Hollywood’s screenwriters have decided who’s got the write stuff on television.
Nominations in the TV categories for the 2011 Writers Guild Awards were announced today, and the scribes spread the mutual admiration around among a field of contenders both fresh and familiar.
Among the Drama Series nominees, director/producer Martin Scorsese and “Sopranos” writer Terrence Winter got the first major accolades for the debut season of HBO’s Prohibition-Era series “Boardwalk Empire,” which joined recent darlings “Breaking Bad,” “Dexter,” “Mad Men” and the always-too-under-the-radar “Friday Night Lights.”
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Showtime’s “Nurse Jackie” was an unexpected new addition in the Comedy Series field: Edie Falco’s edgy show landed among a crop of enduring and recent favorites including “30 Rock,” “Glee,” “Modern Family” and “The Office.”
The WGA Awards also feature a New Series category that shines a spotlight on freshman shows, where “Boardwalk Empire” was accompanied by fellow nominees “Justified,” “Men of a Certain Age,” “Treme” and “The Walking Dead.”
Surprisingly, the high-profile fracas that made late night talk shows the watercooler topic du jour earlier in the year did not give Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno, David Letterman and the rest any awards bump in the Comedy/Variety field: instead the writing nominations went to “Penn & Teller: Bullshit!,” “Saturday Night Live,” “The Colbert Report” and “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.”
The WGA Awards will also hand out writing honors for individual episodes in comedy and drama, along with news, documentary, animation, daytime and made-for-TV movies and miniseries programming – not to mention a forthcoming roster of feature films. The awards take place on Feb. 5 in Los Angeles and New York.