Outstanding Lead Actress Drama - Emmy Nomination Preview 2013

Outstanding Lead Actress Drama - Emmy Nomination Preview 2013

Can Tatiana Maslany, Keri Russell, Tatiana Maslany or Vera Farmiga score a nod?
I think I'm counting on four Lead Actress in a Drama performances as locks for Emmy nominations. That leaves two slots which, by my reckoning, will go to one of seven or eight actors. What I don't know, though, is whether Emmy voters will give the advantage to returning or former nominees like Michelle Dockery or Mariska Hargitay, established network favorites like Kerry Washington or Connie Britton, or any of several new contenders from variably proven cable and not-even-cable entities. 
I'm just going with my gut on most of these and even though they seem like viable predictions now, I'll probably have changed my mind by next month. This could, if things go pear-shaped, be one of the very oddest fields on Emmy morning.
Check out the full gallery below:
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Outstanding Lead Actor Drama - Emmy Nomination Preview 2013

Outstanding Lead Actor Drama - Emmy Nomination Preview 2013

Who will join Bryan Cranston, Damian Lewis and Jon Hamm?
On a day so many of us are so shaken by James Gandolfini's sudden death, it's sadly appropriate that my Emmy focus turns to the category that the "Sopranos" star towered over, a category still dominated by characters and performances that never would have been possible without Tony Soprano.
Like love, the Lead Actor in a Drama category at the Emmys is a battlefield. All six nominees from last year return, including four actors who have been nominated for multiple Emmys for their current roles. So this category should actually be a breeze, right? Everybody repeats, right? You tell that to Kevin Spacey and Matthew Rhys and Jeff Daniels. At least one or two of those guys will surely hear their names announced on July 18. But even that means that entirely worthy candidates like Hugh Dancy and Aden Young don't even an iota of a chance. It's a battlefield.
Check out the full gallery below:
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Outstanding Supporting Actor Comedy - Emmy Nomination Preview 2013

Outstanding Supporting Actor Comedy - Emmy Nomination Preview 2013

'Arrested Development,' '30 Rock' and 'Office' men target 'Modern Family' vets
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy is one of the real challenges when it comes to Emmy prognostication. All six nominees return and if Emmy voters are determined to keep honoring a whopping FOUR "Modern Family" cast members, that leaves even less wiggle room to recognize somebody from the final seasons of "30 Rock" and "The Office" or one of the previously nominated co-stars of "Arrested Development," which was resurrected by Netflix. At least there aren't any entirely new comedies likely to complicate this field.
Check out the full gallery below:
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Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 187

Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 187

Dan and Alan talk 'Mad Men,' 'Veronica Mars,' 'Crossing Lines,' 'Devious Maids' and more


Happy Monday, Boys and Girls!
Time for another installment of The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast.
We kept this one under two hours. You're welcome. Or "Sorry." Whichever one applies.
This week, we have reviews of "Crossing Lines" and "Devious Maids." We also answered a couple pieces of Listener Mail and chatted about "Mad Men" and this week's Summer Rewatch, "Veronica Mars."
Next week's podcast, with "Under the Dome," "Dexter," "Ray Donovan," the "Mad Men" pilot and more, could be another two-plus hour podcast, unless we opt for a little splitting and it becomes a two podcast week next week.
Next week's Pilot Rewatch will be Old School with pilots for "The Dick Van Dyke Show" and "The Mary Tyler Moore Show."
Here's today's breakdown:
"Crossing Lines" (00:00:45 - 00:14:40)
"Devious Maids" (00:14:45 - 00:25:45)
Listener Mail - "Game of Thrones" splitting (00:26:00 - 00:32:45)
Listener Mail - NBC Stanley Cup (00:32:50 - 00:38:10)
"Mad Men" (00:38:35 - 01:13:00)
Summer Rewatch: "Veronica Mars" (01:13:00 - 01:37:05)

And as always, feel free to e-mail us questions for the podcast.

