A family matter for Field
EmptySally Field found out about her Emmy nomination for lead actress in a drama series from her teenage son Thursday. "He ran into the house yelling, 'Mom, you were nominated,' " said Field, who garnered her seventh Emmy nom overall, this time for her role as Nora Walker on ABC's freshman series "Brothers & Sisters." Field, who said she would follow the news by going about the day in her normal fashion — commuting to work from Malibu to Burbank — said that it's probably her character's devotion to her family that has resonated with audiences. "It's about a mother who has gone through some changes and loves her children more than anything. It's about love, hate and all that's involved with these people you are bound to for your entire life." Field added that she hasn't really tapped into what it is about playing Walker that stands out from the myriad roles she has played. "I really won't know that 'til I'm sitting on the porch someday," she said. But when asked how she'd celebrate her Emmy win, Field replied with one word: "Work." "I'm glad to be working," she said.
Dick Wolf was happy for "Law & Order: SVU" co-star Mariska Hargitay's nomination for lead actress in a drama series. "It's wonderful to think that people are starting to recognize the consistent level of acting that takes place on all three ('Law & Order') series," he said. "It's hard for procedurals to get Emmy nominations because they're not showy; they're more about the story." NBC's "SVU" also garnered noms for guest stars Marcia Gay Harden and Leslie Caron.
"House" creator/executive producer David Shore and exec producer Katie Jacobs were thrilled with the Fox show's four nominations, including for best drama series. "I can't say we didn't think we had a shot, but you almost feel guilty because there are so many good shows out there," Shore said. Jacobs added that "things are going to change" for the show's upcoming fourth season, after a Season 3 finale in which two characters (Jennifer Morrison, Omar Epps) resigned and one (Jesse Spencer) was fired. "We're going to have so much fun exploring that," she said. "There's going to be a new team, and we're going to go about it in a very 'House'-like fashion." As for Hugh Laurie's nomination for lead actor in a drama, "They owe him one," Shore said with a laugh, referring to the actor's omission from the nominations list last year and lack of an Emmy win.
"Two and a Half Men" creator/executive producer Chuck Lorre said he couldn't have anticipated the show's seven nominations, including for outstanding comedy series. "If you anticipate something, you're just setting yourself up for a world of hurt," he said. Lorre added that a few changes are in store for the CBS show's upcoming fifth season, including Jake (Angus T. Jones) entering junior high. "It's going to be much more challenging for Alan (Jon Cryer) and Charlie (Charlie Sheen) as he becomes a teenager," Lorre said. In addition, Alan and Charlie's love lives will heat up, with Alan dating a deeply troubled woman (Janeane Garofalo), and Charlie becoming romantically involved with a "sophisticated, remarkable woman who is a municipal court judge as opposed to the usual one-night stands with bimbos and whoreheads." (The judge role has not been cast.) Lorre said that Charlie will "expand his horizons," with a career change from jingle writing to a new job that he's going to "stumble into" — that of a singing sensation for 5-year-olds.
It was midafternoon in Paris when Julia Louis-Dreyfus landed at Charles de Gaulle Airport, "cramming in a vacation," and learned of her nomination for lead actress in a comedy series. The sole nominee for CBS' "The New Adventures of Old Christine" said: "I wish we had been nominated, but I'll take what we can get. I'm happy that I got the nomination, and I think of that as representing the show." Louis-Dreyfus added, "The writers are back, and we start shooting in August." Heading into Season 3, she said: "I'm so happy to have a job. I appreciate it. It's fantastic, and it just gets more fantastic."
Mary-Louise Parker said that when the phone rang at 5:45 a.m. at her Los Angeles home, she was just glad it wasn't an emergency. Instead, it was her publicist notifying her of her new status as a double Emmy nominee — for lead actress in a comedy series for her role as the pot-dealing mom Nancy Botwin on Showtime's "Weeds" and for lead actress in a miniseries or movie as Zenia Arden in Oxygen's "The Robber Bride." "It was really early here," Parker said. "Honestly, I was completely surprised; I'm always surprised." Parker said she's also amazed that her "Weeds" character has gone over so well with audiences. "I'm not really sure why — I really thought people were going to object to the character and find her controversial," Parker said. "A lot of people must smoke pot or something because nobody has really objected to it." To celebrate, Parker is taking part in a Southern California summer tradition: "I'm taking my boy to Disneyland tomorrow," she said. "I guess I'll get some extra cotton candy or something."
