CLARK: Award nominations get real for Ulrich

pclark@modbee.comJune 18, 2013 

Yet another industry accolade has been notched for a native of our talent-rich region: Robert Ulrich, already an Emmy Award winner for his work casting the hit TV show "Glee," saw his related reality/competition show, "The Glee Project," nominated for a Television Critics Association (TCA) Award earlier this week.

"Glee Project," an Oxygen channel competition that seeks new cast members for Fox channel's "Glee," was nominated by television's top critics for what basically translates to best reality show.

The show is helmed by Ulrich, who serves as host and mentor to the contestants as they compete in song, dance and acting each week for a coveted chance to appear on "Glee." Not surprisingly, Ulrich also casts the contestants; casting is, after all, his day job in Hollywood, where his credits doing so include an array of some of television's most popular shows, past and present.

It's the second season of "Glee Project" that's been nominated by TV critics this year, and the show is going against some heavy hitters, many nominee-list veterans for the various awards handed out by industry groups each year: "The Amazing Race," "Survivor," "The Voice" and "Shark Tank."

That "Glee Project" was nominated by what could arguably be the toughest group to hand out awards — critics are … well … critics, you know — makes the nod all the more sweet. Maybe the folks over at Emmy Central will take note and follow suit.

That would put two former Modestans in the Emmy nod hunt this year — Ulrich and Timothy Olyphant, who stars in and co-produces the FX drama "Justified." Olyphant is a past best-actor Emmy nominee for "Justified," and if all is right in the world, he'll be nominated again when that list is announced. And, hopefully, the show itself finally will gain its first nod, too.

Meanwhile, Olyphant's work already has been recognized this year via a nomination from the Critics Choice Television Awards (not to be confused with the TCA) last month. Those awards were handed out Monday, and Bryan Cranston took the win for his role in "Breaking Bad."

And, of course, Ulrich might see his casting work nominated for an Emmy again, as well.

We'll keep our eye out as Emmy nominations are announced July 18. The Television Critics Association Awards will be handed out Aug. 3.

While we're talking TV, reality/competitions and local folks, Sonora resident Jeribai Tascoe sailed through the first challenge as he vies for a chance to be the next "HGTV Star" on the Home and Garden TV network's own contest-driven show.

In fact, Tascoe was in the hunt to win the first challenge Sunday night, when the designers were tasked with designing their own interior vignettes that showed their personalities and design styles.

Tascoe, a Sonora-based graphics designer and married father of two young boys, designed his room around his own branded "JT" logo design, which garnered him praise from the judges.

He already comes across as a nice guy, a talented designer and a contender for the win, which, if fulfilled, would launch him into his own design-based show on HGTV. Follow his progress Sunday nights on the Home and Garden TV channel.

Finally — and by "finally," I mean, "It's about time, people!" — the debut date for the new season of "Top Chef Masters" has been announced. "Masters" returns July 24, as a host of the country's most lauded and accomplished chefs compete for the title and to raise money for their favorite charities.

Among the contestants is a familiar face to fans of the "Top Chef" franchise: Bryan Voltaggio, who competed on season six of the original version of the Bravo TV reality/ competition show.

Voltaggio was up against some serious competition in the Las Vegas-set season of "Top Chef," including his own brother, Michael Voltaggio. Not only did the brothers compete all season, they ended up vying in the finale for the top prize. Michael just beat out Bryan in the end to win it all. (Personally, I was rooting for Bryan to win, just because he was so darn likable. But, as I'm not there tasting the food, it's kind of hard to argue the point.)

It looks like Bryan Voltaggio still has something to prove, and he'll look do it on "Masters."

Incidentally, if I were a betting person, I'd wager that once "Masters" finishes its run this fall, the original "Top Chef" will return for its 11th season, this time set in New Orleans.

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