Sunday , December 17 2017

Digital TV storms Golden Globe, ousts old favorites – Netflix surges, host NBC shutout

In this image released by HBO, Julia Louis-Dreyfus appears in a scene from ‘VEEP.’ The series was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for best television comedy on Dec 10. The 73rd Annual Golden Globes will be held on Jan 10, 2016. (AP)
In this image released by HBO, Julia Louis-Dreyfus appears in a scene from ‘VEEP.’ The series was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for best television comedy on Dec 10. The 73rd Annual Golden Globes will be held on Jan 10, 2016. (AP)

NEW YORK, Dec 11, (RTRS): Streaming services stormed the Golden Globe television nominations on Thursday with new shows such as “Narcos” and “Mozart in the Jungle,” turning established broadcasters into also-rans as Americans move away from traditional television to online-demand viewing.

Just three years after digital platforms plunged into original content television for the first time, Netflix landed a leading eight nominations for its shows and actors, ahead of usually dominant premium cable channel HBO.

Two of Amazon.com’s original video series, transgender comedy “Transparent” and behind-the-scenes classical music series “Mozart in the Jungle,” earned five nods. Hulu, the ABC-NBC-Fox joint-owned online video venture, landed a best comedy series nomination for its modern dating show “Casual.”

Online streaming has revolutionized the television industry with bold content and by uploading full seasons of shows in one go, allowing viewers to watch at their leisure. Hulu’s “Casual” is the only online nominee to release a new episode each week.

None of the four major US broadcast networks — ABC , CBS, NBC and FOX — are in the running for the coveted best TV comedy series Golden Globe award. Only one — Fox’s hit hip-hop family drama “Empire” — will compete for best TV drama series.

HBO, with seven nominations, took second place overall to Netflix, including its Emmy-winning series duo – White House comedy “Veep” and medieval fantasy “Game of Thrones.”

Old favorites like “Modern Family” and “Homeland” were shut out, while “Mad Men” and “Downton Abbey” garnered just single acting nods for Jon Hamm and Joanne Froggatt respectively.

Netflix’s TV nominations came from drug drama “Narcos,” Aziz Ansari’s comedy “Master of None,” thriller “Bloodline,” comedy “Grace and Frankie,” women’s prison comedy “Orange Is The New Black” and Washington political drama “House of Cards.”

Borderless

“Narcos” co-creator and executive producer Chris Brancato said the nominations were “a signal that borderless, truly international television is here to stay.”

Members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, organizers of the Golden Globes, recognized a slew of new acting talent, such as Rachel Bloom, 28, star of the CW’s “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” who landed her first major nomination.

Rami Malek, 34, earned a best actor nod for playing a cybersecurity expert with social anxiety on cable network USA’s best drama series nominee “Mr. Robot.”

The show’s creator and director, Sam Esmail, said the unexpected acclaim for the series “was definitely a twist none of us saw coming.”

Premium cable channel Starz earned six nods, including its “Outlander,” a time-travel series set in the Scottish Highlands that put Ireland’s Caitriona Balfe in the best actress race and garnered a spot in the best drama series category.

“Just managed to scrape my jaw off the floor,” tweeted a delighted Balfe.

In related story, nowhere is the new reality of TV more evident than in the Golden Globes’ total TV nominations tally, which saw HBO end its 14-year streak of leading the TV field by a wide margin as Netflix elbowed past the premium giant.

The 2016 heat marks the first time that HBO hasn’t been No. 1 since 2000, when “The Sopranos” and “Sex and the City” first made the channel a formidable contender in the top series categories. ABC was the last broadcast network to dominate the Globes, back in 1999.

On Thursday, HBO placed No. 2 with seven bids, down from 15 in the 2015 race. Netflix led with eight TV nominations, plus it grabbed a nom on the film side for “Beasts of No Nation.” That compares to 12 for overall leader 20th Century Fox, which raked in noms for “The Revenent,” “Joy,” “The Martian” and “Spy.”

Meanwhile, NBC is out of the running entirely this year with no nominations for the kudocast that it will carry live on Jan. 10. The Peacock has had an uphill climb in kudos races in recent years with few shows that connected with awards voters. In the 2015 race, NBC was represented by noms for James Spader of “The Blacklist” and Amy Poehler of “Parks and Recreation.”

HBO’s showing in the Globes reflects the larger field of competitors that are vying for a piece of the high-end series market. Globes voters seemed to go out of their way to recognize new entrants and lower-profile shows at a time when the biz is abuzz with the daunting volume of original series. HBO did claim more series noms than any other outlet, with a drama nod to “Game of Thrones” and comedy bids for “Veep” and “Silicon Valley.”

