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Category: Weeds

Gold Derby nuggets: 'Boardwalk Empire' renewed after red-hot premiere | 'Ruined' playwright Lynn Nottage succeeds | Two 'Lost' stars may be reuniting

September 21, 2010 | 11:01 am

Buscmei Boardwalk Empire • "Boardwalk Empire" rolled out its first episode Sunday, and 7.1 million HBO subscribers tuned in to the three airings of the new drama that night. That marks the best numbers for a debut on the paycaster since "Deadwood" premiered after an episode of "The Sopranos" in 2004. On Tuesday, HBO programming president Michael Lombardo confirmed a second season renewal, saying in a statement: "All the ingredients aligned for this one, from Mark Wahlberg and Steve Levinson's initial pitch, to Martin Scorsese's enormous contributions as director and executive producer, to the genius of Terry Winter and the expertise of Tim Van Patten, to a stellar cast led by Steve Buscemi." ZAP 2 IT

Sean Macaulay commemorates the 20th anniversary of the release of Martin Scorsese's best picture contender "Goodfellas" with an essay that begins thus: "When I first saw 'Goodfellas' at the Curzon Cinema in London when I was 25, I was so overwhelmed that I had to go back to see it again the same week. It was an immediate guilty pleasure. No 'classic' film could be this much fun, I thought, or this dense. Even the celebrated shot of Uncle Paulie cutting garlic with a razor blade has a sprig of parsley in the foreground. But I was also compelled to return to the theater because I found the movie so unsettling -- it was simultaneously seductive and queasy. It is a 25-year life of crime presented with the verve of a movie trailer -- and without one hint of sanctimony." THE DAILY BEAST

• Two Emmy darlings -- Mary-Louise Parker ("Weeds") and Laura Linney ("The Big C") -- are ensured of continued TV time with the renewal of their shows for seasons seven and two, respectively. In a statement Showtime president of entertainment David Nevins said, "The unprecedented viewership for both 'The Big C' and 'Weeds' proves that audiences love these shows as much as we do. There are definitely more comedic adventures in store for these fascinating, complex women."

Ruinedposter • Playwright Lynn Nottage -- who won the Pulitzer Prize last year for "Ruined" -- is having a very good week. On Monday, this work -- a stark look at life in post-colonial Africa -- won the inaugural Horton Foote prize for best American play; this new kudo is named in honor of the late Oscar and Pulitzer champ. On Tuesday, the Steinberg Trust announced that Nottage will receive the distinguished playwright prize which comes with bragging rights and a check for $200,000. And HBO has just inked a deal to partner with Oprah Winfrey on a telefilm version of the piece.

• Four-time Tony champ Harvey Fierstein is collaborating with composer Alan Menken -- who has eight Oscars -- on a stage version of the 1993 movie "Newsies." As Menken told Kenneth Jones, "Yeah, it is in development. What it's going to be is -- honestly, right now -- undetermined. I think Disney is still trying to decide whether it's a first-class production or whether it's stock and amateur. But there will be available a stage musical of 'Newsies.' That's all I can say. I've been writing it with Harvey Fierstein and Jack Feldman. [How it emerges is] just gonna be [a] business decision of how Disney wants to proceed with it. But yes, we are developing it." PLAYBILL

Jerry Seinfeld turned his hand to stage directing and scored a hit the first time out with Colin Quinn's "Long Story Short." That one-man show featuring the former "SNL" star is a 75-minute romp through history. After a successful run off-Broadway this summer, it is being remounted this fall at the Helen Hayes Theater in the heart of the rialto. ARTS BEAT

Lost Emerson OQuinn • Two of the Emmy winners from "Lost" could be reuniting reports Josef Adalian. "Are you ready for Linus & Locke? In news that could cause the 'Lost' fan base to have a synchronized aneurysm, Vulture hears that last week, J.J. Abrams and frequent collaborators Josh Appelbaum and Andre Nemec ('Alias,' 'Mission: Impossible 4') began pitching a comedic drama to the networks that would have Michael Emerson and Terry O'Quinn -- a.k.a. Benjamin Linus and John Locke/Smokey -- playing former black-ops agents. VULTURE

• Screenwriter Irving Ravetch died Sunday at age 89. He and his wife, Harriet Frank Jr., were nominated twice for best screenplay at the Oscars ("Norma Rae" in 1979, "Hud" in 1963) and once at the Golden Globes ("Hud"). The New York Film Critics Circle gave them its script prize for "Hud." He also wrote "The Reivers" (1969) and "The Dark at the Top of the Stairs" (1960). He was also a producer of "Hud" and "The Reivers."

