Newcomers Rule Awards Season

PASADENA, Calif. — The Golden Globe Awards continued a developing trend this awards season of new scripted series standing out in a very crowded television environment.

Seasoned series such as HBO’s Game of Thrones, Showtime’s Homeland and Netflix’s House of Cards continue to rack up nominations across the TV awards landscape. But upstart shows are increasingly stealing the spotlight with surprise wins in high-profile categories typically dominated by past winners.

The Golden Globes outcome was no exception. In fact, it may have been the most extreme example of freshman shows outperforming their senior classmates for the biggest awards in the industry.

A whopping 10 out of the 11 awards in the television categories went to shows that aired first in 2016, led by AMC’s limited series The Night Manager, which nearly swept the four acting awards in the limited series category with wins for Tom Hiddleston (lead actor), Olivia Colman (supporting actress) and Hugh Laurie (supporting actor).

Netflix’s freshman series The Crown also drew favor from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association with two wins, including the award for best drama and best actress in a drama, for series star Claire Foy.

FX’s freshman comedy Atlanta also won two Golden Globes, including for best comedy and for best actor in a comedy series, for star and producer Donald Glover.

The continued increase in scripted programming fare — more than 454 running on broadcast networks, cable networks and streaming services in 2016 — is forcing distributors to come up with more imaginative and quality programming that is now gaining critical acclaim, FX president John Landgraf said.

“How good does a show have to be now to be successful?” Landgraf asked during a Jan. 12 session at the Television Critics Association Winter press tour. “The bar goes up every year.”

Glover, who plays a young Princeton University dropout looking to manage his cousin’s rap music career, was also one of several persons of color nominated for a Golden Globe, continuing the trend of industry recognition revolving around diversity both in front of and behind the camera.

Overall 12 actors and actresses of color were nominated for TV Golden Globes, with Glover and Black-ish star Tracee Ellis-Ross sweeping the top actor and actress awards in comedy, respectively.

In her acceptance speech, Ross acknowledged those actresses of color who came before her but did not win the coveted award. “This is for all the women, women of color, and colorful people, whose stories, ideas, thoughts, are not always considered worthy and valid and important,” she said.

R. Thomas Umstead

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.