Even though the time difference was in his favor, Denis Leary still had to wake up early Thursday on the East Coast for a job there. The wife of the star of FX's "Rescue Me" called him to tell him about his third nomination for lead actor in a drama series. "I was a little more surprised this time," he said. "There are so many great shows and so many really great (nominees)," all of whom the actor considers friends. "It's kind of like we graduated from high school and we're all going back to prom and somebody's going to be voted best dressed." The stand-up comic and screenwriter, who is working on two film scripts and the Fox legal drama "Canterbury's Law," said that he and his fellow nominees can thank "The Sopranos' " James Gandolfini for blazing a trail for them. "I believe Gandolfini is really extraordinary," he said. "He's the godfather, and the rest of us are just secondary guys. We owe him a great debt." Leary said he would be happy to see the statue go home with the "Sopranos" star. "Gandolfini should get one, and Hugh Laurie should get one, and then somewhere in there, I should get one, too. Actually, Gandolfini should get the big one made of gold, and the rest of us can get coffee-table Emmys that turn into lighters."
Tom Selleck was shooting his new role on NBC's "Las Vegas" when he got the call that he had been nominated for lead actor in a miniseries or a movie for his title role in CBS' "Jesse Stone: Sea Change." He said he was pretty surprised, considering that no screeners had been sent out to academy voters. "I said, 'Well I think the show is Emmy-worthy, but I'm not going to comment on myself,' " he said. "Obviously, the people who did watch it felt pretty strongly about it." Selleck, who also executive produces the popular telefilm franchise, is set to began shooting the fifth installment next month in Halifax, Nova Scotia. As for his "Vegas" character, the new owner of the casino, Selleck described him as "quite mysterious. Nobody knows anything about him, where he got his money or how he did it." Selleck said the idea of joining the ensemble cast was appealing. "You don't have to work every day. That's important to me … so I can spend time with my family."
Already an Emmy winner for "The Practice" in 1999, this is Holland Taylor's second nom for her role as Evelyn Harper on CBS' "Two and a Half Men." Notified over the phone by Warner Bros. Television of her supporting actress nomination, she said: "I was asleep in my delightful and warm bed. When it rang, I snapped awake." The nomination found her "delighted, but I'm really dismayed that our writers weren't acknowledged. The writing for the show is spectacular. It's very much the script we end up shooting. Even the average Joe on the street says, 'The writing is great!' " Still, "I'm delighted for all of us actors. I was just faxing Elaine (Stritch), and I was glad for Chatty (Conchata Ferrell) and my darling Tina Fey — I just played her mother in (Universal Pictures') 'Baby Mama.' " Taylor planned to celebrate by "going to the spa and having practically all of my skin removed," she joked. "I suppose I will drink an adult beverage or two by tonight." Shooting resumes on "Men" at month's end, and "what a good way to come back in the saddle," Taylor said.
Ed Asner, with 16 Emmy nominations and seven wins under his belt, was nominated for his supporting role as a former soldier and patriarch in the Hallmark Channel telefilm "The Christmas Card," which set a ratings record for the channel in December. "Today's announcement has been a singular honor and surprise to me," Asner said. "I'm indebted that this nomination is for a show that encourages public good in a time filled with such strife. And if it hadn't been for (co-star) Peter Jason, (producer) Lincoln Lageson and (director) Steve Bridgewater, I could never have qualified for this nomination."