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<p>A scene from Michael Hirst's favorite &quot;Vikings&quot; episode &quot;The Sacrifice&quot;</p>

A scene from Michael Hirst's favorite "Vikings" episode "The Sacrifice"

Credit: History

Interview: 'Vikings' creator Michael Hirst talks Season 1 and beyond

'Tudors' scrib discusses spirituality, sex and strong female roles
History's "Vikings" snuck up on a lot of people this spring.
A cable network without a lot of scripted series pedigree released a show without major stars and the initial reaction was, "It's 'Game of Thrones' without dragons and I like dragons."
It took only a few minutes to realize that "Vikings" was far better than it necessarily needed to be. The Irish-filmed visuals popped. The characters were rough and compelling. And, in addition to a solid performance from established veteran Gabriel Byrne, "Vikings" delivered impressive work from the likes of Travis Fimmel, Jessalyn Gilsig and particularly Katheryn Winnick.
Much of the credit for the success of "Vikings" goes to "Elizabeth" scribe Michael Hirst. Just as he did on Showtime's "The Tudors" and Starz's "Camelot," Hirst wrote every word of the first "Vikings" season. And, as he did on those earlier shows, he filtered well-researched history through a filter of sex and power and betrayal that blends juicy soap opera with Shakespearean tragedy and just a dash of "The Godfather."
"Vikings" ended its first season in April and probably won't return for its second season until 2014, but with Emmy nomination season approaching, I got on the phone with Hirst to talk about the show. 
In our wide-ranging 25-minute conversation, we talked about Hirst's particular staff-free approach to TV writing, the surprising evolution of the show's female characters and the 
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Previewing the 2013 Emmy Nomination previews
Credit: Matt Sayles/AP

Previewing the 2013 Emmy Nomination previews

Our summer series starts with Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Ballots for the 2013 Emmy Awards officially went up on Monday (June 10) evening and, as always, we'll be previewing the major categories between now and the ballot deadline on June 28.
As always, Sepinwall will be writing up his dream ballot with his six ideal nominees.
And, as always, I'll be gallery-izing the leading nomination contenders. In each gallery, the first six slides represent my actual predictions for nominations. The next 5-or-so slides represent the top contenders should any of my six should falter or be proven needlessly optimistic. The rest of the slides are me looking at the Emmy chances for people who are increasing longshots but check certain plausible Emmy boxes: They're from new shows, they're former nominees, they're high profile show additions or they're great actors who had great seasons but probably won't build Emmy momentum. The first half of the galleries are pseudo-scientific (or at least predictive). The second halves are just trying to be informative or contemplative.
And this first gallery -- Supporting Actor in a Drama -- may be the biggest. Promise. I started writing entries without the official ballot and so I forgot lots of people and then had to add to what was already a really full category and it suddenly became huge. I'm gonna aim for 20-to-25 as opposed to 25+ for future galleries.
Check out Supporting Actor in a Drama:
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Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 186

Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 186

Dan and Alan talk 'Game of Thrones' 'Mad Men,' 'Twisted,' 'True Blood' and more


Happy Monday, Boys & Girls! It's time for another lengthy installment of the Firewall & Iceberg Podcast.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't Sepinwall say this week's podcast was gonna be LIGHT? He was incorrect. VERY. This week's podcast makes last week's podcast look brief.
We've got reviews of new shows -- "King & Maxwell," "Twisted" -- and talk of returning shows" -- "Magic City" -- and a lengthy "Game of Thrones" finale discussion and lots to say about this week's "Mad Men" and then a long discussion of the pilots for "Cheers" and "Taxi." Because we promised we'd get to mail this week, we answered one piece of mail. And then, because the news broke this morning, we talked about the TCA Awards nominations.
Note: You'll hear there's the start of a Dan Rants segment on "True Blood." Alan didn't watch new episodes. I watched three. They're awful. Unfortunately, a long chunk-of-rant got lost and... I just wasn't feeling up to remembering what that rant had or hadn't included and backtracking and repeating the whole thing. Perhaps I'll write a review on Friday. Otherwise, just assume that what I said that that we lost boiled down to: If you hoped the show might get better, it has not.
And as we say in the podcast... Next week's Summer Rewatch Pilot? "Veronica Mars."
Here's today's lengthy breakdown:
TCA Awards Nominations (00:01:00 - 00:16:55)
"King & Maxwell" (00:17:00 - 00:23:35)
"Twisted" (00:23:40 - 00:32:20)
"Magic City" (00:32:20 - 00:40:20)
"True Blood" (00:40:20 - 00:43:55)
Listener Mail: Branding (00:43:55 - 00:48:50)
"Game of Thrones" finale (00:49:10 - 01:23:30)
"Mad Men" (01:23:35 - 01:52:00)
Summer Rewatch: "Taxi"/"Cheers" (01:52:00 - 02:26:30)

