low-rated TV shows that probably would've been canceled if they hadn't won Emmys, including "Cheers," "All in the Family," "Hill Street Blues," "Picket Fences" and "Cagney and Lacey." In more recent years, it didn't, alas, save "Arrested Development," but by hailing it as best comedy series of 2004, Emmy bought it a few more years on the air when it was nominated again (and again) for that high prize before the network ax dropped. Everyone — except, no doubt, David E. Kelley — got upset when "The Practice" beat "The Sopranos" in the latter's first year, but that helped to keep a show on TV that morphed into "Boston Legal," which was nominated for best drama series last year and will probably be again this year.

The TV academy, let's recall, is an academy: a place meant to encourage intense debate, which is often heated, yes, and unpleasant for academy staffers. But the reason we have award contests, I maintain, is not to dole out fake gold statuettes, but to encourage a public discussion of what makes, in this case, the best TV. That means we must open up the voting process for everyone to see at every stage that voters are involved so we voice our own views, however harsh. Throughout my two-decades-long career of chronicling awards as a journalist, I've always found that the more TV critics, for example, can see the Emmy process up close, the more they appreciate TV's Golden Girl.

Usually, TV critics beat the bejesus out of the Emmys, but they do so, frankly, because they don't understand what's going on. When nominations come out and their favorite shows and stars aren't on the list, they immediately start hurling nuclear weapons of mass destruction, which has made Emmy chiefs war weary over the years and thus leery about sharing any information they don't have to. But I'm trying hard to force them to disclose everything — just like the Oscars and Daytime Emmys (overseen by a different TV academy), which disclose all contenders in every race that involves a runoff.

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Release of the Emmys' top 10 lists: Roundup of pundit reax

June 30, 2008 |  3:24 pm

So what do media gurus think of the contents of the Emmy top 10 lists of semifinalists for best comedy and drama series? Here's a sampling below. Let's lead off with the esteemed Matt Roush!

TVGUIDE.COM (Matt Roush) — "Emmy Gets Our Hopes Up: The lists are heavy on hip cable fare: four in comedy, and fully half of the 10 drama contenders. Critics' darlings that have survived so far include 'Friday Night Lights,' 'The Wire,' 'Dexter,' 'Mad Men,' Damages,' 'Pushing Daisies' and (with a tip of the cap to my TCA brethren) 'Flight of the Conchords.'

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"Among the headlines here: 'The Wire,' so long neglected, is HBO's only drama contender ....  'Family Guy' breaks the animation jinx to be considered for best comedy — but really, is drama contender 'Boston Legal' any less of a cartoon? — while also double-dipping by submitting its hour-long 'Star Wars' parody in the animated category. First-year series are bringing fresh blood into the process: 'Daisies,' 'Conchords,' 'Damages' and 'Mad Men.'

"So while this isn't a perfect list, it's one that manages to get our hopes up that the blue-ribbon judges will be as impressed as I was by the stunning pilots of 'Daisies,' 'Damages' and 'Mad Men,' the dazzling 'Constant' episode of 'Lost' and the heartbreaking 'Leave No One Behind' episode of 'Friday Night Lights.' The drama category will probably be a real squeaker, given that shows with uneven seasons but strong Emmy track records submitted Emmy-bait stunts, like 'Boston Legal's' Supreme Court spoof and 'House's' Antarctic Super Bowl-night episode."

HOLLYWOOD REPORTER (Ray Richmond) — "It's not quite the cable trouncing predicted earlier, but it's also an excellent showing — particularly if you're a comedy on HBO."

NEW YORK POST — "For shows like 'Friday Night Lights,' their inclusion is a major step from critical darling to Emmy darling, which could boost ratings and allow fans (like me!) to continue enjoying the show for seasons to come. After all, back-to-back Emmy wins kept 'Arrested Development' on the air much longer than its pithy ratings should have allowed."

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Emmys spy report from secret judge No. 2: Huzzahs for 'Boston Legal,' 'Damages,' 'House' and 'Mad Men'

June 28, 2008 | 11:36 pm

Our trusty forums moderator Chris "Boomer" Beachum got some dish on Saturday's Emmys judging panel at the TV academy today too and gives this report in our forums. (CLICK HERE!) Based upon what he heard from secret Emmy judge No. 2, Boomer believes the five nominees will be "Boston Legal," "Damages," "Grey's Anatomy," "House" and "Mad Men." "I think 'Grey's Anatomy' is on the bubble, though," he adds, "and could be replaced by 'Lost' or 'The Wire' (in that order). There is no realistic chance for 'Friday Night Lights,' 'Dexter' or 'The Tudors.'"

Boomer's prediction agrees with four of those from our secret Emmys judge No. 1: "Boston Legal," "Damages," "House" and "Mad Men." Judge 2 discounts the hopes of "The Wire" and gives much higher marks to "Lost." CLICK HERE to see our first judge's predix. If both sets of predix prove true about two shows — "Damages" and "Mad Men" — they will become the first non-HBO cable series ever nominated for best drama series. (No non-HBO cable series has ever been nominated for best comedy series either, by the by.)