After receiving a nomination for supporting actor in a comedy series, Neil Patrick Harris has decided it's time to start acting like a star. "I've decided to be an absolute monster on set," he said. "Or at least, now, my monstrous behavior is well justified." The co-star of CBS' "How I Met Your Mother" said that he is still numb over the good news. "It's such a communal experience working on a show," he said. "We're all big fans of each other. We have great writers, and there are a lot of people that made it happen. To get a nomination reflects the show's worth." The one-time child actor is thrilled to be acknowledged for his work in an adult role. "It's a different chapter. It's nice to commit to a part and take a big strong stab at it and take recognition for it." Next up, Harris will appear as himself in New Line Cinema's "Harold & Kumar 2" and participate in a reading of "The Marriage of Bette and Boo," which he hopes will lead to more theater work. "I love doing stage, and it complements the sitcom well," he said. "It's a nice way to keep flexing your muscles."
"I'm actually driving to my class. I pulled over on the side of the road," said Rachel Griffiths, a nominee for supporting actress in a drama series for ABC's "Brothers & Sisters." "How terrific! I'm really thrilled and honored to be acknowledged," she said. "It's slightly bittersweet because we're such an ensemble show. The weight of it varies from season to season. Why people tune in is the vibe between the cast in the series." The first season "was a very difficult year's work for everybody on our show. We got off to a rocky start, but I'm so pleased that ABC has backed this show so hard. There are certain people at ABC who saw us through and knew what this cast could be in combination with specifically human writing." The cast already is back working on Season 2, and Griffiths said: "I feel like it's really clear today that we're in safe territory now. We are back to work. I have a read-through this afternoon."
There are a lot of perks that come with an Emmy nomination, but "The Office" co-star Rainn Wilson said he is most excited about the title. "Now, any time anyone mentions my name they're going to say, 'Emmy-nominated Rainn Wilson … table for two,' " he said. Wilson — who is shooting Fox Atomic's "The Rocker," a film about a heavy metal drummer who gets a second shot at fame with his nephew's high school band — said he felt stunned and grateful when everyone from producers to publicists called to tell him about his nomination for supporting actor in a comedy series for the NBC show. It's only a matter of time before his character, Dwight Schrute, gets his unmistakable face on Mount Rushmore, Wilson said. "I was at an airport, and a baggage handler showed me a text on his phone that said, 'I can and do cut my own hair,' which is a Dwight quote. He said, 'My daughter and I send Dwight quotes back and forth.' I'm iconic!" Until he returns to the "Office" set Aug. 6, Wilson is writing a film for Jason Reitman ("Thank You for Smoking") in which he will star as a down-and-out ninja.
What's the difference between a first Emmy nomination and a second one? For Jaime Pressly, it's a little more confidence. "I'm more excited this time because I feel like it's not a fluke now," the "My Name Is Earl" star said. "At first I felt like they made a mistake, but now I feel like it's real." She was vacationing in the Bahamas and had her 8-week-old baby in her arms when she learned of her second nom for supporting actress in a comedy series. "It was kind of surreal," she said. "They say babies bring good luck, so we'll see." After such a successful first year, Pressly worried that the cast of the NBC comedy wouldn't be able to live up to the expectations for Season 2, but she's grateful to be part of a show that's just as popular with the critics as it is with viewers. "We've got the viewers because the show has heart, and we've got the critics because the writing is so great," she said. Pressly's only disappointment is that co-star Jason Lee wasn't also recognized for his work on the comedy. "It baffles the hell out of me that Jason has not been nominated for an Emmy," she said. "If he hadn't been Earl, the show would never have made it to air. He's an incredible actor." Despite the job offers that poured in after last year's Emmys, Pressly — who found out that she was pregnant in the fall — focused mainly on "Earl" and voice work on 20th Century Fox's "Horton Hears a Who." "This year, it was about the baby," she said.