• The Latin Recording Academy will bestow lifetime achievement awards to Joao Donato, Armando Manzanero, Las Hermanas Márquez, Joseito Mateo, Jorge Oñate and Susana Rinaldi. Trustee awards will go to Manuel Bonilla, Juan Carlos Calderón and Hebe Camargo. The kudos will be doled out on Nov. 10 at a private ceremony at the Four Seasons Hotel in Las Vegas. That's one day before the main Latin Grammy ceremony will be held at the Mandalay Bay Events Center.

• One young lady is so desperate to lose weight in order to be a seat filler at the Latin Grammys that she's had a tongue patch implanted, which causes pain when she eats. TERRA

Top photo: Steve Buscemi in "Boardwalk Empire." Credit: HBO

Middle photo: "Ruined" poster. Credit: MTC

Bottom photo: Terry O'Quinn, left. and Michael Emerson in "Lost." Credit: ABC

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'Mad Men' is crazy like a fox at Emmy timing

July 26, 2010 | 11:47 am

It's no coincidence that "Mad Men" premiered its new season last night — just days before ballots are shipped to Emmy voters to pick winners. TV networks like AMC often air new seasons of Emmy contenders at strategic times to boost award hopes.

Cable series can be more flexible about air dates than can broadcast channels, which usually conform to traditional launch times, such as September or January. But there are exceptions. NBC waited till May sweeps before airing the most recent season of "Friday Night Lights," which originally aired on DirecTV last fall. End of the Emmy eligibility period was May 31. Voting on nominations began June 4. Therefore, NBC gave "Friday Night Lights" perfect scheduling placement, and it paid off with two top nominations for the first time ever: bids for best lead actor and actress for Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton.

Mad Men True Blood 48362915 TV entertainment news

Such strategic Emmy scheduling dates back to "Sex and the City," which premiered on HBO on June 6, 1998. It wasn't eligible for awards that September, of course, but it was given high profile during voting season in order to position the show in the minds of TV academy members in the future. For the next few years, "Sex and the City" continued to air its newest season in June just as voters were casting ballots on the previous season. The strategy paid off with repeated nominations in top races, including a victory as best comedy series of 2001.

HBO employed similar scheduling strategies for "Six Feet Under" and "Entourage," which never won best series but nonetheless scored frequent top nominations. The notable exception to the HBO approach was "The Sopranos." Its first two seasons aired January to April in 1999 and 2000. Season 3 aired March 4 to May 20, 2001. Season 4 was telecast from Sept. 15 to Dec. 2, 2002. "The Sopranos" was consistently nominated for best drama series but lost its first four bouts to "The Practice" and "The West Wing." It wasn't until its fifth time up that "The Sopranos" finally won best drama series for the first time after episodes aired between March 7 and June 6, 2004.

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My fearless, 100% accurate Emmy nominations predictions

July 6, 2010 | 11:35 am
Emmy Awards 12

Here's who I predict will score bids when Emmy Awards nominations are unveiled Thursday morning:

BEST DRAMA SERIES
"Breaking Bad"
"Damages"
"Dexter"
"Mad Men"
"The Good Wife"
"Lost"

ALTERNATES: "Big Love," "Friday Night Lights," "House M.D.," "Sons of Anarchy," "Treme"


BEST COMEDY SERIES
"The Big Bang Theory"
"Curb Your Enthusiasm"
"Family Guy"
"Glee"
"Modern Family"
"30 Rock"

ALTERNATES: "Community," "How I Met Your Mother," "Entourage," "Nurse Jackie," "The Office," "Parks and Recreation," "Weeds"


BEST DRAMA ACTOR
Simon Baker ("The Mentalist")
Bryan Cranston ("Breaking Bad")
Michael C. Hall ("Dexter")
Jon Hamm ("Mad Men")
Hugh Laurie ("House")
Timothy Olyphant ("Justified")

ALTERNATES: Matt Bomer ("White Collar"), Kyle Chandler ("Friday Night Lights"), Matthew Fox ("Lost"), Peter Krause ("Parenthood"), Denis Leary ("Rescue Me"), Bill Paxton ("Big Love"), Wendell Pierce ("Treme"), Kiefer Sutherland ("24")


