Emmys: Reality, Cable Take Center Stage The red carpet is out in Hollywood for tonight's Emmy Awards. Five reality-show hosts will emcee, while AMC's cable hit Mad Men is up for 16 awards. NPR's entertainment blogger, Linda Holmes of "Monkey See," explains this seismic shift.
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Emmys: Reality, Cable Take Center Stage

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Emmys: Reality, Cable Take Center Stage

Emmys: Reality, Cable Take Center Stage

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LIANE HANSEN, host:

This is Weekend Edition from NPR News. I'm Liane Hansen. The red carpet is rolled out in Hollywood for tonight's 60th annual Emmy Award ceremony. This TV season was interrupted by a writers' strike. That meant we saw more reality shows, and cable programs attracted a bigger audience as well as critical acclaim. Linda Holmes writes the "Monkey See" entertainment blog on npr.org. She's been posting her thoughts about the Emmy's all week, and she's in the studio. It's nice to meet you.

LINDA HOLMES: Thank you.

HANSEN: AMC's "Mad Men" has been a huge hit with the critics, and there are more nominations overall this year for channels like AMC and TNT. Is cable TV moving in a new direction?

HOLMES: I don't know if it's moving in a new direction, but it's certainly accelerating the direction in which it's been moving; which is a greater share of audiences as well as critical acclaim. "Mad Men" hasn't made as much of a dent audience wise, but certainly critically it has.

HANSEN: And then we're seeing original series created by cable networks and high-profile actors and actresses. I mean, Kyra Sedgwick on TNT as well as Holly Hunter.

HOLMES: Absolutely, it seems to be a particularly strong trend for actresses, not only the two that you mentioned, but also Glenn Close who's on "Damages," which has also has been nominated quite a bit this year, so.

HANSEN: One actress and writer who's been all over the place this past week, over the news and the Web, because she does a wonderful send-up of Sarah Palin on Saturday Night Live, Tina Fey. And she's nominated for best actress in a comedy for her role in her own show, "30 Rock." What are her chances? And who do you think is likely to win this category?

HOLMES: I think she's a good pick to win. I think she's very well-liked right now. She's at the center of a show that's very well-liked right now. I think she's on a bit of a roll, but there's a lot of firepower in that category. Christina Applegate is nominated in that category, who is terrific in "Samantha Who," which is one of my favorite new shows of last season. Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Mary-Louise Parker on "Weeds." There are some really strong actresses in that category.

HANSEN: "30 Rock," "Mad Men," favorites this year. Interesting underdogs, as well. "The Wire" had its final season this year, and critics have called it the best television show in history. So why hasn't it won an Emmy?

HOLMES: That's a very good question. I don't think anything that the academy's done in probably the last 20 years has damaged its credibility as much as the failure to recognize "The Wire." I think it has a good claim to being the finest show in the history of television, quite possibly, and pretty much has been skunked. It's got one shot. It's got a writing nomination for its series finale where it's up against, interestingly enough, "Battlestar Galactica," which also got locked out, much to the dismay of its fans, as well as a couple of episodes of "Mad Men," interestingly enough.

HANSEN: Linda Holmes writes about TV, the movies, and the Web for NPR's new pop culture blog, "Monkey See." You can find it on our Web site, npr.org.

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