- - Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Emmy Awards competition will be getting fiercer among TV movie and miniseries performers.

The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences said last week that it will merge the leading and supporting acting categories for long-form programming.

Starting with the 2013 awards, new categories for outstanding actor in a miniseries or TV movie and outstanding actress in a miniseries or movie will each include six nominees, equal to other performing categories.

Previously, the four movie and miniseries acting categories included five nominees each.

The TV academy already chipped away at the long-form categories last year, combining the outstanding TV movie and miniseries nominees into one field.

At the 2011 Emmys, Kate Winslet of HBO’s “Mildred Pierce” and Barry Pepper of ReelzChannel’s “The Kennedys” took lead miniseries or movie acting honors, while supporting awards went to Maggie Smith for PBS’ “Downton Abbey” and Guy Pearce for “Mildred Pierce.”

The academy’s decision didn’t sit well with at least one channel. Lifetime called it “disappointing,” especially in the wake of the consolidation of the movies and miniseries categories, and said award-worthy projects and performances will be slighted.

“Movies and miniseries represent some of television’s finest programming and it is our firm belief the industry should honor each category separately,” said Lifetime programming executive Rob Sharenow in a statement.

The change announced Thursday coincided with an indication of how robust the competition will be for this year’s miniseries and movie Emmys, which will be the last to recognize lead and supporting actors separately.

History channel’s “Hatfields & McCoys,” which broke basic cable ratings records this week, included critically acclaimed performances by leads Kevin Costner and Bill Paxton, as well as by cast members such as Tom Berenger, who likely will compete for supporting actor honors.

‘Jersey Shore’ cast ready to tape season six

They’re back.

The cast members of MTV’s reality series “Jersey Shore” moved into their summer rental in Seaside Heights last week to begin taping the show’s sixth season.

Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino was first to arrive as he unloaded his Jeep with a “GTL” license plate that reflects the cast’s “gym, tan, laundry” lifestyle.

He was followed by Deena Nicole Cortese, Vinny Guadagnino, Paul “Pauly D” DelVecchio, Samantha Giancola and Ronnie Ortiz-Magro. By 5:30 p.m., Jenni “JWoww” Farley and Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi were in the house.

Miss Polizzi, who is pregnant, has said she’ll live nearby during the season to avoid the alcohol and hot tub.

Seaside Administrator John Camera told the Asbury Park Press that the town is happy to have them back because the show boosts revenue.

‘Sister Wives’ family won’t face prosecution

Criminal charges will not be pursued against a polygamous family made famous by the TLC reality show “Sister Wives,” a Utah prosecutor wrote Thursday in federal court filings.

The case against Kody Brown and his four wives — Meri, Janelle, Christine and Robyn — has been closed, Utah County Attorney Jeff Buhman wrote in a motion seeking to have a lawsuit against his county dismissed.

According to the Associated Press, Mr. Brown moved his wives and 16 children from Lehi, about 30 miles south of Salt Lake City, to the Las Vegas area in January 2011 after Utah authorities launched a bigamy investigation.

The Browns then sued Utah County along with Utah’s governor and attorney general, claiming the state’s bigamy statute violates their constitutional rights to due process, equal protection, free exercise of religion, free speech and freedom of association.

A federal judge later dropped the state from the case but allowed it to continue against the county.

U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups said he dismissed Gov. Gary R. Herbert and Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff because Mr. Shurtleff had assured the Browns they wouldn’t be prosecuted under his policy that consenting adult polygamists won’t be charged as long as they’re not committing other crimes.

Judge Waddoups noted, however, that the Browns had reason to believe they could still face prosecution in Utah County, and agreed it could have a chilling effect on their ability to practice their constitutional rights in the state.

Mr. Buhman wrote in his Thursday motion that his county, too, had adopted the same state policy and would not pursue bigamy cases unless there was evidence of a victim or fraud.

“The criminal case against the Browns is closed and no charges will be filed against them for bigamy unless new evidence is discovered which would comport with the office’s new policy,” Mr. Buhman wrote.

The Browns’ attorney, Jonathan Turley, said he was pleased charges wouldn’t be filed, but noted the family didn’t plan to drop the lawsuit, claiming state law remained “blatantly unconstitutional.”

“I want to express our great relief for the Brown family that this long-standing threat has been finally lifted,” Turley said in a statement. “The family has spent years being publicly denounced as felons by prosecutors and had to move to Nevada to protect their family and children.”

Jessica Chastain, Nick Jonas among stars presenting Tonys

Jessica Chastain, Nick Jonas, Amanda Seyfried and Jim Parsons are some of the young stars tapped to help host Neil Patrick Harris hand out Tony Awards.

Organizers of the award show Friday unveiled a list of presenters that also includes Paul Rudd, Ellen Barkin, Angela Lansbury, Bernadette Peters, Candice Bergen, Christopher Plummer, James Marsden, Mandy Patinkin, Sheryl Crow, and “The Book of Mormon” creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone.

The Tonys will air live on CBS from the Beacon Theatre in New York City on Sunday.

Miss Chastain, who earned an Oscar nomination for her role in “The Help,” will be making her Broadway debut this fall in “The Heiress,” a play based on the Henry James novel “Washington Square.”

Compiled from Web and wire reports

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