The NBC duo of "30 Rock" and "The Office" have taken the top prize each of the past three years, with "The Office" winning in 2006 and "30 Rock" in '07 and last year. They figure to be joined in this year's category short list by such single-camera entries as HBO's two-time nominee "Entourage"; Showtime's "Weeds," "Californication" and the freshman "United States of Tara"; ABC's "Samantha Who?" and "Ugly Betty"; and the CBS rookie "Worst Week." ABC's "Scrubs" also has to be seen as a contender, albeit a longshot.
One single-camera show the others won't have to worry about is the HBO veteran "Curb Your Enthusiasm," which isn't in the mix because of a lack of episodes during the eligibility period.
Gauging the chief competitors from the multicamera side in comedy series, all three hail from CBS: three-time nominee "Two and a Half Men," the up-and-coming soph "The Big Bang Theory" and the long-overlooked "How I Met Your Mother." And Fox's animated "Family Guy," neither single- nor multicamera, likewise stands to have a good shot.
But the truth is that even the darkest of horses stand to have a better shot at cracking the top comedy series list this year, however, due to a TV academy rules change that will permit six category nominees rather than the traditional five, with the nominees determined solely by a popular ballot -- with none of the blue ribbon judging panels -- in the first round.
In other words, no matter a comedy's camera setup, hope springs eternal in Emmyland.