Anna Paquin was lying in bed having her coffee, watching a little TV and checking e-mails when the phone rang early in the morning. "I was curious to why someone was calling," said Paquin, who is nominated for supporting actress in a miniseries or movie for her role in HBO's "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee." She wasn't aware that the Emmy noms were being announced. "After I found out I thought, 'OK, that's really awesome.' That's the best way to find out about something so nice — for it to be unexpected." Paquin, who recently finished shooting the HBO pilot "True Blood," said she was proud to be a part of the docudrama that garnered 17 nominations, including noms for fellow cast members Aidan Quinn and August Schellenberg. "I'm so glad a story is out there that took the viewpoint of one of the many Native Americans who were influenced by such tragedies," she said. "I'm very excited for Aidan and everyone involved."
The prolific Nigel Lythgoe, executive producer of Fox's "American Idol" and "So You Think You Can Dance," both of which scored nominations, said the news was "delightful, isn't it? I'm really happy with it. The live finale of 'So You Think You Can Dance' is tonight, so it's a tough day." "Idol," nominated 29 times since its 2003 start but with no wins to date, is a team effort, he said. "The worst thing is when you're not nominated. It's sort of a ritual, and it's terrific and fantastic to be nominated, and we don't think, 'We're going to win!' Each year, we say it can't be 'The Amazing Race' again and then we go congratulate 'The Amazing Race.' It's a shame we all start with the same 'A' vowel. My ass is always half off of the seat when they start to read the winner and you hear the 'Aaaa' sound." Remarking on the previous season of "Idol," Lythgoe said, "With 'Idol Gives Back,' we really went to town and had some good mentors: the editors; the camera teams; the director, Bruce Gowers, who doesn't know what's going to hit him every week." He said that shooting for four days in Africa and on locations in the U.S. like New Orleans "was like two finales, and we were continuing to do the show, and a lot of hard work went into it." Next up, "Idol" starts production at month's end with the San Diego auditions as well as the start of another Lythgoe show, Fox's "The Search for the Next Great American Band."
Marcia Gay Harden was pleasantly surprised to be nominated for guest actress in a drama series for her appearance on NBC's "Law & Order: SVU." She didn't realize she was eligible because her episode — which aired early in the season — was shot last year. "I had forgotten that they were going to announce them," she said. She got the call at her home in Sullivan County, N.Y., while she was fishing with her 3-year-old daughter, Julitta. "Her Cinderella fishing pole flew out of my hands, and we had to spend the next five minutes fishing it out of the water." Harden's children wanted to bake cookies to celebrate their mother's first Emmy nom, but she said: "No! I have a dress to fit into. If they have a lot of fiber, maybe." Harden said she will be fishing and kayaking with her children before diving back into her busy work schedule. The Oscar-winning actress has several projects on the horizon, including "Home," a film she shot in summer 2006 with her older daughter, Eulala; "Canvas," in which she plays a paranoid schizophrenic; Sean Penn's "Into the Wild"; Stephen King's "The Mist"; Alison Eastwood's "Rails & Ties"; and "The Christmas Cottage" with Peter O'Toole.
Tim Daly was driving to work to shoot the first day of ABC's "Grey's Anatomy" spinoff "Private Practice" when his publicist called to tell him about his nomination for outstanding guest actor in a drama series as J.T. Dolan on HBO's "The Sopranos." "It was a total surprise. I didn't even know the nominations were coming out," Daly said. "I know it's very cliche, but the people with whom I share this nomination are just unbelievable." Daly, who comes from a clan of esteemed actors, chalked up his first nom to the family genes. "My father (James Daly) was nominated for an Emmy, and my sister (Tyne Daly) has won a million, so it's one of the happy side effects of the congenital disease in my family, I guess," he said. "It's certainly better than a sharp stick in the eye." He said that he would be looking forward to September's Emmy ceremony. "I don't think of acting as a competition sport. It's just nice for people to be acknowledged and to see people in a nice suit," Daly said. "Beyond that, it's all sort of silliness."
