‘Game of Thrones’ slays with a leading 22 Emmy nominations
By LYNN ELBER
AP Television Writer
Thursday, July 12
LOS ANGELES (AP) — “Game of Thrones” roared back onto the Emmy battlefield, topping Thursday’s nominations with 22 bids but with a formidable opponent in last year’s winner “The Handmaid’s Tale,” while a streaming platform made history by earning the most bids for the first time.
Netflix’s 112 nominations took away the front-runner title that HBO held since 2001, giving cable and broadcast networks more reason to fear their future as the TV industry continues to change.
HBO is no piker: It claimed 108 bids. “Game of Thrones” helped boost the premium cable service’s total and became the most-nominated series of all time, with its 129 nods topping the 124 nominations earned by “ER.”
Donald Glover’s “Atlanta” was the top comedy series nominee with 16 bids, poised to take advantage of the absence this time around of three-time winner “Veep.” ”Atlanta” will face newcomers including “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” ”GLOW” and “Barry.” Others in the category include “black-ish,” ”Silicon Valley,” ”Curb Your Enthusiasm” and “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.”
The newbie comedies aced out long-time Emmy favorite “Modern Family,” a five-time winner and perennial nominee since it debuted in 2009 on ABC. Its absence leaves just one network contender for best comedy, ABC’s “black-ish,” which also earned nods for Tracee Ellis Ross and Anthony Anderson, who noted his urban California roots.
“Being a kid from Compton, one could only dream of moments like this, so it’s truly a humbling experience right now,” Anderson said.
The short-lived revival of “Roseanne,” canceled because of star Roseanne Barr’s racist tweet, drew only one major nomination, a supporting actress nod for Laurie Metcalf. Another revival, “Will & Grace,” got Emmy love for nominees Megan Mullally and Molly Shannon but the main stars and series itself were snubbed.
“Killing Eve” star Sandra Oh made history of her own, becoming the first actress of Asian descent to be nominated for lead acting honors in a drama series. Oh had earned five supporting bids for “Grey’s Anatomy.”
“I feel tremendous gratitude and joy with this nomination” and am “thrilled” for the show’s cast and crew, Oh said in a statement. She added a postscript: “I think my mother at this moment may actually be satisfied”.
The TV industry has made recent strides toward inclusion, with Glover and Sterling K. Brown of “This Is Us” winning top acting awards last year and both nominated again.
“I think we’re all happy with the direction we’re going. This is the most diverse class of performer nominees we’ve had — we’re almost up to a third, which is fantastic,” Maury McIntyre, TV academy president. “There’s still a lot of work to be done in terms of gender” and with behind-the-camera jobs, he said.
CNN’s “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown,” received a nomination in the category for best information series or special, which also includes shows with Leah Remini and David Letterman. The show featuring chef-writer Bourdain, who died in early June, has won four Emmys.
Among the notable first-time nominees: Issa Rae for “Insecure,” Darren Criss, Ricky Martin and Penelope Cruz for “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story,” Tiffany Haddish for “Saturday Night Live,” Letitia Wright for “Black Museum (Black Mirror)” and John Legend for “Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert.”
If Legend wins, he’ll join the rarified club of “EGOT” performers who’ve won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony.
“Saturday Night Live,” riding high with its relentless pillorying of the Trump administration, was rewarded with 21 nods.
HBO’s fantasy dragons-and-swords saga is a two-time best drama winner that sat out the last year’s awards because of its production schedule. Although it’s up for top series honors, it drew only three supporting actor bids for cast members Lena Headey, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Peter Dinklage.
“The Handmaid’s Tale,” the dystopian sci-fi series based on Margaret Atwood’s novel, drew 20 bids, including one for last year’s best actress winner, Elisabeth Moss, and supporting bids for Alexis Bledel, Ann Dowd, Yvonne Strahovski and Joseph Fiennes.
“The reaction is beyond what you hoped, but in some ways it’s a testament to the alchemy that comes from a lot of people working together and putting their best work into it,” said “Handmaid’s” executive producer Bruce Miller. “Everybody from the composer to the makeup people to everyone, so it’s such a team effort. That’s the wonderful thing about being recognized.”
