ROBERT SIEGEL, host:
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
MADELEINE BRAND, host:
And I'm Madeleine Brand.
Emmy nominations came out today. There's a new rule that expands the number of nominees in some key categories and so there have been hopes the list would reach beyond the usual suspects. No such luck.
Commentator Andrew Wallenstein of the Hollywood Reporter says this year's slate is just more of the same.
Mr. ANDREW WALLENSTEIN: (Commentator, Hollywood Reporter): The more, the merrier, or so the saying goes, but I'm not so sure that will hold true for this year's Emmys. I was hoping for more diversity, but who ended up with first-time nominees in four different categories? HBO, which led the network as it always does, with 99 total nominations. And for what? In Outstanding Drama Series, the Mormon family drama "Big Love" got its first recognition.
(Soundbite of TV series, "Big Love")
Unidentified Woman #1: I'm sorry if my fertility has made you feel bad about yourself. I mean, you shouldn't have to feel like you had to keep up with me. Like you're less of a woman.
Unidentified Woman #2: I don't feel that way.
Mr. WALLENSTEIN: It's a show that probably peaked in its first season and doesn't hold a candle to true HBO classics like "The Sopranos." In comedy, it gets worse - the quirky, but forgettable "Flight of the Conchords" poked its head in.
(Soundbite of song, "Ladies of the World")
Mr. JEMAINE CLEMENT (Performer): (Singing) Oh, oh, it's got to be sweet 16s, not M-16s. When will the governments realize it's got to be funky sexy ladies?
Mr. WALLENSTEIN: One of its stars, Jermaine Clement, managed to squeak into the lead actor category as well. The way the expended Emmy nominations were supposed to work was to bring in more of the deserving nominees. And there certainly were some welcome additions. My own favorite sitcom, CBS' "How I Met Your Mother," snuck into the comedy category. The timing was perfect here, and not just because the show's star, Neil Patrick Harris, is set to host this year's Emmys. This past season, its fourth, felt like the show was really hitting its prime.
But the Emmys' bid for diversity felt off the mark in other ways. Perhaps the biggest surprise among the nominations was the inclusion of the animated series "Family Guy" in the comedy category.
(Soundbite of TV show, "Family Guy")
Ms. ALEX BORSTEIN (Actor): (as Lois Griffin) What are you talking about?! You ripped a whole chunk of wall out of the house.
Mr. SETH MACFARLANE (Actor): (as Stewie Griffin) What is this? There's something wrong with the house. I don't like change.
Mr. WALLENSTEIN: And while I feel like "Family Guy" has been long overlooked, it's the long part that sticks in my craw. This nomination feels about five years late. I was hoping adding sixth slots would somehow shake some of the, shall we say, over-recognized nominees out. And yet they were all still there this morning: Three-time winner, Tony Shalhoub is back for the vastly overrated series "Monk," six-time winner "Amazing Race" returns in the reality competition category and five of the six nominees for best outstanding drama actress are returning from last year. That's why I'll predict here and now that that category's newcomer, Elizabeth Moss from "Mad Men," will walk away with the trophy. A few nice surprises like that come awards time in September, and all this nomination nitpicking will be for naught.
BRAND: Commentator Andrew Wallenstein. He's an editor at the Hollywood Reporter.
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