Emmy nominations embrace old and new
Primetime lineup includes new shows and names and underscores cable's strong presence.
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While the roster contains numerous pleasant surprises, the most unexpected hopeful is Seth MacFarlane's "Family Guy," a half-hour animated series on Fox. It has been given the nod in the best comedy series category. The last time an animated series turned up in that slot was 1961 for "The Flintstones." "Family Guy," however, couldn't be further from the benign, stone-age family life depicted in the Hanna Barbera hit. Often crude, the show both mocks and embraces the conventions of the comfortable domesticity of the traditional sitcom.Skip to next paragraph
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"It manages to appeal to both hip and low-brow viewers," says comedy maven Rob Thomas, executive producer of the freshman Starz show, "Party Down." The zany, adult humor in an animated family format has been going strong for at least two decades since "The Simpsons" debuted.
The selection of "Family Guy" shows the Academy's recognition that this kind of humor has reached a critical mass in the overall culture, says Robert Thompson, director of the Bleier Center for Television and Popular Culture at Syracuse University.
"People used to regard this kind of material as being everything sending American culture down the tubes," says Mr. Thompson, "but even while the jokes can be occasionally tasteless and crude, the show is also quite often brilliant."
While Berman says he was gratified to see the television academy voters branch out to tap new faces, "it was nice to see some old-timers, as well," he says, pointing to such venerable TV icons as Ed Asner, Betty White, and Carol Burnett for their guest spots on, respectively, "CSI: NY," "My Name is Earl," and "Law and Order: Special Victims Unit."
The Emmy awards ceremony will air live on CBS Sunday, Sept. 20.
* For a full list of nominations go here.