Words below are Boomer's based upon our second report:

1. Today's 10 episodes were viewed alphabetically starting with "Boston Legal" and ending with "The Wire." Tomorrow's (Sunday's) drama panel will have these reversed. The lunch break was after "Friday Night Lights" and before "Grey's Anatomy."

2. This panel had about 30 people (few of them under age 50). One voter said that may make the appeal of "Mad Men" even greater because many of them were actually working in the 1960s. By the way, that voter had "Mad Men's" episode ranked fourth overall.

3. "Grey's Anatomy" only had Part 1 of "Freedom" as the show's entry. There was some audible grumbling in the room that these voters were left hanging on what happened in the last half. I heard that one voter had it ninth on their ballot.

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Our Emmy gurus predict the actors' top 10s: Hugh Laurie, Glenn Close, Charlie Sheen, Steve Carell . . .

June 27, 2008 | 12:24 pm

The TV academy hasn't admitted it, but its chiefs will probably unveil the rest of the top 10 Emmy finalists — the ones for acting — next week after they're done basking in the huzzahs over their comedy and drama lists. (And well deserved! Congrats, TV academy!)

Below are the predix of our Emmy gurus: Michael Ausiello (Entertainment Weekly), Marc Berman (Media Week), Matt Webb Mitovich (TVGuide.com), Ray Richmond (Hollywood Reporter) and our two resident Emmy gurus Robert "Rob L" Licuria (AwardsHeaven.net) and Chris "Boomer" Beachum. Comedy predix are below. To see drama predix, CLICK HERE!

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'Mad Men,' 'Dexter,' 'Grey's Anatomy,' 'Boston Legal' and 'House M.D.' will make Emmy's list of top 10 drama series, our experts say

June 4, 2008 |  9:37 pm

Before a TV series can be among the five nominees for Emmy's best drama, it must first make the top 10 runoff after a popular vote is conducted of the TV academy's 14,000 members. That balloting starts this week and ends June 20. Next, judges evaluate a sample episode of the 10 finalists. Their scores are combined on a 50-50 basis with results of the original popular vote, thus determining the five nominees that will be unveiled on July 17.

I've asked this jury of esteemed Emmy gurus to join me in predicting the top 10 finalists for best drama series: Mike Ausiello (now with Entertainment Weekly, formerly with TV Guide), Marc Berman (MediaWeek), Ray Richmond (Hollywood Reporter) and our two resident Emmy gurus Robert "Rob L" Licuria (AwardsHeaven.net) and Chris "Boomer" Beachum.

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Here's a rundown of all of the top series in contention, which I handicapped recently in The Envelope's Emmy print section in the L.A. Times, CLICK HERE.

Below, the "logic" behind my predictions. Let's start with last year's top 10 finalists. Because Emmy's popular voting usually looks like a TV repeat, we should expect most to return.

Three aren't on the air anymore ("The Sopranos," "Rome") or aren't eligible this voting period ("24"). At least one of the others has lost most of its buzz and heat ("Heroes"). I fear that the same is true — admittedly, to a lesser degree — for "Friday Night Lights" despite continued huzzahs from TV critics and the show's low viewership. Some of my fellow gurus are picking it to return, and they may be right, but I'm taking a flier on a few newbies to the top 10.

Bottom line: expect the other 5 shows to return: "Boston Legal," "Dexter," "Grey's Anatomy," "House M.D." and "Lost."

"The Tudors" probably came close to getting in last year. Emmy voters, like Oscar voters, are usually suckers for British royalty stuff. This year "The Tudors" has gotten even better ("fantastic" is the word I'd use) and it recently unspooled at the tail end of the Emmy voting period. Smart skedding.

I was shocked "Brothers & Sisters" didn't make it last year. Especially since it's an acting-heavy drama for boomers (the average age demographic of Emmy voters). Following Sally Field's notorious win as best drama dame last year (you can't possibly have forgotten how the Emmycast censored her anti-war rant), the show will probably, finally, be a finalist.

Just to make sure that TV academy voters didn't forget "Damages" after it debuted last summer and wrapped up in early fall, FX network sent campaign DVDs to TV academy voters twice— once in September and again last month. That means they'll remember it now while inevitably recalling all of the critical acclaim it received upon its debut.

"Mad Men" will make the cut, of course. It's the hottest new cable series. It's probably the front-runner to win.

So what will the 10th entry be? So far, I haven't cited a single HBO drama and at least one must be a finalist, right? Heck, the pay channel's had at least one nominee in this race for the past nine years. How could it miss making the top 10 altogether?

"Big Love" could certainly make it, especially considering that HBO's ho-hum "Rome" made last year's list. But "Big Love" has lost a bit of its cache and has a really big Ick Factor considering that creepy, real polygamy case going on in Texas. (Or maybe that actually helps, do you think?

