| LOS ANGELES, July 14
LOS ANGELES, July 14 With 104 Emmy nominations
on Thursday, cable TV's HBO again dominated rival networks for
the industry's highest awards, but several nods from
lesser-known networks truly had Hollywood talking.
ReelzChannel, whose focus is showing feature films and
original programs about Hollywood movies, took on a big risk
when it aired controversial TV miniseries "The Kennedys" back
in April, but the move paid off in viewership and Emmy nods.
The network earned 10 of the highly coveted nominations,
where before it hadn't had any, including a nod for best
miniseries or movie and one each for Greg Kinnear and Barry
Pepper in the category of best actor.
After football drama "Friday Night Lights" was punted from
the NBC network, satellite TV operator DirecTV put the show on
its Audience Network for original programs. The satellite
operator's reward: four nods including for the top Emmy, best
TV drama series, and one each for Kyle Chandler as best
dramatic actor and Connie Britton, best dramatic actress.
The Starz network, too, brought in nine Emmy nods for its
shows "Pillars of the Earth," "Spartacus: Gods of the Arena"
The nods underscore a trend in TV that has seen dramas,
which in recent years generally have appealed to more narrowly
targeted audiences, being replaced on network TV by reality and
competition programs that are aimed at broad viewership.
Operations like ReelzChannel or Audience Network with fewer
viewers can take the top-quality dramas and use them to attract
new audiences, which only enhances overall viewership.
"On cable, we are seeing a strong point of view which is
extremely original. Cable TV has a very specific audience. It
is a niche market for the most part," said John Shaffner,
chairman of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.
HAIL TO THE CHIEF
Stan E. Hubbard, chief executive of ReelzChannel made the
decision to pick up "The Kennedys" when The History Channel
pulled it from its lineup. The miniseries had drawn fire from
some critics who claimed it painted an unflattering portrait of
slain U.S. President John F. Kennedy and his family.
But with controversy comes publicity, and that often lures
viewers who want to see what all the fuss is about.
"Our daily average ratings have doubled since we announced
'The Kennedys' was coming," Hubbard said. The Emmy nod, he
said, should only bring more attention to the channel, and he
added that the nomination validated the production's quality.
The Audience Network is somewhat different. Because the
channel is owned by subscriber-based DirecTV, its aim is less
about attracting new viewers and more about retaining current
ones, said Patty Ishimoto, general manager of original
entertainment at DirecTV.
Still, she said the move toward original programming and
high-quality dramas -- Audience Network recently picked up the
Glenn Close show "Damages" -- has been a success.
To be sure, the nods for ReelzChannel, Audience Network and
Starz are small by comparison to the likes of mighty HBO with
its flashy, expensive productions such as "Boardwalk Empire"
and "Mildred Pierce" -- Emmy's most-nominated program.
CBS garnered 50 nominations to be the second most-nominated
network. NBC had 46, Fox 42, and ABC 40.
But it was only a few years back that the same things were
being said about cable network AMC, and now it is considered
one of the key stops on TV remote controls for quality drama
after multiple Emmy wins for "Mad Men" and "Breaking Bad."
(Editing by Jill Serjeant)