And as always, feel free to e-mail us questions for the podcast.

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<p>The Broadway cast of &quot;Kinky Boots&quot;</p>

The Broadway cast of "Kinky Boots"

Credit: AP Photo/The O+M Company, Matthew Murphy

2013 Tony Awards Live-Blog

Neil Patrick Harris celebrates theater you haven't seen
Greets, salutations and welcome to theater's big night! Or... theatre's big night. I spell it that way, because I've actually been to London more times than New York in the past year and seen more West End theatre than Broadway theater. The only Broadway show I caught this year, in fact, was "The Heiress," which was supposed to be a big Tonys contender, but... wasn't.
So I don't have a clue what deserves to win at Sunday (June 9) night's Tony Awards. 
You can think of this live-blog, then, as a chance to chatter along below, but if you aren't watching the show live, it'll let you know when you want to skip around to catch highlights like the reported duet between Neil Patrick Harris and Andrew Rannells, or when the cast of "Bombshell" is going to perform.
It's a public service or something for those of you who are watching the "Game of Thrones" finale or a new episode of "Mad Men"...

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<p>NBC's &quot;Dracula&quot; starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers</p>

NBC's "Dracula" starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers


Credit: NBC

DVR Gridlock 2013-14: Friday Nights

Increasingly busy night adds 'Bones,' 'Dracula' and 'Hawaii Five-0'
[Over the next six days, I'm going to be glancing, night-by-night, at how the primetime schedules have changed after the network announcements at upfronts. I'll be looking at how the various changes will impact the ratings races on each night, as well as my own DVRing habits. Readers can chime in on how their own DVRs will be impacted. And yes, this brief series assumes that anybody still watches TV on their TVs. I'm old-fashioned. Check out last year's DVR Gridlock installments.]
8:00 p.m.
ABC: "Last Man Standing," "The Neighbors"
CBS: "Undercover Boss"
FOX: "Junior Masterchef," "Bones"
NBC: "Dateline"
9:00 p.m. 
ABC: "Shark Tank"
The CW: "America's Next Top Model"
FOX: "Sleepy Hollow" encores and "Raising Hope," "Enlisted"
NBC: "Grimm"
10:00 p.m. 
ABC: "20/20"
CBS: "Blue Bloods"
NBC: "Dracula"
What's Changed: Credit the networks for trying to do new things on Friday night and for continuing to try to buck the conventional wisdom that Friday airings mean death. "Grimm" will be starting its third season on Fridays. "Last Man Standing" will be in its second Friday season. And that's saying nothing of established successes like "Blue Bloods" on CBS and ABC's "Shark Tank." Friday Night Lives! And this fall, FOX will bring still-fairly-robust success "Bones" to Friday, while CBS is doing the same with the slightly-less-robust "Hawaii Five-0." And then you have a few flashy new shows. NBC will try semi-literary, star-driven drama in the 10 