Emmy Nomination Ballots Out: Hello, Rob Lowe; Goodbye, Charlie Sheen

Emmy ballots are being posted! (Performers, directors, and writers; note that they are .pdf files. ETA: Here’s a gateway to all categories–the hairstyling/makeup submissions are really fun to read!) We haven’t had much time to look over them, but there are always a few standout crazy moments:

  • Always fun to see the different writing submission strategies (which are also, of course, dependent on the makeup of writing teams)–The Middle submits one, Modern Family submits nine. Nine. Glee submits one per writer, Cougar Town submits eight. Friday Night Lights submits only the series finale; Covert Affairs submits eight and Burn Notice nine. I don’t know that one strategy is superior to another (hard to imagine Burn Notice, which I like very much, getting a nom, while Modern Family will likely get a few), but it’s fun to play with.
  • No America Ferrera for Guest Actress for The Good Wife? Boooooo.
  • No Jennifer Aniston in Guest Actress for Cougar Town? Odd.
  • As suspected, Rob Lowe–God love him–thinks he’s a lead actor on Parks and Recreation. Maybe Charlie Sheen’s absence will open up a slot for Lowe (is there a back door through which Sheen can still make it in? That…is probably not a good way to ask that question).
  • Oh, y’all, Community submitted the Christmas episode in the animated category. Love it!
  • The headshots are golden. Nice knit hat, Alan Cumming. Jennifer Love Hewitt managed to find three different headshots for her three different submission. Bless.

What interesting tidbits are you finding?

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Summer Premieres Abound on Thursday Night

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New summer TV is busting out all over! If you’re like me and are waiting out the audition process on So You Think You Can Dance (why does the producer manipulation in the audition rounds work so much better on American Idol than on SYTYCD? How can they possibly think I want to see the entirely constructed tension of putting the adorable Kasprzak brothers on the stage together to hear about the last slot?), there’s still plenty of new TV for you tonight. USA leads the pack with a brand new season of Burn Notice, which presumably finds Michael out of the ocean and on the run. More Bruce Campbell, please! They follow the Burn Notice season premiere with the bow of new Mark Feuerstein medical dramedy Royal Pains. To be honest, I’m not sure I care about the cuts, bruises, and face lifts of the rich and famous Hamptons residents who need house calls, but I love me some Mark Feuerstein (Cliff Calley! ), so I guess I’m there (also: bonus Campbell Scott!). Burn Notice and Royal Pains might be a good match–good guys who lose their good lives and try to reconstruct new ones with help from wacky friends and family? Hmmm. Maybe I just favor the Campbells.

If you just can’t get enough medical drama, NBC also debuts The Listener, about a psychic paramedic (Craig Olejnik, sporting unfortunate hair). Yep. The lead character referring to his psychic ability as God setting him up with free cable is kind of cute, I suppose. On the other hand, I’m not sure I’m that impressed with paramedics who see a major car accident out their window and are surprised by it, as psychic ability apparently drowns out huge noises. The latest in an increasingly long line of Canadian imports, The Listener‘s cast isn’t as instantly interesting as Mark Feuerstein (few are!), so we’ll be waiting for Colm Feore to show up. Unless we’ve given up and are watching the early showing of The USA Network Campbell Evening instead. Burn Notice and Royal Pains on USA Network at 9pm and 10pm Eastern and Pacific, respectively, and a double dose of The Listener on NBC at the same times.

Soak in Some Miami Heat on BURN NOTICE

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I don’t know about y’all, but I am freezing. What better time to float away to South Beach and enjoy the throwaway, punchy action of Burn Notice? You may recall last season’s cliffhanger, which found burnt spy Michael nearly burnt to a crisp as his apartment was blown to smithereens. The new season opens immediately after the explosion, soon sucking in ne’er-do-well FBI informant Sam and on-again, currently off-again girlfriend/undercover wonder Fiona. They’ll exchange sarcastic snipes and possibly gunfire while making a computer out of yogurt lids–what’s not to love? Grab a blanket and some cocoa and settle in for some tropical trouble tonight on USA (10pm Eastern).