Other drama series contenders are “Westworld,” with an impressive 21 nods; “The Americans,” nominated for its final season and with nods for stars Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys; “The Crown,” ”Stranger Things” and “This Is Us” from NBC, the only broadcast show to make the cut.
Shawn Levy, an executive producer of “Stranger Things,” got the good news after landing in New York following weeks of directing season three episodes in Georgia.
“We not only faced the burden of expectation given the show’s popularity, but we did want to top ourselves, we did not want to repeat ourselves,” he said. “Our deepest fear was complacency.”
The limited series category is led by “The Assassination of Gianni Versace” with 18 bids. Other nominees are “The Alienist,” ”Genius: Picasso,” ”Godless” and “Patrick Melrose.”
Competing with Moss, Oh and Russell for lead drama actress are Claire Foy for “The Crown,” Tatiana Maslany of “Orphan Black” and Evan Rachel Wood of “Westworld.”
Rhys and Brown will be up against Brown’s castmate Milo Ventimiglia, along with Jason Bateman for “Ozark” and Ed Harris and Jeffrey Wright for “Westworld.” Brown is also nominated for comedy series guest actor for “Brooklyn Nine-Nine.”
Glover and Anderson’s competitors for best comedy series actor are Ted Danson for “The Good Place,” Larry David for “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” William H. Macy for “Shameless” and Bill Hader for “Barry.”
“It’s truly an honor to be nominated, and especially nice not to be the oldest person in the category. Thanks, Larry,” Danson joked in a statement.
Actresses competing for top comedy honors are getting a break with the temporary absence of six-time” ”Veep” winner Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Besides Rae and Ross, the nominees are Rachel Brosnahan for “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” Allison Janney for “Mom,” Pamela Adlon for “Better Things” and Lily Tomlin for “Grace and Frankie.”
The Emmys ceremony airs Sept. 17 on NBC with Colin Jost and Michael Che of “Saturday Night Live” as hosts.
AP National Writer Jocelyn Noveck in New York and AP Entertainment Writer Andrew Dalton and AP Writers Nicole Evatt and Pablo Arauz Pena in Los Angeles contributed to this report.
Lynn Elber can be reached at lelberap.org and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/lynnelber .
Television academy: thumbs down on the latest reboots
By DAVID BAUDER
AP Media Writer
Friday, July 13
NEW YORK (AP) — Television executives and many viewers love the idea of reviving series and ideas from the past. Emmy voters? Not so much.
“Roseanne” quickly became television’s top-rated comedy upon its return, until ABC pulled the plug following star Roseanne Barr’s racist tweet. The series was not among the eight comedies nominated for an Emmy on Thursday, however. Laurie Metcalf earned a supporting actress nod, but Barr and Conner family patriarch John Goodman were ignored.
Similarly, NBC’s “Will & Grace” reboot didn’t earn a comedy nomination despite solid reviews. Of the four main stars, only Megan Mullally has the chance to bring home some hardware from the September show. Sean Hayes’ absence was a particular surprise.
Popularity doesn’t indicate much with the television academy, anyway. “Young Sheldon,” a spinoff of CBS’ popular “The Big Bang Theory,” got no Emmy love, either. “The Walking Dead” got little respect from the Emmys when it was a sensation; still popular but fading, the show still isn’t recognized.
Being a returning series — as opposed to something shiny, new or streaming — seemed to hurt “Twin Peaks.” The Showtime reboot won’t compete in the limited series category. Actor Kyle MacLachlan similarly did not earn an actor’s nomination.
“Game of Thrones” and “The Handmaid’s Tale” were no surprises with big nomination hauls in the drama categories. Although “Game of Thrones” actors Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Peter Dinklage and Lena Headey will compete for supporting actor trophies, the Emmys stubbornly refuse to consider the show’s stars for the top acting trophies, probably because it’s in the fantasy realm, said Tom O’Neil, editor of the awards handicapping web site Gold Derby.
“For the lead roles, they want pretension and ‘Game of Thrones’ doesn’t deliver that,” O’Neil said.
In the major categories, both HBO’s hitman comedy “Barry” and the drama “Westworld” overperformed in terms of expected nominations, setting up some spirited competition, O’Neil said. For example, many critics anticipated “Atlanta” and “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” would be the top contenders for best comedy, but “Barry” can’t be counted out, he said.
