In the weeks leading up to the 2007 Primetime Emmy Awards, I'll be looking at the nominees in some major categories and trying to predict who's most likely to win in these Emmy Breakdowns. We're into the last week of these breakdowns, so we're onto the heavy hitters. Today's category: Outstanding Comedy Series.
"Entourage" — "Entourage" has been on Emmy voters' radar for a few years now, but this is the first time the whole show — instead of a single actor or a technical achievement — has been nominated. It's consistently funny and a good reason to keep an HBO subscription now that "Sex and the City," "Six Feet Under" and "The Sopranos" are all gone. But it's also a relatively niche show, and I'm not sure it's ready for the big trophy just yet. Chance of winning: Low to moderate.
"The Office" — "The Office" is the defending champion in this category, and I don't know if any of the other nominees will be able to unseat it. Granted, this season was a little more uneven than the stellar second season that won it the series award last year, but the six episodes the show gave to voters — see the list here — were among the season's best. The show has also grown from a barely watched show into a bona fide cult hit, and while it still doesn't have the ratings prowess of competitor "Two and a Half Men," it's a show that people feel passionate about, which can count for a lot. Chance of winning: High.
For the other three series and their chances,
"30 Rock" — I'm thrilled to see "30 Rock" in this category, but I also think it's truly a "nice just to be nominated" situation. After just one season, the show hasn't had the chance to grow that "The Office" had, and I don't know that its brand of comedy will ever have a terribly wide appeal. That said, the six episodes the show submitted were, overall, some of the drop-dead funniest things I saw on TV all year. I hope the show's back here next year, when it could be a real contender to win. Chance of winning: Low.
"Two and a Half Men" — I think you all know my feelings by now: This is my least favorite show on the list of nominees. It's just not my brand of comedy. That doesn't mean it's not voters' type, though; it's worth noting that it's the only traditional, multi-camera, laugh-track comedy to get nominated, and voters must see something in it to recognize it in a field of mostly quirkier fare. It feels like the kind of show that could be a perennial nominee, though, and not necessarily a winner. Chance of winning: Moderate.
"Ugly Betty" — If there's a dark horse in this category, it's "Betty." The show had one of the best first seasons of any new show last year, and it already has a flock of Golden Globe, Writers Guild and Screen Actors Guild awards to its credit. I'm a little surprised that some of the episodes the show submitted were on the more serious side ("East Side Story," the downer of a season finale, and "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," Marc's coming-out episode, are among them). They're great television, but if voters come looking for laughs, I think they'll be a little surprised. Still, if "The Office" doesn't repeat, I think "Betty" has a shot. Chance of winning: Moderate to high.