LOS ANGELES — Long before Kevin Costner, Bryan Cranston, Christina Hendricks and Nicole Kidman were Emmy nominees, they were kids who loved watching TV.
"I liked Man from U.N.C.L.E. and High Chaparral," Costner said. "I really, really liked that when I was a kid.
"I remember the transition from black-and-white to color," added Costner, 57, who is nominated as both star and producer of the TV movie Hatfields & McCoys, about the legendary feud in Eastern Kentucky and West Virginia. "It was like one by one the televisions in my neighborhood became color TVs, and we would all go look at each other's color TVs and ooh and aah at Bonanza. I'm kind of glad I saw it all, in a way. I remember the TV would shut off at 11 and just play the national anthem all night long."
Cranston, nominated for his role on Breaking Bad — which won him the Emmy Award three years in a row — grew up on The Andy Griffith Show.
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"I love the character of Barney: classic comic character of the absolute confident man with no ability whatsoever. Always funny. The calm and comforting tones of Andy Griffith, who we lost recently," the actor, 56, said. "I think there was just something very sweet and comforting about watching that show, and the simplicity of the lifestyle and a days-gone-by kind of thing."
Hendricks, 37, nominated for the third consecutive time for her supporting role on Mad Men, said her all-time favorites were M*A*S*H and Northern Exposure.
"Both of them had a sense of real community and camaraderie among the cast, a sense of friendship in this world that I remember responding to," she said.
Mayim Bialik of The Big Bang Theory was also a Northern Exposure fan.
"They had every kind of possible character," said the actress, 36, who remembered watching the show while starring on Blossom in the early 1990s. "I would have loved to be anything on Northern Exposure, but mostly Rob Morrow's love interest. That would have been my choice."
Kidman, a first-time Emmy nominee for her lead role in the TV movie Hemingway & Gellhorn, said she was raised on The Brady Bunch and Bewitched.
"Growing up in Australia, the miniseries was such a big, big thing. It was something that launched my career because I did miniseries in Australia," Kidman, 45, said. "I did a thing called Bangkok Hilton and one called Vietnam, which was on the Vietnam War in the '60s and was a hugely rated show. That was my big break, really, as an actor."
Sarah Paulson, nominated for her supporting work in the TV movie Game Change, loved Who's the Boss?
"Angela and Tony were who I wanted to be when I grew up. I wanted to have that relationship," said Paulson, 37. "I watched a lot of television growing up, and they were like my surrogate parents, Angela and Tony. I loved them."
Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Maya Rudolph and Zooey Deschanel were all fans of The Cosby Show. Ferguson and Rudolph even dreamed of joining the family.
"It felt very familiar," said Ferguson, 36, nominated for Modern Family, "and I wanted desperately to be a part of that family."
Rudolph, 40, nominated for hosting Saturday Night Live, said that if she were to join the show, "I would have to be a fictional cousin, because I don't think they needed any more children. ... But, listen, if Denise needed a best friend to go shopping with, that's who I would be."
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, a 14-time Emmy nominee, this time for Veep, and two-time winner, wants to bring back her favorite show from childhood: Flipper.
"Talking dolphin. How can you beat it?" the actress, 51, said. "Well, sort of talking. It communicated. A dolphin who beats the bad guy every week. I think we should redo that. I think I'm going to pitch that. That's my new HBO show: Flipper: Part II."