BEST DRAMA ACTRESS
Glenn Close ("Damages")
Mariska Hargitay ("Law & Order: SVU")
January Jones ("Mad Men")
Julianna Margulies, "The Good Wife")
Katey Sagal ("Sons of Anarchy")
Kyra Sedgwick ("The Closer")

ALTERNATES: Sally Field ("Brothers and Sisters"), Anna Gunn ("Breaking Bad"), Holly Hunter ("Saving Grace"), Melissa Leo ("Treme"), Anna Paquin ("True Blood")


BEST COMEDY ACTOR
Steve Carell ("The Office")
Alec Baldwin ("30 Rock")
Larry David ("Curb Your Enthusiasm")
Matthew Morrison ("Glee")
Jim Parsons ("The Big Bang Theory")
Tony Shalhoub ("Monk")

ALTERNATES: David Duchovny ("Californication"), Joel McHale ("Community"), Thomas Jane ("Hung"), Charlie Sheen ("Two and a Half Men")

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Pundits' slugfest: Emmy nomination predictions -- best comedy series

July 3, 2010 |  7:58 am

When Emmy nominations are unveiled Thursday, here, below, is what to expect to see in the race for best comedy series, according to Gold Derby gurus Chris "Boomer" Beachum, Rob Licuria (AwardsHeaven.net) and me.

Also check out our video slugfests over who will win best drama series, lead drama actor and lead drama actress. Plus, see the complete lists of our Emmy predix, category per category: mine, Rob's and Chris'.

BEST COMEDY SERIES
"The Big Bang Theory" — Beachum, Licuria, O'Neil
"Curb Your Enthusiasm" — Beachum, Licuria, O'Neil
"Family Guy" — O'Neil
"Glee" — Beachum, Licuria, O'Neil
"Modern Family" — Beachum, Licuria, O'Neil
"The Office" — Beachum, Licuria
"30 Rock" — Beachum, Licuria, O'Neil

Licuria's Alternates: "Entourage," "Weeds"
Beachum's Alternates: "How I Met Your Mother," "Entourage"
O'Neil's Alternates: "The Office," "Weeds"

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Pundits' video slugfest: Emmy nominations predictions -- best drama series

Pundits' video slugfest: Emmy nomination predictions -- best comedy series

Pundits' video slugfest: Emmy nominations predictions -- best drama actress

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Again, Showtime ships first campaign mailer to Emmy voters

March 31, 2010 |  9:47 am

As usual, Showtime was the first pony out of the derby gate as Emmy season began. The shrewd kudos player shipped its campaign package to all 14,000 members of the TV academy in early March. The package is modest (and eco-friendly) in size and design, much like its campaign packages of 2009 and 2008. Its round box of 2007 was a much more ambitious approach.

Until recently, Showtime had trouble gaining traction at the award derbies, but it just had a breakout year with Toni Collette ("United States of Tara") winning the Emmy and Golden Globe and Michael C. Hall ("Dexter") nabbing the Globe and SAG Award. For the last two years, "Dexter" was nominated for best drama series at the Emmys, and last year "Weeds" snagged its first bid for best comedy.

In addition to shipping the DVDs of sample episodes to voters, Showtime posts all episodes of all of its series in competition at the TV academy's private website, accessible only to members. Showtime also has its own For Your Consideration site, plus the pay channel just launched FYC areas at Facebook and Twitter.

Below is a breakdown of the contents of the Emmy campaign mailer shipped to all voters. Note that, in the "Dexter" section, our forum posters really like the cheeky reference to last year's winner of best drama series: "All the 'Mad Men' You'll Ever Need." See more reax here.

The end of the eligibility period is May 31. Nominations are to be announced on July 8, winners on Aug. 29.

DVD 1
"United States of Tara" – Episodes 201, 202
"Nurse Jackie" – 101 (pilot), 110 ("Ringfinger"), 205, 206
"Weeds" – 501, 512

DVD 2
"Dexter" – 409, 410
"The Tudors" – 401, 403

DVD 3
"Californication" – 304, 308
"Tracey Ullman's State of the Union" – 301, 302
"Secret Diary of a Call Girl" – 301, 307

DVD 4
"Penn & Teller" – "Lie Detectors," "Organic Food"
"La La Land" – 101, 104
"Lock 'n Load" – "The Rockers," "Granny's Got a Gun"


 

Showtime Dexter Emmy TV news 1

Showtime Dexter Emmy TV news 2 

 

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Photo credit: Showtime

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Emmy predictions slugfest: What will win best comedy series?

