By Matea Gold
December 12, 2008
Reporting from New York
Among the series nominated for the awards, which recognize the best programming in 2008, there was not a single freshman show that debuted on broadcast television this fall. The Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. ignored "The Mentalist," the one significant hit of the season, as well as programs like "Fringe" and "Life on Mars" that were launched with high expectations.
Instead of crowning hot new shows, the organization focused largely on returning programs such as "House," "30 Rock" and "Brothers & Sisters." The actors singled out for recognition included many past nominees such as Tony Shalhoub, Sally Field, Kyra Sedgwick, Alec Baldwin and Steve Carell.
The one exception was in cable, which continues to reap critical acclaim for its new programming. Four of the five nominations for best dramatic series ran on cable networks, including HBO's "In Treatment," which garnered five nods altogether for its first season, the most of any show.
"It's so gratifying because when we started on this journey, it was such an experiment," said Blair Underwood, nominated for best supporting actor. "For an American audience, this was so different. You just didn't know if people were going to take to this."
The premium cable channel -- which collected 22 nominations, the most of any network -- also scored with its newest offering, "True Blood," which got two nods.
Showtime, which placed second with eight nominations, got best series nominations for "Dexter," "Weeds" and "Californication." Four of its lead actors were also recognized.
NBC placed third for nominations (6). It was the only broadcast network to break into the best comedy series category ("30 Rock," "The Office").
Thursday's nominations punctuated a troubled year for the television industry, which is still trying to recover from the writers strike. The work stoppage hamstrung the development of new shows and delayed the return of critical favorites like HBO's "Big Love" and FX's "Damages," which were not eligible this year.
One of the most visible effects the strike had was on last year's Golden Globes ceremony, which was scuttled after it became clear that actors would not cross picket lines to attend the event. It was replaced by an awkward 35-minute news conference in which television entertainment reporters announced the winners.
While a threat of an actors strike hangs over the industry this year, any action by the Screen Actors Guild would come after the Jan. 11 Golden Globes ceremony.
That was a relief for actors like "Californication's" David Duchovny, who won last year.
"I'm especially looking forward to the show being televised and making a fool out of myself this year, since I didn't get to last year," he said.
Gold is a Times staff writer. Staff writers Maria Elena Fernandez and Denise Martin contributed to this report.
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