Mandy Moore of “This is Us” and Al Pacino, who portrayed the late Penn State football coach Joe Paterno in an HBO movie, were other actors whose absence from the nominations can be characterized as a surprise.
“Tonight” show host Jimmy Fallon struck out as a nominee, perhaps because of a long-held belief that he went too easy on Donald Trump during a 2016 campaign interview. He’s been snubbed before; Fallon was nominated in 2015 and didn’t win.
Some Trump-unfriendly talk show hosts — Stephen Colbert, Trevor Noah and Jimmy Kimmel — were nominated, as was Samantha Bee of TBS’ “Full Frontal.” She attracted heat this spring for a lewd comment about Ivanka Trump.
Just to show that not all comics who aggressively go after the president were recognized — or maybe that the genre has gotten so large — HBO’s Bill Maher and NBC’s Seth Meyers were left out.
Last month Entertainment Weekly posed the question: “Why do the Emmys keep snubbing Jeff Probst?” No answer, but the “Survivor” host was again among the missing when nominations for reality show host were issued Thursday. So was the CBS show itself, arguably the granddaddy of the genre and still popular among viewers.
Count “American Idol,” now on ABC, as another one of television’s reboots sniffed at by the television academy.
It’s a beautiful day in Pennsylvania on Mister Rogers’ trail
By BETH J. HARPAZ
AP Travel Editor
Tuesday, July 10
It’s a beautiful day in Mister Rogers’ neighborhood! But if you want to visit, you’ll have to head to Pennsylvania.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the classic PBS children’s television show “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” hosted by the late Fred Rogers. A new documentary “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” has helped rekindle interest in his legacy.
Those who grew up watching the show, which aired from 1968 to 2001, along with fans of the new film, may want to plan a trip on Pennsylvania’s Fred Rogers Trail.
The trail, promoted by VisitPA.com, comes with an invitation to “lace up your tennis shoes” and “zip up your cardigan,” just like Mister Rogers did in the introduction to every episode. The three-day itinerary ranges from Pittsburgh, where the show was produced, to Rogers’ hometown of Latrobe, about 40 miles (64 kilometers) away, including museums, memorials, and his childhood home and church.
“Won’t You Be My Neighbor” has grossed $12.4 million in five weeks, making it the year’s biggest documentary at the box office. Its portrait of Rogers as a gentle man who preached kindness and tolerance as an antidote to the turbulence of the late 20th century seems to have struck a chord with viewers lamenting the harshness of politics and pop culture today.
In Pittsburgh, the Senator John Heinz History Center, 1212 Smallman St., hosts a permanent display called “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” that includes the entryway and living room set that Rogers walked through at the start of each episode, along with props from the show like King Friday XIII’s castle and Mr. McFeely’s “speedy delivery” tricycle.
At the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh at 10 Children’s Way, original puppets from “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” are on display (King Friday XIII, Queen Sarah Saturday and Henrietta Pussycat and more) along with Mister Rogers’ sweater and a pair of his sneakers.
A bronze statue of Rogers at a waterfront memorial on the Ohio River, on Pittsburgh’s North Shore Drive, depicts him tying his sneakers as he did at the start of every show. The building housing WQED studios, where the show was filmed at 4802 Fifth Ave., is a popular selfie spot.
Elsewhere in Pennsylvania, the Idlewild & SoakZone amusement park in Ligonier is home to Daniel Tigers’ Neighborhood, a ride themed on the trolley that was a beloved feature of the show. Daniel Striped Tiger, a character on “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” later got his own animated series. Driving from Idlewild to Latrobe on Route 30, a sign on an overhead bridge quotes the song Rogers sang on every episode: “It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood!”
Once in Latrobe, stops include a sculpture of him at 200 Main St. and an exhibit open Monday-Friday at Saint Vincent College. You can also see the exterior of the house, 705 Main St., where he was born, and the home where he was raised, 737 Weldon St. (both homes are privately owned and not open to the public). An ordained minister, Rogers attended the Latrobe Presbyterian Church, 428 Main St. He’s buried at Unity Cemetery, 114 Chapel Lane. At 200 Main St., you’ll find a statue of him. There’s also a historical marker about him and the show in Latrobe’s James H. Rogers Memorial Park, named for his father.