September 12, 2009 |  1:11 pm

When it comes to making tough Emmy Awards predictions, no one comes out swinging harder than our gurus Chris "Boomer" Beachum and Robert "Rob L" Licuria (AwardsHeaven.net), who join me in this video dishing the rivals for best comedy series: "Entourage," "Family Guy," "How I Met Your Mother," "Flight of the Conchords," "The Office," "30 Rock" and "Weeds."

Also check out Rob's and Boomer's in-depth noodling of these categories: best comedy series, lead comedy actor, lead comedy actress, supporting comedy actor, supporting comedy actress, guest comedy actor, guest comedy actress, comedy writing, comedy directing, best lead drama actorbest lead actor in movie/mini and lead actress in a movie/mini. Read more in our forums.

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As usual, Showtime launches first major campaign of Emmy season

March 12, 2009 |  5:50 pm

Awards-savvy Showtime is the first network to launch its Emmy campaign this year by continuing the digital innovation it introduced last year. Again TV academy members may watch episodes of Showtime's Emmy contenders on line.

Showtime claims that last year's Internet campaign "resulted in academy members tuning in at a rate of approximately four full episodes per member," according to Richard Licata, executive VP of corporate communications. Result of the awards push: 21 Emmy bids, including an historic bid for "Dexter," which joined "Damages" and "Mad Men" as the first non-HBO cable series to be nominated for best drama or comedy series.

On Feb. 28, a new version of the site was unveiled for this year's derby and last week the network shipped out its campaign box directly to voters' homes and offices. Inside each box is a passcode that grants voters access to the "online screening room" (which promises broadcast quality viewing) plus there are four DVDs that include three sample episodes of "Californication" (201, 204, 210), "United States of Tara" (101, 102, 103) and "Weeds" (401, 402, 413). Also inside: two sample episodes of "Brotherhood" (304, 308), "Dexter" (305, 310) "The L Word" (601, 606), "Penn & Teller: Bull…!" (603, 604) "Secret Diary of a Call Girl" (201, 202), "This American Life" (205, 206) and "The Tudors" (301, 302) and one sample episode of "Tracey Ullman's State of the Union" (201).

In April, Showtime will heighten its digital innovation by making its episodes accessible to Emmy voters via iPhones and iPodTouch devices.

Showtime_emmy_campaign_box1_edited1

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Photo: Showtime

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'Ugly Betty's' Vanessa Williams is lookin' good in Emmy race for supporting comedy actress

July 16, 2008 |  3:25 pm

As last year's champ Jaime Pressly ("My Name Is Earl") did not make the Top 10, the race for funniest featured woman is wide open. Our Emmy gurus Robert "Rob L" Licuria and Chris "Boomer" Beachum agree on three of the five nominees –- Vanessa Williams ("Ugly Betty") and Jenna Fischer ("The Office"), who both picked up nods last year, as well as newcomer Kristen Chenoweth ("Pushing Daisies").

To fill out the final five, Rob opts for two-time nominee Holland Taylor of "Two and a Half Men" and Tony award winner Jane Krakowski ("30 Rock"). Boomer believes two-time guest comedy actress winner Jean Smart will score her first comedy series nom for "Samantha Who?" and Amy Poehler will land her first nod after seven seasons on "Saturday Night Live."

Vanessa_williams_ugly_betty21

Our Emmy gurus agree that two-time nominees Conchata Ferrell ("Two and a Half Men") and Elizabeth Perkins ("Weeds") will finish out of the running as will Judith Light of "Ugly Betty," who picked up a guest nod for that show last year.

To find the final five nominees, Boomer and Rob follow the actual voting process. First, they predict the order of the semifinalists as determined by the popular vote by the TV academy's actors' branch.