Sure, there's "The Wire" as an HBO Emmy alternative, but it didn't make the finalist list over the last two years. Why should we think "The Wire" could finally prevail now that the series has ended? Usually, off air means out of Emmy voters' minds.

I'm going to go with "In Treatment" in my 10th slot because I can't imagine HBO getting shut out of this rundown completely. Yes, TV ratings were very low and, frankly, I thought the series (what I watched of it) was a snooze. But I also think that it has a high Cool Quotient and I believe that its focus — therapy — is of infinite fascination to the self-absorbed wackos of Hollyweird.

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Television critics' awards continue to snub (slap?) women with 'The Wire' and 'Mad Men' leading the nominations

June 4, 2008 |  3:41 pm

Fox TV may be No. 1 among viewers, but according to the Television Critics Assn., there is nothing on the network worth nominating for awards.

Paycaster HBO leads the pack for the annual TCA awards with 10 nods, including four for the final season of "The Wire." Perhaps this will be the year that this show, long touted by the critics, finally gets some awards love from them. They have long criticized the Emmy Awards for snubbing the gritty series, save for a sole writing nod in 2005, but they have done the same, with the show going 0 for 6 with the TCA.

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Of course, the TV critics did the same with "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," and star Sarah Michelle Gellar, bemoaning the Emmys for not taking the show seriously but failing to recognize it themselves until after it went off the air. Then they gave it the heritage award —  a prize "The Wire" is up for this year, along with program of the year, drama series and individual achievement in drama (show creator David Simon).

With men making up a majority of the TCA membership, testosterone-driven programs like the Ken Burns WWII documentary "The War" — which picked up three nods, including program of the year — tend to dominate the nominations. Perhaps that explains why another critical darling — "Battlestar Galactica" — will leave the airwaves this year having been snubbed by the TCA. After all, the president in that sci-fi series is, egads, a woman (Mary McDonnell).

The other programs competing for the top prize are male-driven: "Mad Men," which is also up for drama series, new program and an individual nom for star Jon Hamm; "John Adams," which also contends for movie/mini-series and gets a nod for star Paul Giamatti; and "Lost," which found its way back into this category after being snubbed last year.

To be fair, two of the entries for best movie or mini-series are distinctly female-friendly — "Cranford" and "The Complete Jane Austen" —which both aired on PBS' "Masterpiece." However, that nod for "Austen" is odd given that this umbrella series included a showing of the decade-old version of "Pride and Prejudice" among its offerings.

While these period pieces showcase great actresses like Dames Judi Dench and Eileen Atkins, women still struggle to make it into the individual achievement races. This year, like last, only two women are competing for each of these prizes. Connie Britton ("Friday Night Lights") and Tina Fey ("30 Rock") return, joined by Glenn Close ("Damages") and Christina Applegate ("Samantha Who?") in the drama and comedy categories.

However, if the TCA track record is anything to go by, I wouldn't worry about writing an acceptance speech, ladies. Of the 22 awards bestowed so far for individual achievement in comedy or drama series, only three have gone to women: Jane Kaczmarek for "Malcolm in the Middle" in 2000 and 2001 and Edie Falco for "The Sopranos" in 2003.

This year, there is not a single woman among the five finalists competing for the career achievement award. That is not so surprising given that only two of the first 20 honorees were women — Lucille Ball (1989) and Angela Lansbury (1996). And with Carol Burnett having been honored in 2006 and Mary Tyler Moore last year, looks like Oprah Winfrey will have to wait till at least 2028 for her turn. Then the following year, the TCA could finally fete Barbara Walters, who will, no doubt, still be holding court on "The View" as she turns 100.

Winners will be announced July 19, two days after Emmy Awards nominations are made public. Luckily for the ladies, those kudos include just as many categories for them as they do for the fellas.

Program of the year
"John Adams"
"Lost"
"Mad Men"
"The War"
"The Wire"

Comedy series
"30 Rock"
"The Colbert Report"
"The Daily Show With Jon Stewart"
"Flight of the Conchords"
"The Office"

Drama series
"Damages"
"Friday Night Lights"
"Lost"
"Mad Men"
"The Wire"

Movies, miniseries and specials
"John Adams"
"Masterpiece: Cranford"
"Masterpiece: The Complete Jane Austen"
"The War"
"A Raisin in the Sun"

New program
"Breaking Bad"
"Damages"
"Flight of the Conchords"
"Mad Men"
"Pushing Daisies"

Individual achievement in comedy
Christina Applegate ("Samantha Who?")
Alec Baldwin ("30 Rock")
Stephen Colbert ("The Colbert Report")
Tina Fey ("30 Rock")
Ray Wise ("Reaper")

Individual achievement in drama
Connie Britton ("Friday Night Lights")
Glenn Close ("Damages")
Paul Giamatti ("John Adams")
Jon Hamm ("Mad Men")
David Simon ("The Wire")

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