'Grey's' a top Globe contender

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The young doctors of "Grey's Anatomy" and the tonic of "Weeds" were hot again with Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. voters as the ABC drama and Showtime comedy led the pack of television nominees for the 64th annual Golden Globe Awards, announced Thursday.

"Grey's" and "Weeds" earned four bids apiece. Among new shows, NBC's "Heroes," ABC's "Ugly Betty" and HBO's "Big Love" got into the spotlight with noms in the top drama and comedy/musical series categories, while the breakout stars of the new season, "Betty's" America Ferrera, "Heroes' " Masi Oka and Sarah Paulson of NBC's "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip," landed acting noms.

"For a fledging show to be honored like this is doubly exciting," said Tim Kring, creator and executive producer of the fantasy ensemble drama "Heroes."

Kring attributes the show's enormous popularity to the relatable qualities of its characters, even if they are endowed with superpowers.

"I think people are connecting with it," he said. "There is a wish-fulfillment element in it and a hopeful message."

Interestingly, this year Globes voters gravitated to breakout hits a la "Heroes" and "Betty" rather than critical darlings like "Studio 60" as they have in the past with such shows as "Arrested Development" and "Felicity." "Studio 60" was surprisingly left out of the drama series nominees circle and out of lead acting categories for principal stars Matthew Perry, Bradley Whitford and Amanda Peet. Perry made the list in the lead actor in a miniseries or TV movie field for his role in TNT's "The Ron Clark Story."

AMC's first original movie, the highly rated Western "Broken Trail," led the pack in the longform categories with three noms, including mentions for best miniseries/movie and for stars Robert Duvall and Thomas Haden Church. Three productions of the juggernaut in the field, HBO -- "Elizabeth I," which dominated this year's Emmys, "Mrs. Harris" and "Tsunami: The Aftermath" -- matched "Broken Trail's" haul of three nominations apiece.

Also claiming three nominations is "Desperate Housewives," the winner in the comedy series category for the past two years. The ABC dramedy is going for a three-peat in the category, a feat accomplished only by HBO's comedy "Sex and the City."

HBO led all networks, as usual, with a total of 14 noms, followed by ABC with 11, NBC with nine, Showtime with six and PBS with four.

Joining "Grey's," "Big Love" and "Heroes" in the drama series race are previous winners Fox's "24" and ABC's "Lost."

"Weeds' " four nominations include a bid for best comedy/musical series as well as mentions for stars Mary-Louise Parker, Justin Kirk and Elizabeth Perkins. The strong showing for "Weeds" marks the first time Showtime has had the most-nominated series in a major awards race. Moreover, Showtime's total of six noms -- encompassing "Weeds' " stash plus mentions for "Dexter" star Michael C. Hall and "Sleeper Cell: American Terror" star Michael Ealy -- is the pay cable network's largest ever for series programming.

"We just had an extraordinary year with 'Weeds,' 'Brotherhood,' 'Dexter' and 'Sleeper Cell,' " Showtime president of entertainment Robert Greenblatt said. "I think people are looking at our shows more than they had before."

This past year signaled a change in direction for Showtime, which didn't produce a single original movie.

"We moved away from the movie business with a goal to upgrade the quality of the series programming, especially in the talent area," Greenblatt said. "It paid off."

Vying against "Weeds," "Betty" and "Housewives" in the comedy/musical series heat are HBO's "Entourage" and NBC's "The Office," which added its first Globe nomination to its best comedy series Emmy win in August.

In the lead actor drama category, "Dexter's" Hall will compete against "Big Love's" Bill Paxton, "Grey's" Patrick Dempsey, January's Globe winner Hugh Laurie of Fox's "House" and another previous winner, "24's" Kiefer Sutherland. On the distaff side, Evangeline Lilly of "Lost" is a surprise nominee. She will compete against two-time winner Edie Falco of "The Sopranos," "Grey's" Ellen Pompeo, Patricia Arquette of NBC's "Medium" and Kyra Sedgwick of TNT's "The Closer."

Alec Baldwin of NBC's freshman comedy "30 Rock" is the new kid on the lead comedy actor block. In the race, he will compete against previous nominees Jason Lee of NBC's "My Name Is Earl," Zach Braff of NBC's "Scrubs," January's Globe winner Steve Carell of "The Office" and 2003 winner Tony Shalhoub of USA Network's "Monk."

Funny ladies in the running include reigning champ Parker, recent Emmy winner Julia Louis-Dreyfus of CBS' "The New Adventures of Old Christine," Ferrera as well as Marcia Cross and Felicity Huffman of "Housewives."