Here's how Rob thinks the popular vote tallied — 1.) Vanessa Williams 2.) Holland Taylor 3.) Jenna Fischer 4.) Jane Krakowski 5.) Elizabeth Perkins 6.) Conchata Ferrell 7.) Kristin Chenoweth 8.) Judith Light 9.) Jean Smart 10.) Amy Poehler

How Boomer ranks the popular vote outcome — 1.) Vanessa Williams 2.) Jenna Fischer 3.) Kristin Chenoweth 4.) Elizabeth Perkins 5.) Holland Taylor 6.) Jean Smart 7.) Amy Poehler 8.) Conchata Ferrell 9.) Judith Light 10.) Jane Krakowski

Then they predict how the panel judges scored the sample episode entries.

Here's how Rob ranks the judges' views of the episodes — 1.) Vanessa Williams 2.) Holland Taylor 3.) Amy Poehler 4.) Kristin Chenoweth 5.) Jean Smart 6.) Judith Light 7.) Jenna Fischer 8.) Jane Krakowski 9.) Elizabeth Perkins 10.) Conchata Ferrell

How Boomer thinks the judges ranked episode entries — 1.) Jean Smart 2.) Vanessa Williams 3.) Amy Poehler 4.) Kristin Chenoweth 5.) Jane Krakowski 6.) Jenna Fischer 7.) Holland Taylor 8.) Judith Light 9.) Elizabeth Perkins 10.) Conchata Ferrell

They combine these two results on a 50-50 basis, just like the accountants do, to determine the final ranking of the nominees. The lower the score the higher the chance of being nominated.

BEST COMEDY SUPPORTING ACTRESS: ROB'S PREDIX
(Top five = nominees)
1.) Vanessa Williams, "Ugly Betty" ("Bananas for Betty") — 3 points
2.) Holland Taylor, "Two and a Half Men" ("Media Room Slash Dungeon") — 4 points
3.) Jenna Fischer, "The Office" ("Fun Run") — 10 points
4.) Kristin Chenoweth, "Pushing Daisies" ("Girth") — 11 points
5.) Jane Krakowski, "30 Rock" ("The Collection") — 12 points
6.) Amy Poehler, "Saturday Night Live" ("Tina Fey") — 13 points
7.) Judith Light, "Ugly Betty" ("I See Me, ICU") — 14 points
7.) Elizabeth Perkins, "Weeds" ("Risk") — 14 points
7.) Jean Smart, "Samantha Who?" ("The Girlfriend") — 14 points
10.) Conchata Ferrell, "Two & a Half Men" ("Fish in a Drawer") — 16 points

Rob's commentary: This is one of very few categories this year where a very good argument could easily be made that any one of the 10 contenders in the list will be nominated. Perkins and Ferrell are past nominees on a number of occasions, and so have proved to be very popular with voters. Smart is an Emmy favorite and veteran, and Light is almost a TV legend, and was nominated last year in the Guest category. I suspect Poehler sneaked in to the top 10 popular list, but her episode really showcases a great range of her comic abilities and puts her in a very good position to make history as the first "SNL" cast member to be nominated in this category. I would not discount or underrate Krakowski or Taylor, both of whom have great episodes. Fischer will do well on the popular ballot, and Williams and Chenoweth should have nothing to worry about either.

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Tina Fey, America Ferrera, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Christina Applegate will be nominated for best comedy actress

July 16, 2008 |  1:21 pm

Our Emmy gurus Chris "Boomer" Beachum and Robert "Rob L" Licuria predict that four of last year's five finalists for best comedy actress will return to the race when nominations are announced on Thursday morning: winner America Ferrera ("Ugly Betty") and 2006 champ Julia Louis-Dreyfus ("The New Adventures of Old Christine") as well as Tina Fey ("30 Rock") and Mary-Louise Parker ("Weeds"). Bumped from their lists is 2005 winner Felicity Huffman ("Desperate Housewives") in favor of Christina Applegate of freshman hit "Samantha Who?"

Tina_fey_30_rock_emmy

They do not see a nod for the other newcomer, Anna Friel of "Pushing Daisies," nor nominations for either of the other "Desperate Housewives" –- one-time nominee Marcia Cross and never-nominated Eva Longoria Parker -- who landed in the list of Top 10 semifinalists. (Somewhere snubbed Teri Hatcher must be smiling at this prospect!) And sassy Sarah Silverman ("The Sarah Silverman Program") will have to be content with her jaw-dropping inclusion in this initial round of voting. The reason for that, I think, is the monotone, clueless style of her comic performances — they're fun to watch, but not emotionally flashy enough for Emmy voters.

