Anyone questioning whether 2012 was a big year creatively for cable programming need only look at its multitude of nominations for TV-industry awards last week.
Cable’s strength is in its dramas, and that was reflected in nominations for the Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild awards. The same five leading men — Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston, Boardwalk Empire’s Steve Buscemi, The Newsroom’s Jeff Daniels, Mad Men’s Jon Hamm and Homeland’s Damian Lewis — closed out all broadcast contenders in the drama category for both ceremonies.
Only PBS’s Downton Abbey kept HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, AMC’s Breaking Bad, Showtime’s Homeland, HBO’s The Newsroom (Golden Globe nomination) and AMC’s Mad Men (SAG) from sweeping nominations in the best TVdrama show category as well.
Boardwalk Empire also received a nod from the NAACP Image Awards judges for best drama, acknowledging the Prohibition- era series’ diversity of images, as well as its strong storyline.
While it was no surprise that cable garnered near complete dominance in the miniseries and TV film categories, award judges recognized that cable networks other than HBO can produce quality and noteworthy content. USA Network’s miniseries Political Animals, BBC America’s anthology drama block The Hour and A&E’s ratings phenomena Hatfields & McCoys will battle HBO’s original movies Game Change and The Girl for the Globe statuette.
No HBO film is even in the running for a NAACP Image Award. Lifetime’s original movies Steel Magnolias and Abducted: The Carlina White Story, and two GMC films — Raising Izzie and Sugar Mommas — will vie for the civil-rights group’s top honors in the category.
Comedy remains the industry’s biggest challenge, yet some industry performers were recognized for their ability to tickle audience’s funny bones. Louie star Louis C.K. garnered SAG and Golden Globe nominations for best comedy actor, while Showtime’s Don Cheadle (House of Lies) and Matt LeBlanc (Episodes) landed Golden Globes nods in the category.