THE Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. stuck mostly with small-budget artsy films for its movie nominations on Tuesday, but when it came to the small screen, the television season's most popular shows came out on top.
ABC, in the midst of a strong comeback year, landed 16 nominations, dominating the dramatic series categories with powerhouses "Lost" and "Grey's Anatomy" and the rookie "Commander in Chief." "Desperate Housewives," which won the Golden Globe for best comedy last year, again racked up more nominations than any other TV program, with a nomination for best comedy and nods for the ladies of Wisteria Lane -- all four of them this time.
"Everybody keeps saying finally, but it's only my second year," an elated Eva Longoria said of her first nomination. "It's not like I've been waiting 20 years. It's hard to believe because I didn't expect to be nominated in the comedy category, which used to hold the Sarah Jessica Parkers and Patricia Heatons. To be in the company of all of my castmates is such an honor and makes it a more joyous occasion."
Overall, HBO led the pack with 17 Globe nominations, including two each for "Curb Your Enthusiasm," "Entourage" and "Rome," and nine for three of its miniseries, "Empire Falls," "Warm Springs," and "Lackawanna Blues."
NBC may be lagging in the Nielsen ratings, but its comedies and a nomination for Patricia Arquette of "Medium" earned it third place in the tally of the Globe nominations. The first-year "My Name Is Earl" was nominated for best comedy as was its star, Jason Lee. Also nominated for best actor in a comedy were Zach Braff of "Scrubs" and Steve Carell of "The Office."
In the best comedy actress category, Longoria is in the company of Mary-Louise Parker, who was nominated for her version of a desperate housewife -- in this case, a pot-selling one -- on Showtime's "Weeds." The show and her costar, Elizabeth Perkins, were nominated for best comedy and best supporting actress, and the premium cable network also received a best miniseries nomination for "Sleeper Cell."
The Golden Globes will air on NBC on Jan. 16, a Monday night instead of the traditional Sunday, in the hopes of attracting a larger audience. Last year's telecast averaged 17 million viewers, proving no match for ABC juggernauts "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" and "Desperate Housewives." That, coupled with football, prompted NBC and executive producer Barry Adelman to move the show this year. Adelman said Tuesday that he doesn't think that the HFPA's neglect of commercial films will affect ratings.
"Definitely, there is a trend for smaller films, but these are very, very gifted actors and directors, and I'm excited about the showcase of these films," said Adelman, who has produced the show since 1995. "The Hollywood Foreign Press is always on the cutting edge of the television nominations. They've always been the first to recognize TV shows like 'The X-Files' and going back even before that."
Indeed, of the 21 television series that were recognized, four are new, including Fox's thriller "Prison Break" and "Everybody Hates Chris," which handed UPN its first Golden Globe nomination.
"Even with everything that's happening technologically and the way everybody is looking in a forward way about how content can be distributed, the bottom line is quality content," UPN president Dawn Ostroff said.
Loosely based on comedian Chris Rock's life growing up in Brooklyn, "Everybody Hates Chris" is UPN's top-rated comedy, but is still at the bottom of the broadcast network ratings heap. Co-creator Ali LeRoi, who was subdued and working early Tuesday morning -- he had not even spoken to Rock -- said he hopes the nomination gets more people to tune in.
"We're a deserted island out here, and they found the island," LeRoi said. "They don't know there are people on the island yet. We got picked up off the floor and saved by Dawn Ostroff, and I give her a lot of credit for taking what could have been a costly mistake and running with it."
"Prison Break" breakout star Wentworth Miller was nominated for best actor along with Matthew Fox of "Lost," Kiefer Sutherland of "24," Hugh Laurie of "House" and Dr. McDreamy himself, Patrick Dempsey of "Grey's Anatomy."
"This is like winning the lottery," Miller said. "We've only aired 13 episodes. You never know how a show is going to do or what America is going to be in the mood to watch. All of my castmates called this morning and I took the time to thank all of them because they are the ones that make me look halfway decent. I'm totally in their debt."
Greg Garcia, creator of "My Name Is Earl," was feeling a little indebted to Carson Daly on Tuesday. Garcia's single-camera comedy about a petty criminal who learns about karma from Carson Daly on television is NBC's only breakout hit this season.
"Carson Daly is the key to the universe -- he holds all the secrets," Garcia said. "You know, if the show is on NBC, shouldn't they be able to fix it so we win? Shouldn't they be able to dub the voice or cut away or something? That's what I would do if I ran the network."