Jean Smart is nominated for the second time as guest actress in a drama series for her role as Martha Logan on Fox's "24" — her fifth nom overall. She was taking her dog to the veterinarian when her publicist called with the news. "I'm really flattered and happy," Smart said. "It's one thing to get nominated, but when you get recognized for something you're really proud of, it means a lot." She said that it is her character's eccentric nature, combined with someone who's thought of as "the all-knowing fool," that makes playing Logan so satisfying. "It's the fact that she's thought of as the court jester who everyone else writes off but who actually has a lot of insight that makes her interesting," she said. Smart — who was supposed to do a film this summer in London until the project conflicted with the new series she's working on, ABC's "Samantha Who?" — said the nomination tops off a summer of vacations spent mostly in the outdoors in Seattle and Colorado with her husband, actor Richard Gilliland, and family. If she were to win, Smart would be adding a third Emmy statue to her collection — one of which lost its name plate. "So maybe now I could have matching earrings and a broach," she joked.
If it hadn't been for man's best friend, Wanda Sykes might have slept through the news of her Emmy nomination. "My dog, Reilly, started barking for some reason at 6:10 or 6:15," she said. "And then I looked at my BlackBerry, and (exec producer) Liz Stanton had e-mailed me and told me to get my ass up. I haven't been back to sleep." Sykes — whose HBO comedy special "Wanda Sykes: Sick and Tired" was nominated for outstanding variety, music or comedy special — was nominated for several Emmys as a writer for "The Chris Rock Show," with a win in 1999. But this one is different: It's her first nomination for a performance. With a successful comedy special and two seasons of CBS' hit comedy "The New Adventures of Old Christine" in the can, Sykes is jetting off to Europe in a few weeks before shooting resumes in mid-August. But instead of taking time off, the crafty comedian plans to spend her vacation collecting material for her next comedy special. "I write it all off as a business expense," she said.
Padma Lakshmi, co-host of the popular Bravo reality series "Top Chef," was at the gym when a friend called to tell her about the show's two nominations. "I was lifting dumbbells when my friend Christina called. She said: 'You're going to need a dress. You're going to the Emmys.' " The nominations came just in time, Lakshmi said, and hopefully will give the top-rated show an added boost as they prepare to shoot the finale in Aspen, Colo. "It's a nice thing to happen right now," she said. "It'll give ('Top Chef') a shot in the arm. I'm really happy and proud to be a part of that crew." Before taping begins for the next season, which takes place in Chicago, Lakshmi is preparing for the release of her book, "Tangy, Tart, Hot and Sweet," in the fall and looking for an apartment in New York.
"Comedy may be dead on the broadcast networks, but it's alive and flourishing on Disney," Disney Channel Worldwide entertainment president Gary Marsh said of his network's nominations in the children's program category for the sitcoms "Hannah Montana," "The Suite Life of Zack & Cody" and "That's So Raven." "For the last 50 years, comedy has been a staple of television, but to some extent the broadcast networks have abandoned them, so we are filling a vacuum." He said that Disney Channel's comedies resonate with kids because "they love to laugh. The stories are relatable, the actors are accessible, and their friends are going through the same rites of passage that kids at home are going through."
Adult Swim's "Robot Chicken" is nominated in the category of animated program less than an hour. Thrilled with the news were co-creator/co-executive producer Seth Green, who also writes and directs and lends his voice to the series, and Alex Bulkley and Corey Campodonico, owners of the show's production company ShadowMachine. Green said that he was "dead asleep" when he received the call in his hotel room in New York, where he is shooting Buena Vista Pictures' upcoming "Old Dogs" opposite John Travolta and Robin Williams. "I'm still digesting it — and it's starting to get exciting," said Green, who co-created the series with Matthew Senreich. He said that "Chicken's" third season, which is in production, will feature "a lot more storytelling. As the show evolves, we're going to take a chance and do really interesting things and touching on a lot of '80s properties we didn't get to handle in Season 2 … and experiment with the format." Added Bulkley, "We're doing backflips about the (Emmy nomination)," noting that it's the first Emmy nom for ShadowMachine. Bulkley and Campodonico said that working with George Lucas on the recent "Star Wars"-themed installment was a thrill. "He was extremely cooperative," Campodonico said. "He doesn't let many people touch his property. It was a dream come true."