Who Gets Burned on This Season of BURN NOTICE?

People likely have different reasons for watching USA’s Burn Notice. They might appreciate Jeffrey Donovan’s witty mix of MacGyver and Jason Bourne (and the fact that he occasionally takes off his shirt). They might be fond of Gabrielle Anwar’s hot/cool combo of a woman too impatient to spy but willing to wait for her spy (and the fact that she wears bikini tops a lot). They might be amused by Sharon Gless’ cranky take on a woman who wasn’t a very good mother but who continues to worry about her son (and the fact that she wears…very large hoop earrings). If they’re smart, they might just love watching Bruce Campbell–yes, the Bruce Campbell–be snarky and deadly (and the fact that he wears wild Hawaiian shirts. I’ll start the call to, er, arms–more shirtless Campbell!).

Or maybe they just like to settle in for some summer fun with a clever, quick spy thriller that manages to maintain interest by weaving a crime of the week with the overall question of who is out to get Michael Westen. The end of last season found Michael driving into the back of an 18-wheeler where a seductive voice promised some answers. Maybe you’ll tune in for those answers, or maybe because that voice belongs to Battlestar Galactica‘s Tricia Helfer. And it’s Miami in the summer, so her showing up in some halter tops isn’t out of the question. Hey, it’s summer, it’s Burn Notice–it’s all about the sweaty fun. New episodes start tonight, 10pm Eastern.

Is Tricia Helfer Behind the BURN NOTICE?

TV Guide’s Michael Ausiello’s news that Tricia Helfer will be joining the cast of USA Network’s Burn Notice this summer is making us giggle with glee. First, Helfer’s just plain terrific; she is perhaps the biggest find among the stellar Battlestar Galactica cast (yes, maybe even a centimeter more impressive than the fantastic Katee Sackhoff). Second, we just plan like Burn Notice–it’s one of the few shows my brother and I can watch together. He likes it for the ass-kickings and the gunplay; I like it for all of that and Bruce Campbell besides. Third, this news reminds us that it’s just plain fun to look at the show’s title sequence and note that the weird font choice makes it seem like the show is called Bum Notice. This is very likely to be fun.

MONK and PSYCH Cross Over to NBC

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NBC Universal is continuing to repurpose its cable and network content in order to beef up its post-strike schedule. Episodes of the USA Network shows Monk and Psych will be rebroadcast on NBC starting in March of next year. Six new episodes the popular series will premiere on USA starting Jan. 11, and then will be repeated over on NBC Sunday nights starting March 2.

NBC also may air older episodes from previous seasons of the shows. Because of the stand-alone nature of both shows, they can easily be broadcast out of order, as opposed to starting at the beginning of the season. This marks the second time Monk has gotten a network run: repeats of the series previously aired on ABC starting back in 2002.

Although the decision certainly seems like a response to the writers strike, NBC Entertainment Co-Chair Ben Silverman claims otherwise. “A lot of this we would be doing anyway,” he said. “The strike is pointing a flashlight on it.”

There was no mention yet of repurposing USA’s new hit Burn Notice, which averaged higher ratings last summer in the 18 to 49 demo than either Monk or Psych. Burn Notice is produced by Fox Television Studios (whereas Monk and Psych are produced in-house at Universal Media Studios) so a separate deal would have to be negotiated to bring the show to NBC.

It’s possible all this repurposing will open the door for other cable series to make the jump. Could Sci Fi’s Battlestar Galactica, which returns for its fourth season in March (and is also produced by Universal Media Studios), enjoy rebroadcast on NBC, finally bringing the high-quality show to the attention of a wider audience? Perhaps, if the strike lingers on and things get truly desperate, although it’s likely the heavily serialized nature of the series will work against it.