After all that sightseeing, relax at Buttermilk Falls in New Florence, once owned by Rogers’ grandfather, where you’ll find a waterfall, hiking trails and picnic area.
Fans will get another chance to dive into the Mister Rogers’ story next year when a new movie about him hits theaters. It’s called “You Are My Friend,” starring Tom Hanks.
Opinion: Modifying the Code of Life, a Q&A
By William McKenzie and Amanda Huber
Dr. Eric Olson, professor and chairman of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center’s Molecular Biology Department and a regenerative medicine specialist, recently led a discussion at the George W. Bush Presidential Center about how gene editing is changing medicine.
After his presentation, Dr. Olson spoke with William McKenzie and Amanda Huber about CRISPR, the gene-editing technique that he and his team of scientists are using to try to fix DNA mutations that lead to heart and muscle diseases.
Question: Exactly what is CRISPR?
Dr. Olson: CRISPR is a gene-editing tool that makes it possible to change the DNA sequence of any organism, animal, plant or human. It can edit, delete and insert a sequence of a gene. So, it has enormous power for correcting errors in DNA that cause disease.
CRISPR is a gene-editing tool that makes it possible to change the DNA sequence of any organism, animal, plant or human.
Q: How does it do that?
Dr. Olson: You could think of it as a pair of molecular scissors that can cut DNA. The second component is a molecular GPS device that can recognize any sequence of the DNA that you design it to recognize. It can deliver the molecular scissors to the selected DNA sequence and cut the DNA. It’s very fast and efficient. And it can find any single letter out of billions of letters and modify it.
Q: How do you use this in your line of research?
Dr. Olson: We use it as a standard tool for all sorts of gene manipulations in the laboratory. But, clinically, we’re trying to develop it as a way to remove mutations that cause muscular dystrophy.
We’ve corrected many different human mutations in cells from patients using this gene-editing tool. And we’ve corrected mutations in mice and other large animals that have muscular dystrophy, so we’re moving quickly toward clinical studies.
Q: How will CRISPR affect medicine?
Dr. Olson: In the near term, CRISPR provides an unprecedented opportunity to treat human disease. If you know the error in DNA that causes the disease, you can potentially cure it with this technology.
Clinically, the first indication will likely be as a therapy for blood disorders and cancers. For blood disorders, you can use it to remove a mutation that prevents the production of normal hemoglobin, which is the protein that carries oxygen in the blood. And in cancer, it’s being used to modify immune cells so that they will recognize cancer cells and destroy them.
So the impact for patients is going to be substantial.
CRISPR has enormous potential for patients, but you have to know the DNA sequence that you want to correct or change. If it’s a disease for which the underlying genetic basis is not clear, then CRISPR would not be appropriate.
Q: What about things that we create but don’t know the unintended effect?
Dr. Olson: That’s one of the risks. The technology has progressed faster than the regulatory rules to govern it.
That’s in part because the technology is coming so quickly. And it is in part because the technology has opened up possibilities that have never existed. There was no reason to regulate something that doesn’t exist.
If you want to get into the dark side of CRISPR, this technology could have adverse consequences. One could be what’s called “off-target effect.” You can deliver this to any DNA sequence, but what if it inadvertently goes to some other sequence where you didn’t want it to go and it makes a permanent change to the DNA? That could have adverse effects.
The other adverse consequence is editing of the germ line, which is sperm and eggs. It is the cells that transmit genetic material to all future generations. If you make a change in the germ line, and that change is deleterious, in some ways it’s too late. The genie is out of the bottle. Such a change could flow through the future of humanity, and you can’t ever get it back.
There are currently no restrictions against human germ-line editing. There’s a recommendation by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences that we should proceed with caution, but it’s not illegal.
Q: What does “proceed with caution” mean?
Dr. Olson: It means be careful, but there’s not at the present time a prohibition on the editing of the human germ line. The technology is there. We do it in mice all the time. And you could do it in people but it hasn’t been done yet. I believe it will eventually be done within a decade or so because you can’t stop technology.
Jennifer Doudna, CRISPR’s co-inventor who wrote “A Crack in Creation,” warns that an even greater pest might arise if we get rid of, say, mosquitoes.