p.m. hour with "Dracula" and then "Crossbones." [Did this work last time NBC tried it with a little show called "Crusoe"? Well, no. But you've forgotten "Crusoe" even existed and I apologize for the reminder.] FOX, meanwhile, is planning an isolated comedy block starting mid-fall, if you assume that "Raising Hope" and "Enlisted" will ever actually air on Fridays. And then there's The CW's "Carrie Diaries," which failed on Mondays, so surely it'll succeed on Friday, right? There's a lot of stuff happening on Friday.
How the Ratings Race Is Impacted: CBS is still likely to dominate Friday overall, but you've gotta credit the network with trying to narrow the gap. "Hawaii Five-0," which only remains on the air due to its international viability, won't come close to equalling the 9-ish million viewers "CSI: NY" was drawing here, though it may keep up with "CSI: NY" in the key demographic. Assuming that "Shark Tank" has another solid summer of repeat sampling, it may be strong enough to help ABC win the night among adults 18-49 all on its own. There are several plausible x-factors. FOX has teased a "Bones" move to Friday several times in the past. Is this just another bluff? If "Sleepy Hollow" fails fast and hard, for example, why wouldn't FOX just keep "Bones" on Monday and shift "Almost Human" to 9 p.m.? Similarly, if "Dads" fails fast and hard, why wouldn't FOX shift established cult favorite "Raising Hope" to a Tuesday 8 p.m. slot it has occupied in the past? And if that happens, what would becoming of that Friday comedy block? I'm not sure both of those failures/shifts are likely, but one of them? I'd almost guarantee it. If "Bones" somehow remains on Fridays, though, it could/should give FOX its best numbers on the night in several years and could make the network competitive in the key demo. Similarly, what if somehow "Dracula" capitalizes on its brand name and maybe star Jonathan Rhys Meyers? Maybe that's enough to combine with the already-respectable "Grimm" to help NBC take the key demo. It'll also be worth watching to see how low numbers for "Carrie Diaries" are and if The CW suddenly finds itself thinking a six-episode final season for "Nikita" isn't quite long enough. It's actually surprising how many strange things could be afoot on Fridays this fall.             
My Predicted DVR: During the spring with "Nikita" and "Happy Endings" and "Vegas" and something I'm forgetting -- I don't want to admit how many episodes of "Cult" I watched -- my DVR was recording steadily on Friday nights. That could continue to be the case this year. I'll stick with "Carrie Diaries" and "Bones" at 8 p.m. and "Raising Hope" (and occasionally "Shark Tank") in the 9 p.m. hour. And I'll definitely give "Dracula" an extended shot in the otherwise-vacant 10 p.m. hour. That's a lot of Friday TV viewing and doesn't include the occasional Starz drama or whatnot.
How have the new schedules impacted your Fridays?


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<p>&quot;The Crazy Ones&quot;</p>

"The Crazy Ones"