HBO felt the pinch this year in the long-form arena. It has traditionally garnered in a good percentage of its noms in an area where broadcasters and other cablers are far less active. Now, with the mania for limited series that has taken root during the past two years, the longform heat is more crowded.

HBO did not score a nom in the Globes limited series/made-for-TV movie category, despite two strong prospects in biopic “Bessie” and miniseries “Show Me a Hero,” both of which drew critical raves.

ABC, for one, moved into the Globes limited series/made-for-TV movie category with “American Crime” grabbing bids in the top category, as well as for stars Felicity Huffman and Regina King. FX did the same for “Fargo” and stars Kirsten Dunst and Patrick Wilson.

Starz’s “Flesh and Bone” was a surprise entrant in the top longform category as was its ingenue star Sarah Hay.

In all, HBO claimed three acting bids in longform — for “Nightingale’s” David Oyelowo, “Hero’s” Oscar Isaac and “Bessie’s” Queen Latifah. In the series acting categories, Julia Louis-Dreyfus of “Veep” was recognized.

Meanwhile, it just takes one. And with a Golden Globe nomination for its comedy “Casual,” Hulu can finally call itself a contender.

“I don’t want to overstate what nominations mean, but it puts us on the map in terms of our original productions,” Hulu CEO Mike Hopkins told Variety.

Along with Netflix’s eight nominations and Amazon’s five, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association clearly endorsed the content being offered by streaming services.

“Streaming services seem to be the ones who are taking the chances to make these kinds of shows,” said “Casual” executive producer Zander Lehmann. “Basic cable and premium channels haven’t quite realized it yet.”

“Our subscribers have loved it,” added Craig Erwich, Hulu’s head of content. “We knew this show was special.”Erwich credits the creative team behind the Lionsgate-produced show — executive producers Jason Reitman, Liz Tigelaar, Helen Estabrook and Lehmann — for crafting a series that audiences and critics responded to.

Lehmann, in turn, praises Hulu for fostering a creative environment. “I had a kind of freedom with Hulu, but they definitely gave me notes,” he said. “What I liked about Hulu is they were actually good notes and not just some network notes. They kept us in the right tonal range.”

Tigelaar echoed Lehmann’s endorsement. “We are ecstatic for Hulu,” she said. “They are part of our family as much as any department in the show and this is such a victory for them as well. They are true collaborators.”

The hope is that the Globe nomination will draw viewers to the platform to not only check out “Casual,” but also other originals like “Difficult People.”

“I definitely think it should increase the awareness of the show,” said Hopkins. “It’s already been gaining a lot of momentum.”

Money

Added Erwich: “Given the competition for people’s time and money, a prestigious award like this is an extra calling card. It’s another reason to invite people to the party. And when you get them in, there’s plenty to watch.”

Erwich is bullish about what’s coming in 2016: Hulu boasts an ambitious upcoming slate that includes “11/22/63,” from executive producer J.J. Abrams based on the Stephen King bestseller, and “The Path,” starring Hugh Dancy and Aaron Paul, due out next March.

“We are setting out to make the best shows on TV,” said Erwich. “I think this just the start for us. This recognition confirms that we are on the right path. But ultimately the win is for the viewer. The bar is so high now.”

The hope is that awards traction will give Erwich and his team an edge as they vie for top producers and stars in an ever more competitive marketplace.

“To be honest, the best calling card are the shows and the people we are already in business with,” added Erwich. “J.J. Abrams, Jason Katims, Jason Reitman and Amy Poehler have already done that for us. This is a confirmation for people who already joined us that this a place that aspires to do quality work for producers. This helps continue the momentum.”

They also face stiff competition for viewers in this era of Peak TV, but Erwich said they have a game plan firmly in place. “There’s no substitute for quality,” he said. “You can’t game the system.”

Hopkins said the focus is on finding “stories that are unique, that haven’t been told before, and if they have, trying to do it a little differently.”

Though they’re celebrating the nomination, the execs say awards recognition is just one piece of a larger strategy. “We don’t look at nominations as that’s worth X amount of subscribers or money,” said Erwich. “It’s a much bigger picture for us. It’s about building an overall complete ‘best in class’ offering. This is a big piece towards that, and we don’t look towards one piece to do all the heavy lifting.”

Added Hopkins: “We’re just thankful to get nominated. It’s a brave new world for us.”

In related news, no Golden Globe nominations came as a bigger surprise on Thursday morning than the pair that went to Starz’s limited series “Flesh and Bone.”

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