There are two major issues if you use it to eradicate a species like mosquitoes for malaria. One is what you said, you don’t know the unintended consequences of eradicating a species in the broader ecosystem. It could have a domino effect on other organisms, so that’s a tricky business. The other part is whether it is ethical. Who are we to decide to eliminate a species from the earth because it gives us mosquito bites or causes a human disease? Who’s going to make that decision?
I don’t want to get into all the details, but there is a process called gene drive, which is really interesting. You can modify a gene in a population of animals and do it in such a way that it’ll confer an advantage. Then, if that animal is released into the population, it can perpetuate that modified gene throughout the entire population.
This is currently being explored as a strategy to eradicate malaria. The (Bill and Melinda) Gates Foundation has put a large amount of money into research on gene drives as a possible means of eradicating malaria. Gene drive also is being pursued as a means of eliminating antibiotic resistant bacteria.
Q: Who should take the lead in regulating this new world of science?
Dr. Olson: There is no formal mechanism for regulating CRISPR gene editing across the globe, and it needs to be a global discussion. How do you control the development of some of these technologies in non-transparent societies? China already has edited human embryos. They didn’t take them to conception, but they edited them in a dish to show that it could be done.
So, it is simple. But you don’t know when a rogue nation might weaponize the technology.
You could put CRISPR in a virus. We’ve done that and it works well, but what if you put some nefarious version of CRISPR in a virus and release it on society? What if you put a nefarious version of CRISPR in a mosquito and then it bites a person and transfers it to a person?
I’m not trying to set off alarm bells but we’re talking about modifying the book of life. I mean it’s the genome. That’s as profound as it gets.
Q: Who thinks about this and writes about this in your line of work?
Dr. Olson: There are a lot of bioethicists writing on this. Jennifer (Doudna) talks about some of this in her book. She sets off the alarm bells about changing evolution. And maybe this is the natural course of human evolution, to evolve to the point that we’re smart enough to change ourselves.
If we cure disease and live longer, obviously this is going to have some impact on our federal budget. How do we sustain programs like Social Security and Medicare over time? We already have a difficult time sustaining them.
You could say that about eliminating polio or the bubonic plague. Mankind is driven to improve the health of the species. It seems like the health care system catches up with that eventually.
Gene editing works really well and in some situations it will be applicable to disease treatment. But there will be other situations in humans where it will be challenging to use it. That will probably be on a disease-by-disease or case-by-case basis.
Q: Since you are devoting your life’s work to this, you must see a net positive effect?
Dr. Olson: I’m dedicating my career to it now because I want to do something big and important. I don’t want to dot the i’s and cross the t’s for my remaining time on this earth. For a scientist to be able to modify the code of life is really exciting. It doesn’t get much better than that. I’m not the driver of the revolution, but to just be on board and doing my best to contribute with our group, that’s exciting. Yeah, I’m all in.
For a scientist to be able to modify the code of life is really exciting. It doesn’t get much better than that.
Q: In closing, let’s talk about your work with muscular dystrophy. What impact might that be having with MD?
Dr. Olson: My entire career has been dedicated to studying muscle diseases, and muscular dystrophy is the holy grail. There has been nothing effective in this disease despite a lot of effort.
This is the first possible therapeutic approach to treat the cause of the disease rather than just the symptoms, which is what is so powerful. We know the cause. It is an error in DNA. In the simplest terms, you fix the cause, you fix the disease.
If you have dedicated your life to studying a problem, it’s really motivating to see patients have hope after they have been suffering the consequences of a disease. If ever there was a sacred goal in genetics, it would be to cure something like this or just delay the progression or enhance the quality of life of these patients.
The chances of long-term success are small, but I want to try. If we fail, I want to be able to say that I did everything in my power to do this and Mother Nature beat me.
ABOUT THIS ARTICLE
Eric Olson holds the Annie and Willie Nelson Professorship in Stem Cell Research; the Pogue Distinguished Chair in Research on Cardiac Birth Defects; and the Robert W. Welch Distinguished Chair in Science at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. A longer version of this Q&A originally appeared in The Catalyst: A Journal of Ideas from the Bush Institute at www.bushcenter.org/catalyst. It is distributed by InsideSources.com.