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The 5 Races To Watch

July 25, 2006|Susan King

Emmy Awards are handed out in dozens of categories, but, let's face it, most TV watchers aren't mulling over the nominees for best casting or outstanding art direction for a multi-camera series. Here's a look at five of the more intriguing races in the Aug. 27 ceremony hosted by Conan O'Brien.

-- Susan King

Old fogies versus young whippersnappers

Will the sympathy vote play a role in drama series when two former winners, NBC's recently departed "The West Wing" and HBO's soon-to-be-retired "The Sopranos," take on two popular -- and sexy -- medical series, Fox's "House" and ABC's "Grey's Anatomy," and Fox's edge-of-your-seat thriller, "24"?

Potential trump card: Though "24" has been nominated several times before, and gone home empty-handed, some critics and fans say the fifth season of the show was its best yet.

All about Stephen...

In the category of biting the hand that feeds you -- actually, it's variety, music or comedy series -- Stephen Colbert and Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report" take on his old "boss," Jon Stewart and that same network's "The Daily Show." The HBO series "Real Time With Bill Maher," NBC's "Late Night With Conan O'Brien" and CBS' "Late Show With David Letterman" round out the category.

Potential trump card: Stewart has been an Emmy darling in the past, but is it Colbert's time to shine?

Can't everyone be a winner?

Pity the voter who has to choose from among the characters (we're talking about the actor and the role) who deliver some of TV's most flavorful performances in the supporting actor in a drama series category. William Shatner plays an outrageous attorney on ABC's "Boston Legal"; Oliver Platt is a self-indulgent attorney on Showtime's "Huff"; Michael Imperioli is a substance-abusing mobster on "The Sopranos"; and Gregory Itzin is the murderous American president on "24." The only "sane" character is Alan Alda's Republican presidential candidate on "The West Wing."

Potential trump card: Veteran character actor Itzin's frightening turn as the commander in chief.

Reality TV's Susan Lucci

Fox's ratings juggernaut "American Idol" gets nominated each year in the competitive reality-competition program category -- and each year is trounced by CBS' "The Amazing Race." Perhaps voters don't care what the masses think, or they're trying to get into the good graces of "Race" executive producer Jerry Bruckheimer. ABC's "Dancing With the Stars," CBS' "Survivor" and Bravo's "Project Runway" round out the nominations.

Potential trump card: Don't count "Idol" out yet. Not only did it score even higher in the ratings in its fifth season, but it also has a record eight nominations.

Hey, maybe the third time really is a charm

CBS sitcom "Two and a Half Men" finally got voters' attention with Charlie Sheen's womanizing ways -- on screen, that is. Sheen faces off in the lead actor in a comedy series category with funnyman Steve Carell as the boss on NBC's "The Office." Also nominated: Larry David for HBO's "Curb Your Enthusiasm," Kevin James for CBS' "The King of Queens" and former winner Tony Shalhoub in USA's "Monk."

Potential trump card: After serious big screen turns in "Platoon" and "Wall Street," Sheen seems to have found his niche getting laughs.

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