To find the final five nominees, Rob and Boomer follow the actual voting process. First, they predict the order of the semifinalists as determined by the popular vote by the TV academy's actors' branch.

Here's how Boomer thinks the popular vote tallied — 1.) Tina Fey 2.) America Ferrera 3.) Mary-Louise Parker 4.) Christina Applegate 5.) 6.) Felicity Huffman 7.) Marcia Cross 8.) Anna Friel 9.) Eva Longoria Parker 10.) Sarah Silverman

How Rob ranks the popular vote outcome — 1.) Tina Fey 2.) Julia Louis-Dreyfus 3.) America Ferrera 4.) Mary-Louise Parker 5.) Anna Friel 6.) Felicity Huffman 7.) Marcia Cross 8.) Eva Longoria Parker 9.) Christina Applegate 10.) Sarah Silverman

Then they predict how the panel judges scored the sample episode entries.

Here's how Boomer ranks the judges' views of the episodes — 1.) Julia Louis-Dreyfus 2.) Tina Fey 3.) Christina Applegate 4.) America Ferrera 5.) Marcia Cross 6.) Felicity Huffman 7.) Mary-Louise Parker 8.) Anna Friel 9.) Eva Longoria Parker 10.) Sarah Silverman

How Rob thinks the judges ranked episode entries — 1.) Julia Louis-Dreyfus 2.) Tina Fey 3.) Christina Applegate 4.) America Ferrera 5.) Mary-Louise Parker 6.) Felicity Huffman 7.) Marcia Cross 8.) Eva Longoria Parker 9.) Anna Friel 10.) Sarah Silverman

They combine these two results on a 50-50 basis, just like the accountants do, to determine the final ranking of the nominees. The lower the score the higher the chance of being nominated.

BEST COMEDY ACTRESS: BOOMER'S PREDIX
(Top five = nominees)
1.) Tina Fey, "30 Rock" ("Sandwich Day") — 3 points
2.) America Ferrera, "Ugly Betty" ("Odor in the Court") — 6 points
2.) Julia Louis-Dreyfus, "The New Adventures of Old Christine" ("One & a Half Men") — 6 points
4.) Christina Applegate, "Samantha Who?" ("The Restraining Order") — 7 points
5.) Mary-Louise Parker, "Weeds" ("Bill Sussman") — 10 points
6.) Marcia Cross, "Desperate Housewives" ("Now You Know") — 12 points
7.) Felicity Huffman, "Desperate Housewives" ("Now I Know, Don't Be Scared") — 15 points
7.) Eva Longoria Parker, "Desperate Housewives" ("In Buddy's Eyes") — 15 points
9.) Anna Friel, "Pushing Daisies" ("Bitter Sweets") — 16 points
10.) Sarah Silverman, "The Sarah Silverman Program" ("Bored of the Rings") — 20 points

BEST COMEDY ACTRESS: ROB'S PREDIX
(Top five = nominees)
1.) Tina Fey, "30 Rock" ("Sandwich Day") — 3 points
1.) Julia Louis-Dreyfus, "The New Adventures of Old Christine" ("One & a Half Men") — 3 points
3.) America Ferrera, "Ugly Betty" ("Odor in the Court") — 7 points
4.) Mary-Louise Parker, "Weeds" ("Bill Sussman") — 9 points
5.) Christina Applegate, "Samantha Who?" ("The Restraining Order") — 12 points
6.) Felicity Huffman, "Desperate Housewives" ("Now I Know, Don't Be Scared") — 12 points
7.) Marcia Cross, "Desperate Housewives" ("Now You Know") — 14 points
7.) Anna Friel, "Pushing Daisies" ("Bitter Sweets") — 14 points
9.) Eva Longoria Parker, "Desperate Housewives" ("In Buddy's Eyes") — 16 points
10.) Sarah Silverman, "The Sarah Silverman Program" ("Bored of the Rings") — 20 points

Rob's commentary: Tina Fey will benefit greatly from a strong popular vote and from choosing very wisely with her episode, which will have likely garnered quite a few laughs form the panel voters. Similarly, I think Emmy fave Louis-Dreyfus is in much the same position. Ferrera and Parker will score high enough votes to make it through, and then it is a question of exactly how popular "Samantha Who?" actually is –- at this stage, my gut feeling is that Applegate is in, and if there’s a tie, then Huffman is close behind. It is a shame that Silverman’s popular vote would have been on the lower end, which will not help her in making that historic bid in this category.

