While cable had plenty to celebrate Sun night at the Golden Globes, the one area it came up short was in best comedy. HBO had 2 series in the running—“Girls” and “Silicon Valley”—but the win went to Amazon ’s “Transparent,” which is about a family who learns the father ( Jeffrey Tambor, who won the comedy actor Globe for his role) is transgendered. While cable has become synonymous with drama, it has struggled to get credit in the comedy space, with its lone Outstanding Comedy Series Primetime Emmy coming in 2001 for HBO’s “Sex in the City.” “I think comedy in general in television has been just a little bit challenged. Not challenged. I think people are making great shows of all kinds… ‘Transparent’ is a legit great show, but I don’t think comedy has been breaking ground in the same way hour drama has been breaking ground. I feel like there’s an opportunity there,” said Showtime Nets pres David Nevins at a TCA exec session Mon. Nevins said he’s found it frustrating, adding that’s why he’s excited about upcoming “Happyish,” a dark comedy about the pursuit of happiness (premieres Apr 26). “It’s got a lot of heart and a lot of emotion and big funny. So to me, it feels like a potential next way to do a cable comedy that’s absorbing but it’s not too cool…” he said. “But it’s been frustrating that I haven’t launched more comedies. It’s been an area of focus.”
Broadcast has dominated the genre at awards shows, but there are also signs that could be changing. Only 1 broadcast show was nominated for the Globes’ Outstanding Comedy or Musical series this year, and it wasn’t from the Big 4. Not only did CW ’s “Jane the Virgin” get the nod, but lead Gina Rodriguez took the actress win Sun, beating out Edie Falco ( Showtime ’s “Nurse Jackie”), Julia Louis-Dreyfus (HBO’s “Veep”), Lena Dunham (HBO’s Girls) and Taylor Schilling ( Netflix ’s “Orange is the New Black”) for the outstanding actress win. In last year’s Emmys, broadcast accounted for just 2 of the 6 comedy series, raising hopes that cable might walk away with the statue. It didn’t, with ABC ’s “Modern Family” scoring its 5th win. But could the love affair with the sitcom be ending? After 2 consecutive years of being nominated for the Golden Globes, both it and Emmy fave “The Big Bang Theory” were missing. Should be interesting to see the comedy contenders when the primetime Emmy nominees are announced in June. Could cable’s edginess hurt it vs broadcast? Nevins doesn’t think that’s a concern: “The license to be edgy shouldn’t mean that we have to be niche or narrow… It’s more a failure to hit it exactly right than anything inherent in the genre.”
— While award show darling HBO had the most nominations among TV nets at 15, it walked away with just 1 win Sun for Matt Bomer’s supporting role in “The Normal Heart.” Showtime’s freshman series “The Affair” won Outstanding Drama, with its Ruth Wilson taking the best actress-drama win ( Kevin Spacey took the drama actor win for Netflix’ s “House of Cards”). HBO had 3 of the 5 nominations for Best Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for TV, but it was FX ’s “Fargo” that won, and Maggie Gyllenhaal surprised with the actress win in the category for Sundance TV ’s “The Honorable Woman” ( Billy Bob Thornton received the best actor win for Fargo).