HBO Boss on Golden Globes Shutout: We Had an "Off-Year"

FX president John Landgraf and AMC topper Charlie Collier also talk with THR about basic cable's big showing, as HBO's Casey Bloys looks toward next year.
Courtesy of HBO
"Westworld"

For the first time in recent memory, HBO left a major awards show empty-handed.

The premium cable network, which went into Sunday's Golden Globes Awards with a leading 14 nominations, was bested by basic cable networks FX, which took home a leading four, AMC (two), Netflix (two), ABC (one) and Amazon (one).

While the Hollywood Foreign Press Association historically has a few surprise winners (Brooklyn Nine-Nine's best comedy win was a common subject of discussion at Sunday's postshow parties), many Hollywood insiders were stunned that HBO — with multiple noms for critical favorites The Night Of, Westworld as well as reigning Emmy champs Game of Thrones and Veep — was completely shut out.

"On the one hand, I'm very proud of the 14 nominations," HBO programming president Casey Bloys told The Hollywood Reporter late Sunday. "On the other hand, it's always more fun to win but we're proud of the shows. You win some, you lose some; you have to look forward at the things we have coming up. That's the way it goes sometimes; we had a good Emmys [but] had an off-year at the Golden Globes. It happens."

In 2016, HBO took home one Globe (for limited series Show Me a Hero) despite going in with seven noms (second behind only Netflix). In 2015, HBO led the pack with 15 nominations and took home one (The Normal Heart). In 2014, HBO again led with nine and collected two (tied with AMC and Fox for the lead).

FX, meanwhile, after a strong showing at the Emmys (its 18 wins narrowed the gap with leader HBO's 22), topped the list Sunday with wins for best comedy series (Atlanta) and comedy actor (Donald Glover for Atlanta) as well as trophies for limited series (People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story) and actress in the same category for Sarah Paulson.

FX president John Landgraf told THR that he sees Sunday's showing — where fellow basic cable network AMC finished second with three — as a win for the little guy in a Peak TV world where Netflix is spending upward of $6 billion on originals and unspooling new scripted fare almost weekly.

"My hat's off to the winners from Amazon [Billy Bob Thornton for Goliath]and Netflix [best drama]; The Crown is a terrific show. But I'm here to speak for smallish brands and personal curation; people who run labels that care deeply about story and artists," he said. "AMC has been our competitor and our brother in arms all along; I'm very happy for them and I watched and loved The Crown."

Landgraf was quick to credit Glover and his specific vision for Atlanta, which was first put in development in August 2013. "I'm just grateful to the artists. All we do is try to find artists, support them and when this happens, it's because of them. All gratitude and thanks go to them and the HFPA," he said. "Donald is the latest in the long run of them."

AMC president Charlie Collier told THR that he, too, was surprised to see The Night Manager win big. The limited series scored acting wins for stars Hugh Laurie, Olivia Coleman and Tom Hiddleston, with the latter topping Night Of's John Turturro and Riz Ahmed.

"It was unexpected," Collier said. "I don't think there's big guy vs. little guy. It means great content gets recognized. You hear now from big and small, cable and broadcast — it was good to see [NBC's] This Is Us [get nominated]. To some degree, the cream rises. We've been such a beneficiary of the outstanding drama series [with Breaking Bad and Mad Men] and there wasn't a basic cable series among this year's nominations. So anything can happen."

The HFPA's decision to combine the limited series and TV movies category could be at least partially to blame for HBO's goose egg. The premium cabler scored nominations for Kerry Washington (for Confirmation) as well as Bryan Cranston (for All the Way), but they were bested by Paulson and Hiddleston, respectively. (At the Emmys, however, both All the Way and Confirmation were nominated in the stand-alone TV movie category.)

Despite the shutout, Bloys was all smiles Sunday at HBO's annual bash and stressed that he hoped critics would be talking about his upcoming Nicole Kidman/Reese Witherspoon miniseries Big Little Lies this time next year.

"Here's the good news: We've got Westworld coming back for 2018; Big Little Lies coming up, The Deuce from David Simon, the final season of The Leftovers; I hope people will remember Girls next year because it's a great show and I think it gets overlooked," he said, noting talks are still underway for a second season of The Night Of and True Detective creator Nic Pizzolatto "has some ideas he's ready to talk about." "We also have Jean-Marc Vallee [who directs Big Little Lies] doing Sharp Objects with Amy Adams starring and Marti Noxon writing — that's coming up in 2018 or '19. We have a lot of great stuff in the pipeline, too: Alan Ball's new show, which we're just casting. We have to keep cranking it out."

Wins by television program:
The Night Manager (AMC): 3
Atlanta (FX): 2
The Crown (Netflix): 2
The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story (FX): 2
Black-ish (ABC): 1
Goliath (Amazon): 1

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