Credit: CBS

DVR Gridlock 2013-14: Thursday Nights

Robin Williams, Michael J. Fox and Mary Queen of Scots spice up the night
[Over the next six days, I'm going to be glancing, night-by-night, at how the primetime schedules have changed after the network announcements at upfronts. I'll be looking at how the various changes will impact the ratings races on each night, as well as my own DVRing habits. Readers can chime in on how their own DVRs will be impacted. And yes, this brief series assumes that anybody still watches TV on their TVs. I'm old-fashioned. Check out last year's DVR Gridlock installments.]
8:00 p.m. 
CBS: "The Big Bang Theory," "The Millers"
The CW: "The Vampire Diaries"
FOX: "The X Factor" (and then "Idol")
NBC: "Parks and Recreation," "Welcome to the Family"
9:00 p.m. 
ABC: "Grey's Anatomy"
CBS: "The Crazy Ones," "Two and a Half Men"
The CW: "Reign"
FOX: "Glee," with "Rake" in the spring
NBC: "Sean Saves the World," "The Michael J. Fox Show"
10:00 p.m.
ABC: "Scandal"
CBS: "Elementary"
NBC: "Parenthood"
What's Changed: TV's most valuable night remains the night most likely to traumatize your hypothetical DVR. Unless you have a four-tuner DVR. In that case, if *any* night taxes your DVR, you probably watch too much TV. And yes, that's ME saying that. FOX is the only network keeping things the same on Thursdays, at least in the fall, with "X Factor" results that nobody watches leading into "Glee." "American Idol" results will return in the spring, leading into "Rake," at least for a while. ABC is 2/3rds stable with the resilient "Grey's Anatomy" leading into last season's surprise breakout "Scandal." The CW has given the post-"Vampire Diaries" slot to "Reign," which doesn't make much sense, but hey, they have to try something and you definitely can't say that they've ever failed with this kind of show before. While CBS is returning "The Big Bang Theory" and "Two and a Half Men" and "Elementary," the network is banking heavily on Robin Williams in "The Crazy Ones" and, to a lesser degree, Will Arnett in "The Millers." And, finally, NBC doesn't have a single show returning to the same slot as it was in last year, with "Parks and Rec" taking a different Thursday home, "Parenthood" coming over from Tuesdays and then a trio of variably high-profile new comedies, including the returns of past NBC favorites Sean Hayes and Michael J. Fox. So yeah. That's a lot of changes.
How the Ratings Race Is Impacted: CBS is taking the biggest risk. No question about that. This is a night that CBS wins and there's no reason to think that "Big Bang Theory" isn't going to continue to dominate its time period and rank as TV's most watched comedy. However, CBS has taken a night with no big weaknesses and created the potential for a gaping hole in the middle. If "The Millers" fails, will that impact "Crazy Ones"? And if CBS' big bet on Robin Williams fails, will that weaken "Two and a Half Men"? And given that "Two and a Half Men" is very likely to provide a weaker lead-in than "Person of Interest" did, what impact will that have on "Elementary"? Don't get me wrong. I know why CBS is doing this. The network needs to recharge its comedy lineup with "How I Met Your Mother" departing and "Two and a Half Men" on borrowed time. Setting up a new Thursday block gives CBS more seeding opportunities and it also let the network put an established hit in its only struggling Tuesday hour. You can try stuff like this if you're the No. 1 network. And if you're NBC... You keep throwing things against the wall, but with what hope of stickage? Unlike a lot of observers, I like the idea of putting "Michael J. Fox" at 9:30 because if it works, it gives a boost to "Parenthood," while "Parenthood" seems fairly likely to do better than most of what NBC has fiddled with in this slot for years. I don't see much upside to "Sean Saves the World," though, while as much as I love "Parks and Rec," I don't see it as being a fruitful lead-in for "Welcome to the Family." But if NBC can build the back half of the night, that's big. ABC's decision to air "Once Upon a Time in Wonderland" in the long-crippled 8 p.m. hour seems faulty. In that slot, the show gets zero benefit from its "Once Upon a Time" roots and goes against some of the toughest competition in TV. Programming "Wonderland" here shows a lot of faith on ABC's part, but why? The network hasn't even seen a full pilot. Dunno. I'm also baffled by the "Reign" thing. It doesn't seem to make much sense. Of course, I haven't watched "Reign." And as for "Rake," if FOX still believes "Idol" can function as an effective launch pad, this was a necessity, because FOX has no remaining dramas capable of serving as a viable lead-in, unless you count "Bones," which FOX apparently doesn't with the shift to Fridays.
My Predicted DVR: Yeah, Thursdays are impossible and it becomes an issue of relative convenience in off-network viewership. For example, because it's a breeze to watch NBC shows on Hulu, my 8 p.m. DVR will be "Vampire Diaries" and the CBS comedies, with "Wonderland" also getting a few weeks of Hulu viewing to prove itself. So that's impossible. But the 9 p.m. hour? No clue. Maybe "The Crazy Ones," "The Michael J. Fox Show" and "Grey's Anatomy"? Unless I somehow love "Reign"? And in the 10 p.m. hour, I'll be recording "Scandal" and "Elementary" and watching "Parenthood" on Hulu, probably. I guess.
How have the new schedules impacted your Thursdays?


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