'Damages' leads Globe TV pack with 4 noms

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Cable's big year was capped by a strong showing in the Golden Globes nominations, where cable series dominated both the drama and comedy categories.

The Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. was more adventurous than ever in its top TV picks, infusing the series categories with a lot of new blood.

Five of the 10 best series nominees are freshman shows. Four of them -- FX's "Damages," AMC's "Mad Men" and Showtime's "The Tudors" and "Californication" -- are cable series. The fifth is ABC's buzzworthy dramedy "Pushing Daisies," which landed three noms.

The legal thriller "Damages" was the most nominated series with four mentions, including best drama, lead actress Glenn Close and supporting actors Ted Danson and Rose Byrne.

Its feat was mirrored on the longform side by HBO's docudrama "Longford," which landed noms for best TV movie or miniseries, star Jim Broadbent and supporting players Samantha Morton and Andy Serkis.

HBO once again led the field with 18 nominations, followed by ABC with 11, NBC and Showtime with six and FX with five.

It's been a whirlwind of a year for "Damages" creators Todd A. Kessler, Glenn Kessler and Daniel Zelman, who produced the series on an intense production schedule.

While it immediately was embraced by critics, the show didn't become a breakout ratings hit, raising speculation about its future until FX recently picked it up for two additional seasons. Behind the scenes, there was never a doubt that "Damages" would continue, the creators said.

"From Day 1, FX and producing studio Sony made it clear they were 100% on board," Todd Kessler said.

Added Zelman, "From the very beginning, the idea was to be bold and daring in storytelling, and what's great about having two more seasons is that it allows us to further exploit the characters of Glenn and Rose, while still bringing elements of a legal thriller."

The "Damages" haul marks a big return for FX to the Globe big leagues after being snubbed in the best series categories for the past two years following a surprising drama series win for "Nip/Tuck" in 2005.

Showtime and AMC also made great strides this year.

Showtime landed best series nominations for the first time in both the comedy and drama fields with "Californication" and "Tudors" and scored four acting noms, its most ever.

"What is great about it is that the nominations don't come from one show but are spread out over four of our six eligible series," Showtime entertainment president Robert Greenblatt said. "It's a great vote for our whole lineup."

AMC scored its first-ever series noms with period drama "Mad Men" and its star Jon Hamm.

AMC has been taking scripted television by storm. Its first original program, last year's Western mini "Broken Trail," was a ratings and critical hit, wining four Emmys.

"Mad Men," the cable network's first original series, has emerged as the most praised new show this year.

The period drama, set at an early-1960s ad agency in New York, is not your typical show as it is shot on film, not on high-def video like most series today, said AMC general manager Charlie Collier.

"The talent in front and behind the camera is cinematic," he said. "What we're trying to do is high-end cinematic television that can stand side by side with the greatest movies of all time in our library."

HFPA went for a major overhaul of the best series categories, with only two nominees each in the drama and comedy category repeating from last year.

The major upsets include HBO's much-heralded mob drama "The Sopranos," which won a best drama series Emmy for its final season but netted only one Golden Globe nom for lead actress Edie Falco.

After scoring best comedy series mentions and multiple acting noms for its leading ladies in the past three years, 2006 best comedy series winner "Desperate Housewives" was shut out completely, as was fellow 2006 drama series winner "Lost" and perennial Globe favorite "24."

2007 drama series winner "Grey's Anatomy" and returning nominee HBO's "Big Love" are joined in the drama field by "Mad Men," "Tudors" and Fox's "House," in its first showing in the best series category.

"We're in the fourth season, and it comes as a surprise and honor to be noticed by the Hollywood Foreign Press as they are known for sussing out new talent and recognizing new shows," "House" exec producer Katie Jacobs said. "Maybe we are a late bloomer."

In the comedy series race, reigning champ "Ugly Betty" and repeat nominee "Entourage" are welcoming "Californication," "Daisies," HBO's "Extras" and this year's Emmy winner "30 Rock."

With "Extras," Ricky Gervais is making his third showing in the best comedy series category in the past four years, all for different shows. His BBC series "The Office" won the category in 2005. The NBC incarnation of "Office," which he executive produces, was nominated last year.

Gervais, who also won the best actor in a comedy series trophy in 2005 for the British "Office," is nominated again in the category for "Extras" on the heels of his surprise Emmy win in September.

He faces Steve Carell of "The Office," who plays the character originated by Gervais; reigning Globe champ Alec Baldwin from "30 Rock"; "Californication's" David Duchovny, who won in 1997 for "The X-Files"; and newcomer Lee Pace from "Daisies."

On the distaff side, 2007 Globe and Emmy winner America Ferrera is back, joined by last year's nominee Mary-Louise Parker as well as Tina Fey of "30 Rock," Anna Friel of "Daisies" and Christina Applegate of ABC's freshman comedy "Samantha Who?"

In the best actress in a drama series category, HFPA has assembled one of the strongest fields ever and has expanded it to seven slots to accommodate returning nominees Falco, Kyra Sedgwick of TNT's "The Closer" and Patricia Arquette of NBC's "Medium," as well as Close; Sally Field, who won the Emmy for her role on ABC's "Brothers & Sisters"; Holly Hunter of TNT's "Saving Grace" and Minnie Driver of FX's "The Riches."

In a an upset, Showtime's hot serial killer drama "Dexter" didn't get a best series nomination, but its star, Michael C. Hall, landed a nom for best actor in a drama series, as did "House's" Hugh Laurie, the trophy winner for the past two years. The two face Hamm, Bill Paxton of "Big Love" and Jonathan Rhys Meyers of "Tudors."

Dick Wolf's six-time Emmy winner "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee" is one of three HBO longform projects to compete in the best miniseries or TV movie category, along with the well-received mini "Five Days" and the Emmy-nominated film "Longford." They are joined by TNT's Cold War mini "The Company" and BBC America's "The State Within."

The actress in a miniseries or TV movie category features Queen Latifah for her HBO film "Life Support," Sissy Spacek for CBS' "Pictures of Hollis Woods," Bryce Dallas Howard for HBO's adaptation of Shakespeare's "As You Like It," Debra Messing for USA's "The Starter Wife" and Ruth Wilson for PBS' Masterpiece Theatre production of "Jane Eyre."

The men's field includes the oldest Globe nominee, 90-year-old Ernest Borgnine, who is recognized for his performance in the Hallmark Channel's movie "A Grandpa for Christmas." Borgnine's other nomination came in 1956, when most of his fellow nominees weren't even born.

Borgnine will compete with Adam Beach of "Bury My Heart," Jason Isaacs of "State," James Nesbitt of BBC America's "Jekyll" and Broadbent of "Longford."

This year's supporting actress Emmy winners Katherine Heigl of "Grey's" and Jaime Pressly of NBC comedy "My Name Is Earl" will face off in the supporting actress category that encompasses drama and comedy series, minis and TV movies. They are joined by Byrne ("Damages"), Rachel Griffiths ("Brothers & Sisters"), Morton ("Longford") and Anna Paquin ("Bury My Heart").

Two-time Emmy winner Jeremy Piven of HBO's "Entourage" leads the field for best supporting actor, which also features his co-star Kevin Dillon, Danson ("Damages"), Donald Sutherland (ABC's freshman drama "Dirty Sexy Money"), William Shatner ("Boston Legal") and Andy Serkis ("Longford").
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