TODAY   |  July 08, 2010

O’Brien edges out Leno for Emmy

Jessica Shaw, senior writer at Entertainment Weekly, offers analysis on this year’s Emmy Award nominees and shares her take on why “The Tonight Show With Conan O’Brien” was nominated and not Jay Leno’s revamped version.

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This content comes from a Full-Text Transcript of the program.

VIEIRA: All right. Jessica Shaw , break it down for us. What was the biggest surprise for you?

Ms. SHAW: Well, it was nice to see some new shows get in there. Of course, we had "The Good Wife," which was new.

VIEIRA: "Glee."

Ms. SHAW: And "Glee" and "Modern Family."

CURRY: Had at least three nominations by my count.

Ms. SHAW: Yeah. And those were great, those were ones that we expected. " True Blood ," that was kind of a shocker, that was a dark horse for Best Drama , and I'm certainly thrilled about that, I love that show. A little surprising that Conan O'Brien 's " Tonight Show " got nominated whereas Jay Leno 's didn't. They were both up for...

VIEIRA: In that same category, right.

Ms. SHAW: In the same category. Conan submitted himself and NBC submitted Leno , so...

CURRY: Why do you say surprising, do you think that there may have been something else besides the quality of the shows as being part of the nomination process?

Ms. SHAW: Oh, not -- you know, I just -- I just think it's just interesting.

CURRY: It certainly is.

Ms. SHAW: It's always awkward when the same show is nominated two times, you know, so.

CURRY: Right. Exactly.

VIEIRA: On our end, obviously, " The Office " and " 30 Rock " did very well in these nominations.

Ms. SHAW: Yeah. And another surprise, Connie Britton and Kyle Chandler from " Friday Night Lights "...

VIEIRA: " Friday Night Lights ."

Ms. SHAW: ...both got nominated , the show didn't. But here's a show that was on NBC and then it got pulled off, maybe didn't do so well in the ratings and it was on DirecTV and now is running on NBC , so.

CURRY: Meantime, there's a real clash of the titans in two categories, you've got Amy Poehler against Tina Fey in one category.

Ms. SHAW: Yes.

CURRY: You've got Steve Carell against Alec Baldwin in another category

Ms. SHAW: Absolutely.

CURRY: So that's going to be fun to watch.

Ms. SHAW: And I 'm also thrilled that "Lost," which hasn't been nominated since its first year on the air, got nominated . It's a -- you know, had it -- had it been not nominated it would have been a huge snub. And Matthew Fox also never nominated for an Emmy and he finally got one, he was amazing.

VIEIRA: Yeah. How big a boost is this -- is this for the actors and the actresses and the shows themselves?

Ms. SHAW: Oh, it's huge. I mean, look -- a show like " Friday Night Lights " for example, you know, this is a show that could really, really benefit from these two nominations.