Cable Stars Shine At Nomination Time

Anyone questioning whether 2012 was a big year creatively for cable programming need only to look at its multitude of nominations for TV industry awards last week.

Cable’s strength is in its dramas, and that was reflected in nominations for the Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild awards. The same five leading men – Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston, Boardwalk Empire’s Steve Buscemi; The Newsroom’s Jeff Daniels; Man Men’s John Hamm and Homeland’s Damian Lewis --closed out all broadcast network contenders in the drama category for both the SAG and the Globes.

Only PBS’s Downton Abbey kept HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, AMC’s Breaking Bad, Showtime’s Homeland, HBO’s The Newsroom (Golden Globe nomination) and AMC’s Mad Men (SAG) from sweeping nominations in the best drama show category as well.    

Boardwalk Empire also received a nod from the multicultural-themed NAACP Image Awards judges for best drama, acknowledging the Atlantic City-based, prohibition era series’ diversity of images as well as its strong storyline.

While it was no surprise that cable garnered near complete dominance in the mini-series and TV film categories, award judges recognized that cable networks other than HBO can produce quality and noteworthy content. USA Network’s mini-series Political Animals, BBC America’s anthology drama block The Hour and A&E’s ratings phenomena Hatfields & McCoys will battle HBO’s original movies Game Change and The Girl for the Globe statuette in the category.

No HBO film is even in the running for a NAACP Image Award. Lifetime’s original movies Steel Magnolias and Abducted: The Carlina White Story, as well as two GMC’s tele-flicks -- Raising Izzie and Sugar Mommas -- will via for the civil rights organization’s top honors in the category.

Comedy remains the industry’s biggest challenge, yet some industry performers were recognized for their ability to tickle audience’s funny bones. Louie star Louis C.K. garnered SAG and Golden Globe nominations for best comedy actor, while Showtime stars Don Cheadle (House Of Lies) and Matt LeBlanc (Episodes) landed Golden Globes nods in the category.

The incomparable Betty White (TV Land’s Hot In Cleveland) and Edie Falco (Showtime’s Nurse Jackie) garnered SAG best comedy actress nods, while HBO actresses Lena Dunham (Girls) and Julie Louis-Dreyfus (Veep) garnered Globes acknowledgements.

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.