Joining "Broken Trail," "Elizabeth I" and "Mrs. Harris" in the movie/miniseries category are PBS' "Bleak House" and "Prime Suspect: The Final Act."

Helen Mirren is entering the Globes race with the best odds of winning a statuette. She has two shots at winning the longform lead actress trophy with bids for "Elizabeth I," a role that earned her an Emmy, and "Prime Suspect." She also is a favorite to win in the actress in a motion picture, drama, category for portraying another British monarch, Queen Elizabeth II.

Competing against Mirren on the TV side are Gillian Anderson, up for "Bleak House," Annette Bening for "Mrs. Harris" and Sophie Okonedo for "Tsunami."

The longform lead actor race is highly competitive with "Broken Trail's" Duvall, "Sleeper Cell's" Ealy, "Ron Clark's" Perry, Andre Braugher of FX's "Thief," Chiwetel Ejiofor of "Tsunami," Ben Kingsley of "Mrs. Harris" and Bill Nighy of BBC America's "Gideon's Daughter."

In the grab-bag supporting series/longform acting category, "Broken Trail's" Church, "Heroes' " Oka and "Weeds' " Kirk will compete in the male heat against "Elizabeth I's" Jeremy Irons and Jeremy Piven of "Entourage."

On the distaff side, "Studio 60's" Paulson is up against "Grey's" Katherine Heigl, Elizabeth Perkins of "Weeds" and two double nominees: Emily Blunt and Toni Collette. Blunt is nommed on the TV side for "Gideon's Daughter" and for the feature "The Devil Wears Prada." Collette is up for "Tsunami" and on the feature side for "Little Miss Sunshine."

The list of Golden Globe TV nominations follows.

Series, Drama

"24," Fox; "Big Love," HBO; "Grey's Anatomy," ABC; "Heroes," NBC; "Lost," ABC

Actress, Drama
Patricia Arquette, "Medium"; Edie Falco, "The Sopranos"; Evangeline Lilly, "Lost"; Ellen Pompeo, "Grey's Anatomy"; Kyra Sedgwick, "The Closer"

Actor, Drama

Patrick Dempsey, "Grey's Anatomy"; Michael C. Hall, "Dexter"; Hugh Laurie, "House"; Bill Paxton, "Big Love"; Kiefer Sutherland, "24"

Series, Musical or Comedy

"Desperate Housewives," ABC; "Entourage," HBO; "The Office," NBC; "Ugly Betty," ABC; "Weeds," Showtime

Actress, Musical or Comedy

Marcia Cross, "Desperate Housewives"; America Ferrera, "Ugly Betty"; Felicity Huffman, "Desperate Housewives"; Julia Louis-Dreyfus, "The New Adventures of Old Christine"; Mary-Louise Parker, "Weeds"

Actor, Musical or Comedy

Alec Baldwin, "30 Rock"; Zach Braff, "Scrubs"; Steve Carell, "The Office"; Jason Lee, "My Name is Earl"; Tony Shalhoub, "Monk"

Miniseries or movie
"Bleak House," PBS; "Broken Trail," AMC; "Elizabeth I," HBO; "Mrs. Harris," HBO; "Prime Suspect: The Final Act," PBS

Actress, Miniseries or Movie

Gillian Anderson, "Bleak House"; Annette Bening, "Mrs. Harris"; Helen Mirren, "Elizabeth I"; Helen Mirren, "Prime Suspect: The Final Act"; Sophie Okonedo, "Tsunami, The Aftermath"

Actor, Miniseries or Movie

Andre Braugher, "Thief"; Robert Duvall, "Broken Trail"; Michael Ealy, "Sleeper Cell: American Terror"; Chiwetel Ejiofor, "Tsunami, The Aftermath"; Ben Kingsley, "Mrs. Harris"; Bill Nighy, "Gideon's Daughter"; Matthew Perry, "The Ron Clark Story"

Supporting Actress, Series, Miniseries or Movie
Emily Blunt, "Gideon's Daughter"; Toni Collette, "Tsunami, The Aftermath"; Katherine Heigl, "Grey's Anatomy"; Sarah Paulson, "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip"; Elizabeth Perkins, "Weeds"

Supporting Actor, Series, Miniseries or Movie

Thomas Haden Church, "Broken Trail"; Jeremy Irons, "Elizabeth I"; Justin Kirk, "Weeds"; Masi Oka, "Heroes"; Jeremy Piven, "Entourage"
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