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The Race Is On

May 28, 2008|TOM O'NEIL

EMMY balloting runs from Monday to June 20, during which time all 12,000 TV academy members vote for programs and individual branches decide contenders according to their peer group (actors vote on actors, for example). Then the Top 10 finalists submit a sample episode that will be weighed by judges, who will rank the episodes from 1 to 10. Accountants combine the popular vote and the judges' scores to determine five nominees per category that will be announced on July 17. Here's a look at what some of those nominations might include.



"Big Love"

"Boston Legal"

"Brothers & Sisters"

"The Closer"



"Friday Night Lights"

"Grey's Anatomy"

"House M.D."

"In Treatment"


"Mad Men"

"Rescue Me"

"The Riches"

"Saving Grace"

"The Tudors"

SPOTLIGHT: No cable series airing anywhere but HBO has ever been nominated for top drama or comedy. This year's best shots are on the drama side. Five could end up among the Top 10 finalists: AMC's "Mad Men," FX's "Damages," TNT's "The Closer" and Showtime's "Dexter" and "The Tudors." Last year only "Dexter" made it that far.


"Battlestar Galactica"

"Breaking Bad"

"Dirty Sexy Money"


"Law & Order: SVU"

"Tell Me You Love Me"

"The Wire"

SPOTLIGHT: Final chance for two critically hailed, departing shows to be recognized. There's hope for "Battlestar Galactica" -- it scored four nominations last year, including impressive, first-time bids for writing and directing. "The Wire" reaped a writing bid back in 2005 but has been ignored ever since despite the universal cries of TV critics who say it deserves to win best drama.


"Army Wives"





"Gossip Girl"

"Law & Order"



"Prison Break"

"Private Practice"

"Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles"

"Without a Trace"

SPOTLIGHT: Rarely have Emmy voters given trashy pop-cult hits like "Gossip Girl" their due. Perhaps "Dynasty" got nominated for best drama series of 1982 because it skewed older and had snob appeal (Alexis' bubbly, those shoulder pads). The camp teen classics of yore got skunked in the top awards by Emmy, but earned bids from other awards: "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" (Television Critics Assn.), "Beverly Hills 90210" (Golden Globes) and "Dawson's Creek" (Teen Choice).




"30 Rock"

"Back to You"


"Curb Your Enthusiasm"

"Desperate Housewives"


"How I Met Your Mother"

"My Name Is Earl"

"The Office"

"Pushing Daisies"


"Two and a Half Men"

"Ugly Betty"


SPOTLIGHT: The year's breakout new comedy series almost always gets nominated ("Ugly Betty," "Desperate Housewives"), so that bodes well for "Pushing Daisies," which was already nommed for best comedy by the Golden Globes and Writers Guild of America.


"Big Bang Theory"


"Flight of the Conchords"

" 'Til Death"


"New Adventures of Old Christine"

"Samantha Who?"

SPOTLIGHT: Leading off the Monday night comedy block for CBS, "Big Bang Theory," from "Two and a Half Men" creator Chuck Lorre, also captures the spirit of "The Odd Couple" with its pair of mismatched roommates. This traditionally shot sitcom could break the recent Emmy bias toward single-camera shows.



"Everybody Hates Chris"

"Hannah Montana"

"It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia"

"Family Guy"

"My Boys"

"Rules of Engagement"

"The Sarah Silverman Program"

SPOTLIGHT: "Family Guy" is pulling a "Simpsons"! After three losses and then last year's snub in the animation category, it's trying its luck (likely to be bad) in the comedy-series race. Before doing so, "Guy" should've checked with its sister show down the hall at Fox. "Simpsons" won nine Emmys for animated program before trying -- unsuccessfully -- to break into this race, only to return quickly to the animation category.




"An American Crime"

"As You Like It"

"Bernard and Doris"

"Pictures of Hollis Woods"

"For One More Day"

"A Raisin in the Sun"


SPOTLIGHT: HBO has won this category 13 of the last 15 years, including the last four in a row. It's aired 44 of the 75 TV movies nominated since 1993. "Bernard and Doris" and "Recount" continue its tradition of glossy docudramas starring Oscar winners. Last year it was Anna Paquin in "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee"; this year, it's Susan Sarandon and Kevin Spacey.


"The Fever"

"My Boy Jack"


SPOTLIGHT: As part of the revamped "Masterpiece Theater," "My Boy Jack" cast five-time Emmy nominee Kim Cattrall in a real-life role far removed from "Sex and the City" -- the wife of writer Rudyard Kipling, whose only son enlists during WWI over her objections. And with Daniel Radcliffe taking a break from "Harry Potter" to play this would-be hero, the film brought a new audience to this long-running anthology series.


"A Grandpa for Christmas"

"The Memory Keeper's Daughter"


"The Russell Girl"

"Sweet Nothing in My Ear"

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