2012 Primetime Emmys: Showtime Arrives With ‘Homeland’ Success

Ray Richmond contributes to Deadline’s TV coverage

Sunday was the night Showtime officially entered the Emmy big leagues thanks to its newest signature drama series, the pulse-pounding first-year Homeland. It won the pay-cabler its first Emmys in three different major categories: for top drama series as well as lead actor (Damian Lewis) and actress (Claire Danes). Only Danes’ win was considered a shoo-in. The other two were significant upsets, having broken lengthy winning streaks. The only omen that Homeland could be in for such a big night was its victory back in January for best drama series at the Golden Globes. But rarely is the Hollywood Foreign Press Association a reliable arbiter of future success with the TV Academy.

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Few pundits anticipated this kind of dominance for Homeland. But Danes noted backstage that the cast, crew and producers took no special pleasure in having prevented Mad Men from earning what would have been a record fifth consecutive outstanding drama series Emmy. “We didn’t make our show just to undermine Mad Men,” she said. “We’re delighted and thrilled and a little startled by this. No one was expecting to be recognized in this way right off the bat.” Danes paused before adding, “But it feels pretty nice.” Co-creator and executive producer Howard Gordon — coming off a hugely successful run at Fox on 24 — was asked backstage after the big night of wins if having the creative freedom afforded by Showtime made a big difference. “They have been phenomenally supportive and great partners,” he replied, “and they’ve had great patience. They gave us support and time with the characters and let the stories breathe. We’re really grateful.” Homeland‘s Emmy success comes just in time — the series’ second season premieres next Sunday.

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