Pay cable triumphed at the Golden Globe Awards. Of the 11 TV categories, premium cable networks won seven, compared with two for broadcast and two for basic cable in a field dominated by shows and programs which the general public is largely unfamiliar with. If we take out British imports Downton Abbey and Luther, the final score is 7-1-1. Until the final TV award of the night — best comedy series, which went to ABC’s Emmy-winning and hugely popular Modern Family — pay cable networks had swept every one of the six top series category including best drama series for Showtime’s Homeland. What’s more, all three premium cable networks were represented: HBO and Showtime won three awards each, and Starz earned its first Golden Globe for Boss‘ star Kelsey Grammer. Showtime also scored a first, landing its first best series win for Homeland. The thriller drama was the only multiple winner tonight with two statuettes; it also won for best actress in a drama series with Claire Danes, who extended her perfect record at the Golden Globes with a third victory in three nominations. Danes’ victory came 17 years after she won the category for her first series, ABC’s My So-Called Life. (Danes also earned a Globe last year for the HBO movie Temple Grandin.) Pay cable’s other top series wins include best comedy actress Laura Dern of HBO’s Enlightened and best comedy actor Matt LeBlanc for Showtime’s Episodes. Additionally, a pay cable series also won the hodgepodge supporting actor in a TV series/mini-series/TV movie category, which went to Peter Dinklage of HBO’s Game Of Thrones. On the distaff side, a Golden Globe went to Jessica Lange of FX’s American Horror Story, one of only two statuettes for basic cable programs. The other was for Idris Elba, winner for best actor in a mini-series/TV movie for BBC America’s Luther.
In addition to thwarting a full sweep for pay cable in the top series category, Modern Family’s best comedy series win bucked another trend of series wins going to new series. Third-year Modern Family, which landed its first best series Golden Globe after surprising losses to Glee the last two years, was the only non-freshman series to win tonight. The first-time nominated/winning series include Showtime’s Homeland and Episodes, HBO’s Enlightened and Game Of Thrones, Starz’s Boss and FX’s American Horror Story. The news is especially gratifying for Mike White’s Enlightened, which was in danger of cancellation after opening with 210,000 viewers and failing to improve much throughout its freshman run. But the dark comedy has been on a roll in the past month, scoring two Golden Globe nominations, including best comedy series; a renewal by HBO; and now a Globe win. Similarly, Grammer’s win and Boss‘ two Globe nominations, including best drama series, should make Starz’s brass feel better about their decision to pick up the ratings-challenged series for a second season before the premiere. And LeBlanc’s win should give Showtime ammunition in its marketing push for the modestly-rated show’s second season, which Showtime chief David Nevins earlier this week identified as the network’s big priority this coming summer. On the flip side, Grammer’s win means that Bryan Cranston is yet to win his first Golden Globe for his Emmy-winning role on Breaking Bad.
In the top three long-form categories, two were repeat winners, having won at the Emmys in September: Downton Abbey for best TV movie/mini-series and Mildred Pierce’s Kate Winslet for best actress. They were joined by Luther‘s Elba. But the great showing for Downton Abbey, which gave broadcast its second win for the night via PBS, and Luther also raises a question: Why are shows, which are each on their third season in the U.K. competing as mini-series in the U.S.?
On the production side, it was a big night for 20th Century Fox TV, which is behind the winners in four categories, including best drama and best comedy series: Homeland (2 nods), produced by 20th TV’s Fox21 division, Modern Family and American Horror Story. HBO was next with three, and British pubcaster BBC also had a strong showing as producer/co-producer of Luther and Episodes.
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