The Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. went for an extreme makeover on the TV series side, snubbing a lot of long-time favorites for first-time nominees. Seven of the 10 best series nominees are freshman shows: dramas Homeland (Showtime), Boss (Starz), Game Of Thrones (HBO) and American Horror Story (FX) and comedies Enlightened (HBO), New Girl (Fox) and Episodes (Showtime). Five of them hail from pay cable where audience reach is limited. Earlier today, Deadline contributor Ray Richmond spoke with the showrunners of some of the first-time best series nominees, Mike White, Farhad Safinia, Howard Gordon & Alex Gansa, Ryan Murphy & Brad Falchuk and Liz Meriwether, about the nominations and their impact on the rookie shows:
Mike White, creator of HBO’s Enlightened, nominated for best comedy series and best actress, Laura Dern:
“Getting Golden Globe attention could really make a difference for Enlightened. That’s what makes it so cool. I mean, shows like Glee and Modern Family, I can’t see how the Globes are going to get them new viewers. They’re already part of the landscape. But for a show like ours, it could really have an impact. I don’t want to be presumptuous, but it could be a perception changer and game-changer. Because we’re struggling to find a bigger audience, and we’re still waiting to hear about getting renewed for season two. So this really puts the spotlight on us a little bit. HBO could be deciding our fate even as we speak, and they sounded really stoked about this today. We’re still kind of in the gray. Something like this gives you validation, gives you more ammunition to convince them that this is a show they should be proud to have and want to keep making.”
“We were hoping that maybe Laura (Dern) would get nominated. But we didn’t dream much beyond that…It’s so weird. I had this dream the other night where I was looking online to see if we were nominated, and there was a show called Enlightened on the list. But it was like in the children’s category. So I have to say I’m glad we weren’t accidentally categorized as a kids show.”
Farhad Safinia, creator of Starz’s Boss, nominated for best drama series and best actor, Kelsey Grammer:
“When Starz called me about the nominations this morning, there was a lot of bouncing around and elation and just a deep sense of gratification. I was literally floating. You won’t see me acting aloof or ambivalent about something like this. It means too much for all of us. For one thing, Boss is kind of an unusual show and a first-year show, one that still needs to find an audience. And we’re hoping this recognition helps with that.”
“What’s so great about these Golden Globe nominations is the way it helps to justify the risk Starz took with Boss. They could have taken a slightly less risky path. They got behind a series that was really a nexus of old style Greek tragedy meets the hyper modern political world. Most of the time when you use the word ‘unusual; to describe a concept, the people in charge of programming run for hills. But Starz didn’t do that. They’ve backed us all the way, and I’m thrilled that the Hollywood Foreign Press responded to what we’ve tried to do as well. It’s also hugely gratifying to see Kelsey (Grammer) recognized for what’s such a different role for him. Though I knew that once people saw Kelsey in this role, they’d forget about Dr. Frasier Crane pretty quickly. He has a gravitas and a depth that people never understood because he’s spent so much of his career playing comedy.”
Howard Gordon & Alex Gansa, co-creators of Showtime’s Homeland, nominated for best drama series and best actors Claire Danes and Damian Lewis:
Gordon: “Because there is a smaller audience by definition on pay-cable, it’s tougher to get people to tune in and try to find your show. That makes attention like Golden Globe nominations exceedingly important. It’s hard to overstate the importance of it for a first-year show like ours. It’s kind of like getting the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval. You’re immediately elevated to the level of being among the best shows on TV. You’re suddenly in elite company. So we like to think it’s going to help expand our audience.
“We weren’t terribly confident about our chances with the Golden Globes after we got shut out at the SAG Award nominations on Wednesday. It’s funny, because we had thought it would be the reverse. Appealing to the international press with the HFPA seemed to be a bigger wild card. But you just never know. And we’re really grateful for it.”
Gansa: “We definitely felt like kind of an outsider with the Globes. So we’re pretty thrilled. It’s all just so subjective, such apples and oranges. I mean, you see a show that’s so transcendent like Breaking Bad miss out, so you realize that a lot of luck goes into this. We feel like this is a validation of all the hard work everyone on the production and performing side has done on Homeland. Often times, you do all of the hard work and it doesn’t pay off. But this time it did.”
Gordon: “This show has had so many lucky bounces. It’s truly a lucky accident. Start with the fact we wrote the script on spec, not for Showtime. It could have wound up as a broadcast show, but obviously it’s been able to thrive much more at a place like Showtime, which has supplied not just a perfect environment for making this show but has been an active participant in its creative vision.”
Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk, co-creators of new FX drama American Horror Story, nominated for best drama series and best supporting actress Jessica Lange, and third-year best comedy series nominee, Fox’s Glee:
Murphy: “I think many people thought that any show having the word ‘horror’ in the title needed to fit a certain classification we were trying to get past. We set out to be hopefully an emotional force from the outset. The fact that critics and the Hollywood Foreign Press has gotten past the horror label to nominate us is really awesome. We hope that along with ‘The Walking Dead’ and ‘Game of Thrones,’ we’ve helped to show all that this genre can be. And we’re really just thrilled to be recognized.”
Falchuk: “You just hope that people when you’re new that people will be willing to sample you. So to be recognized beyond that is just a thrill. And to have it happen with two shows at once as we did this year isn’t something that happens every year of your life, so we’re excited about that… People think it’s tough for us to have such radically different shows on the air at the same time as ‘Glee’ and ‘Horror Story.’ But I think it would be harder were they more similar. For one thing, there’s no issue with stealing stories from each other. I don;t think there’s any danger of Rachel (Lea Michele) stabbing Finn (Cory Monteith) to death. And I doubt you’ll see Tate (Evan Peters) breaking out in song. But beyond that, we’re just thrilled to see both shows get recognized. It’s a real honor.”
Murphy: “Glee continues to be such a labor of love for us. The fact that it’s such a social media show — and inspires so much passion, positive and negative — helps to keep us on our toes. But now we’re just trying to make it about the work, to have our characters have a fun senior year and celebrate it and not care about any of that other shit. I think we’re having a great year creatively on the show. I love the work the writers and cast are doing. And a nomination like this helps us to celebrate where we are.”
Liz Meriwether, creator of Fox’s comedy New Girl, nominated for best comedy series and best actress, Zooey Deschanel:
“It will be so cool to be a part of the Golden Globes show. I kind of just can’t believe it. I’ve been watching it since I was a little kid… I’d already been up all night writing a script, so I was pretty whacked out and exhausted when I got word about the nominations. I have to believe that getting nominated for such an amazing award will get new people excited about our show. It’s awesome. Just totally awesome. Really awesome. How many times am I allowed to say ‘awesome’?
“It’s also really exciting to have Zooey nominated. She does such great work on the show, and I want as many people as possible to see her performance every week. Plus, it’s such a great year for women in comedy, and to have Zooey be part of such an amazing group like Tina Fey, Laura Linney, Laura Dern and Amy Poehler is a great and wonderful thing.