The Golden Globes stated that the best TV this year is on cable.
Broadcast networks scored only 20 of the 60 television nominations announced Thursday. Most of them went to ABC's "Grey's Anatomy," Fox's "House" and NBC's "30 Rock" (all represented by awards last year) and ABC's freshman series "Pushing Daisies."
But cable was golden in the eyes of Globes judges, starting with FX's new "Damages." This critically praised legal drama, which barely escaped cancellation due to low ratings, landed four nominations: best drama series, lead actress (Glenn Close), supporting actress (Rose Byrne) and supporting actor (Ted Danson). Such goodwill was rousing validation of FX's decision to renew the series for two more seasons.
Best actress nominee Edie Falco got the sole nod directed toward HBO's "The Sopranos" for its much-ballyhooed final season. Showtime scored with two new series: "Californication," nominated for best comedy and best lead actor (David Duchovny), and "The Tudors," for both best drama and its star, Jonathan Rhys Meyers.
Christina Applegate, whose new ABC comedy "Samantha Who?" became one of the fall season's pleasant surprises, got a surprise of her own with a best actress nomination.
ABC led the broadcast networks with 11 nominations, though its past Globes darlings "Desperate Housewives" and "Lost" were ignored. CBS almost got totally shut out - its lone nomination was for Sissy Spacek's starring performance in the film "Pictures of Hollis Woods."
HBO typically looms large when nominations are announced, and this year is no different: It topped all networks with 18, including best drama series for "Big Love" and best comedy for "Entourage." Still, none of HBO's freshmen series was acknowledged, including the David Milch-created "John from Cincinnati" and the edgy relationship drama "Tell Me You Love Me."
"Mad Men" was the season's new drama widely hailed as good enough to be HBO - but instead it was AMC's first original scripted drama series. And it was duly noted by the judges, snagging nominations for best drama as well as a best actor nod for its star, Jon Hamm, who plays a cynical advertising executive in circa-1960 New York City.
Ernest Borgnine was rightly nominated for his charming performance in the Hallmark Channel film "A Grandpa for Christmas." Playing the title character, the 90-year-old Borgnine could turn out to be the oldest Globes recipient ever - and its most patient, having last been nominated in 1956 (for "Marty").
A sentimental favorite? Maybe so. But, as an offbeat inclusion, Borgnine serves as a reminder that the Globes are not afraid to look beyond the obvious choices. This sort of category replenishing may not always quite make sense: Was James Gandolfini, for instance, any less deserving this year as any other to be a best actor nominee for "The Sopranos"?
On the other hand, the Globes made room for "Mad Men's" terrific newcomer Hamm and "The Tudors"' arresting Rhys Meyers, going up against Michael C. Hall from Showtime's "Dexter," Bill Paxton from HBO's "Big Love," and last year's winner, Hugh Laurie from Fox's "House."
For best actress, Close, Holly Hunter from TNT's freshman drama "Saving Grace" and Minnie Driver from FX's new "The Riches" will compete against Falco and three other series veterans: Sally Field from ABC's "Brothers and Sisters," Patricia Arquette from NBC's "Medium" and last year's winner, Kyra Sedgwick from TNT's "The Closer."