Tube Talk: Fresh faces in Emmy race

By Paula Hendrickson
Contributing Writer

Each year, TV fans and critics express disappointment when Emmy voters fail to recognize new shows. This year is different. Glee received 19 nominations, more than any other series this year, and Modern Family wasn’t far behind with 14. 30 Rock set a record for a comedy with 22 nominations last year, and is still a tough competitor with 15.

Mad Men is leading the dramas with 17 nominations this year. Lost is close behind with 12, including a first nomination for Matthew Fox. First-year series The Good Wife nabbed an impressive nine nominations.

Most major categories include at least one new face. On the dramatic side, critics are rejoicing that the always superb, yet chronically overlooked, Friday Night Lights leads Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton were finally nominated. Chandler and Fox will vie with past nominees Michael C. Hall (Dexter), Hugh Laurie (House), Jon Hamm (Mad Men) and two-time winner Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad) for honors as lead actor in a dramatic series.

Until now, Elisabeth Moss was the only Mad Men actress to earn a nomination. This year, Christina Hendricks joins Moss in the supporting actress category, while January Jones is up for lead actress in a drama. Jones, Britton, and Julianna Margulies (The Good Wife) are nominated alongside repeat performers Kyra Sedgwick (The Closer), Mariska Hargitay (Law & Order: SVU) and two-time winner Glenn Close (Damages).

Glee’s Lea Michele and Matthew Morrison and Curb Your Enthusiasm’s Larry David are the only first-timers in comedy’s lead categories. But with 21 nominations in other categories, David’s not exactly a newcomer.

In both comedy and drama, the supporting categories are fierce.

On the drama side, past winners from Lost—Terry O’Quinn and Michael Emerson—are again competing with Mad Men’s John Slattery and Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul. But comedian Martin Short is nominated for a breakout dramatic performance in Damages, and Andre Braugher (Men of a Certain Age) is always superb. Only two of last year’s dramatic supporting actress nominees are back: Rose Byrne (Damages) and Moss. Joining them are Sharon Gless (Burn Notice) and The Good Wife co-stars Archie Panjabi and Christine Baranski.

I was excited that Glee’s Chris Colfer was nominated. He’s perfect in the role, but I was surprised since this is his first major role. He’s up against Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother; who is also nominated for a guest role on Glee), Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Eric Stonestreet, and Ty Burrell—all from Modern Family—plus last year’s winner, Jon Cryer (Two and a Half Men).

Some of the same comedies are reflected in the supporting actress nominees: Modern Family’s Julie Bowen and Sofia Vergara, Two and a Half Men’s Holland Taylor, and Glee’s Jane Lynch (she’s also nominated for a guest role on Two and a Half Men). Jane Krakowski (30 Rock) and Kristen Wiig (Saturday Night Live) round out the group.

A wonderfully twisted thing happened in the Variety Series category. SNL led the pack with 12 nominations (including guest actress nominations for Tina Fey and Betty White), but the series with the next highest number of nominations, four, was the short-lived The Tonight Show With Conan O’Brien. Yes, O’Brien.

To see a complete list of this year’s nominees, go to: If you want to share your views about who and what should—or shouldn’t—have been nominated, visit us at to post your comments.

Paula Hendrickson is a regular contributor to Emmy magazine and Variety, and has been published in numerous national publications, including American Bungalow, Television Week and TVGuide. Send in your suggestions to

From the July 14-20, 2010 issue

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