- - Thursday, December 15, 2011

Globes swoon over cable, snub networks

The Golden Globes admire broadcast network comedies but the respect is absent when it comes to drama.

FX’s “American Horror Story,” Showtime’s “Homeland” and three other cable entries hogged the best drama series nominations announced Thursday, with broadcast shut out.

The other nominees in the category for next month’s awards are HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire” and “Game of Thrones” and Starz’ “Boss.”

When “Boardwalk Empire” claimed the Golden Globe last season for best drama series, one network entry did have a shot, CBS’ “The Good Wife.” But it failed to make the cut this time and with its exclusion went any broadcast recognition.

Broadcasters have long complained that the unfettered world of cable allows room for shows that can be edgier and more adult — meaning iterations that are sexier, more violent and sometimes just plain freaky — than programs carried on the public airwaves and subject to regulation. In other words, cable channels bring guns to what traditionally was a knife fight.

The Globes aren’t alone in putting cable dramas on a pedestal: This year’s Emmy nominations made “The Good Wife” the sole broadcast nominee. That networks end up airing awards ceremonies that honor and give free promotion to their cable competitors is another source of broadcaster discontent.

It’s tough to join in their pity party when, too often, they throw in the towel with formulaic crime dramas and don’t even attempt creativity within network boundaries. Ultimately, of course, they can claim to be winners, pulling in bigger audiences and revenue than niche cable.

Networks fared better in the comedy or musical series category, with nods going to last year’s winner, Fox’s “Glee,” along with newcomer “New Girl,” also on Fox, and ABC’s “Modern Family.” For “Glee,” the nomination could be a salve for a ratings drop-off in season three.

Cable series with nominations include HBO’s “Enlightened” and Showtime’s “Episodes.”

Spelling chronicles downsize on HGTV

Granted, it’s a problem that maybe 1 percent of Americans could ever face: a 30-day deadline to move out of a 56,500-square-foot home after two decades of filling it with “stuff,” as owner Candy Spelling puts it.

The widow of TV producer Aaron Spelling (“Dynasty,” “Charlie’s Angels” and scads more shows) takes on the task with such can-do spirit that it’s easy to admire her, if not quite sympathize with her.

The process, involving 30 moving vans and meticulous planning by the uber-organized Mrs. Spelling, is detailed in HGTV’s two-part “Selling Spelling Manor,” which debuts 9 p.m. Thursday. The second episode airs 4 p.m. Jan. 2.

“I took my attachment and separated myself from it,” Mrs. Spelling said. “I couldn’t get emotional about everything I was packing.”

Mrs. Spelling, whose husband died in 2006, sold the French-style house on 4.7 acres in the city’s exclusive Holmby Hills section for $85 million in July. The buyer was British heiress Petra Ecclestone, 22, daughter of sports entrepreneur Bernie Ecclestone.

The one-month escrow was part of the deal and not a TV stunt, said Spelling and the special’s executive producer, Stuart Krasner.

As Mrs. Spelling, her staff and movers scurry to pack up Spelling Manor (as the family dubbed the estate), viewers get a peek at some of its five kitchens and 27 bathrooms, as well as its bowling alley, arcade, silver storage and gift-wrap “specialty areas.”

“She’s Martha Stewart up there,” Mr. Krasner said of the space in which Mrs. Spelling would wrap close to 1,000 presents a year. “It’s her way of saying I didn’t assign this to somebody. The generosity was important to me to show.”

Besides the furniture and artwork occupying Southern California’s largest house, Mrs. Spelling also had to evaluate her varied collections for donation, sale or storage.

“Only when I started moving did I start to think I have tendencies to be a hoarder,” Mrs. Spelling said good-naturedly. “I’m an archivist. That makes it sound a little better, doesn’t it?”

Stern named judge of NBC’s ‘America’s Got Talent’

Howard Stern will be joining the judges’ panel on “America’s Got Talent,” and the NBC summer talent show will uproot itself from Los Angeles to accommodate the New York-based shock jock, the network said Thursday.

NBC confirmed weeks-old rumors of Mr. Stern’s selection to join fellow “Talent” judges Howie Mandel and Sharon Osbourne. Nick Cannon remains host.

Mr. Stern, whose daily radio show airs on Sirius XM, is replacing Piers Morgan, who departed “Talent” after last season to free up his busy schedule. Last winter, Mr. Morgan launched a weeknight interview program on CNN.

“Howard Stern’s larger-than-life personality will bring a thrilling new dynamic to ‘America’s Got Talent’ starting this summer,” said Paul Telegdy, NBC’s president of alternative and late night programming. “He’s a proven innovator and his track record in broadcasting is truly remarkable.”

The show bills itself as TV’s only talent competition show that is open to any age and any talent. Auditions for the seventh season began in October in major cities around the country. But now, with Mr. Stern aboard, production of the live broadcast of the show will relocate to New York.

Mr. Stern, who in 2005 took his long-running syndicated show from terrestrial radio to Sirius XM, signed a new five-year contract with the satellite-radio company a year ago after months of stormy negotiations.

‘M*A*S*H’ eatery exec charged with theft

The grandson of the founder of an Ohio hot dog diner made famous on TV’s “M*A*S*H” has been charged with stealing from the family business.

A grand jury Wednesday indicted executive vice president Tony Packo III and another company official. They’re accused of stealing more than $100,000 from the business that’s based in Toledo.

Multiple media outlets report the charges stem from a yearlong family battle over control of Tony Packo’s.

A private restaurant group backed by Tony Packo Jr. and his son in October won the bidding for the restaurant chain, whose hot dog sauce is sold nationwide.

The dispute grew after a relative of the Packos began questioning them about company spending.

A message seeking comment was left at the home of Tony Packo III on Wednesday.

Cowell biography set for spring release

A biography of former “American Idol” judge Simon Cowell is coming soon.

Ballantine Books announced Thursday it will publish Tom Bower’s “Sweet Revenge: The Intimate Life of Simon Cowell” in the spring. According to Ballantine, an imprint of Random House Inc., Mr. Bower has had “hundreds of hours” of access to Mr. Cowell. The book will also include “direct contributions” from Mr. Cowell’s friends and foes.

The acerbic Brit was a judge on Fox’s “American Idol” for nine seasons. He left “Idol” to launch his British-born hit series “The X Factor” in the U.S. It debuted on Fox this fall.

Mr. Bower has written 19 books, including biographies of former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and media mogul Conrad Black.

Compiled from Web and wire service reports.

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