(Photo: ATAS)

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The nominees for best comedy series will be . . . '30 Rock,' 'The Office,' 'Two and a Half Men,' Curb Your Enthusiasm' and 'Pushing Daisies'

July 15, 2008 | 12:40 pm

Unlike their discord over drama series, our top-notch Emmy gurus — Chris "Boomer" Beachum and Robert "Rob L" Licuria — agree on the comedy series that will be in the running when nominations are announced on Thursday morning. As per the boys, the final five should be: last year's winner "30 Rock;" 2006 champ "The Office;" perennial nominee "Curb Your Enthusiasm;" top-rated "Two and a Half Men;" and newcomer "Pushing Daisies."

To determine the nominees, Rob and Boomer follow the actual voting process. First, they predict the order of the top 10 semifinalists as determined by the popular vote of the entire TV academy.

30_rock_emmys

How Rob ranks the popular vote outcome — 1.) "30 Rock" 2.) "The Office" 3.) "Two and a Half Men" 4.) "Curb Your Enthusiasm" 5.) "Pushing Daisies" 6.) "Entourage" 7.) "Ugly Betty" 8.) "Weeds" 9.) "Flight of the Conchords 10.) "Family Guy"

Here's how Boomer thinks the popular vote tallied — 1.) "The Office" 2.) "30 Rock" 3.) "Curb Your Enthusiasm"4.) "Ugly Betty" 5.) "Entourage" 6.) "Pushing Daisies" 7.) "Two and a Half Men" 8.) "Weeds" 9.) "Flight of the Conchords" 10.) "Family Guy"

Then, they calculate how the panel judges scored the sample episode entries.

How Rob thinks the judges ranked episode entries — 1.) "30 Rock" 2.) "Pushing Daisies" 3.) "Two and a Half Men" 4.) "The Office" 5.) "Curb Your Enthusiasm"6.) "Family Guy" 7.) "Entourage" 8.) "Flight of the Conchords 9.) "Weeds" 10.) "Ugly Betty"

Here's how Boomer ranks the judges' views of the episodes — 1.) "Pushing Daisies" 2.) "Two and a Half Men" 3.) "30 Rock"4.) "The Office" 5.) "Family Guy"6.) "Curb Your Enthusiasm" 7.) "Entourage" 8.) "Ugly Betty" 9.) "Weeds" 10.) "Flight of the Conchords"

Combining these results on a 50-50 basis, just like the academy accountants do, they determine the final ranking of the nominees. The lower the final number, the higher the ranking.

BEST COMEDY SERIES: BOOMER'S PREDIX
(Top five = nominees)
1.) "The Office" ("Local Ad") — 5 points
1.) "30 Rock" ("Cooter") — 5 points
3.) "Pushing Daisies" ("Pie-Lette") — 7 points
4.) "Curb Your Enthusiasm" ("The Bat Mitzvah") — 9 points
4.) "Two and a Half Men" ("Rough Night in Hump Junction") — 9 points
6.) "Entourage" ("The Day ...") — 12 points
6.) "Ugly Betty" ("Something Wicked This Way Comes") — 12 points
8.) "Family Guy" ("Padre de Famila") — 15 points
9.) "Weeds" ("Go") — 17 points
10.) "Flight of the Conchords" ("Sally Returns") — 19 points

BEST COMEDY SERIES: ROB'S PREDIX
(Top five = nominees)
1.) "30 Rock" ("Cooter") — 3 points
2.) "The Office" ("Local Ad") — 6 points
2.) "Pushing Daisies" ("Pie-lette") — 6 points
2.) "Two and a Half Men" ("Rough Night in Hump Junction") — 6 points
5.) "Curb Your Enthusiasm" ("The Bat Mitzvah") — 9 points
6.) "Entourage" ("The Day ...") — 13 points
7.) "Family Guy" ("Padre de Famila") — 16 points
8.) "Flight of the Conchords" ("Sally Returns") — 17 points
8.) "Ugly Betty" ("Something Wicked This Way Comes") — 17 points
8.) "Weeds" ("Go") — 17 points

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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.

Ray_vs_tom_emmy_slugfest

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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Comedy_series

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