Show: “Curb Your Enthusiasm”
Seasons on Show: Three
Emmy pedigree: Nom in 2003
Episode submitted: “Opening Night”
2003-’04 highlight: David’s sad sack of a character redeems himself in the series finale, surprising just about everyone by managing to pull off his role onstage in “The Producers.”
Pro: David is now a bona fide superstar, and his
cringe-worthy portrayal of himself was more daring and downright funny than just about anything else this
Con: But yes, David plays himself – albeit, a more obnoxious facsimile of himself. Purists may decide that’s not enough to earn an acting Emmy.
Quotable: “Yeah, I’m happy, OK. What do you, what do you want?” David told “60 Minutes II” last year. “OK, I’m happy. I’m happy. All right? I’m happy. Whaddya want? Leave me alone. I’m happy. Stop asking. You want me to be happy? I’m happy.”
Seasons on Show: 11
Emmy pedigree: 16 noms; wins in 1994, ’95 and ’98.
Episode submitted: “The Doctor Is Out”
2003-’04 highlight: Grammer ended the show with class and grace, as Frasier’s relationship with the character played by Laura Linney served as a strong denouement to the show.
Pro: It’s the last chance to recognize Grammer, a critical and Emmy fave who said farewell to Frasier Crane after playing the role for 20 years.
Con: Grammer’s already won three times before; voters don’t appear to be especially nostalgic this year, failing to nominate “Frasier” and “Friends” for outstanding comedy despite their finales.
Quotable: “On the simplest level, I’d say that Frasier is a better man than he was when he started, and so is Kelsey,” Grammer says. Matt LeBlanc
Seasons on Show: 10
Emmy pedigree: Noms in 2002, ’03, ’04
Episode submitted: “The One Where the Stripper Cries”
2003-’04 highlight: LeBlanc’s Joey Tribbiani shows up on the gameshow “Pyramid” – and is horrible.
Pro: If voters are looking to recognize “Friends,” handing LeBlanc an Emmy is one way to do it. LeBlanc’s character probably grew the most of all the “Friends” during the show’s run; thesp also remains in the spotlight heading into fall, when “Joey” premieres.
Con: But with LeBlanc not retiring from the role, voters may feel they still have time to award him an Emmy. And “Friends” mania may have provoked a backlash among Academy members.
Quotable: “Being spoiled by great writing and working with these five really different and unique actors, I’ve really grown a lot as an actor,” LeBlanc says. “I feel more confident than I’ve ever felt.” John Ritter
Show: “8 Simple Rules”
Seasons on Show: Two
Emmy pedigree: Six noms: guest actor in 1999, lead comedy actor in ’78, ’81, ’84, ’88, ’04; win in ’84
Episode submitted: “Premiere”
2003-’04 highlight: Ritter’s performances in the first three episodes were fun and effortless, making his absence all the more glaring throughout the rest of the season.
Pro: Obviously, the sympathy factor is big here, as Ritter’s surprise passing left everyone feeling his talent will be missed.
Con: But having died so early in the season, Ritter only appeared in a couple of episodes; the nomination may be interpreted as tribute enough for the actor.
Quotable: “It’s a wonderful show and not only does it show the conflict between fathers and daughters, but it really does show the love,” Ritter said in 2002. Tony Shalhoub
Seasons on Show: Two
Emmy pedigree: Won in 2003
Episode submitted: “It’s a Jungle Out There”
2003-’04 highlight: Monk travels to Mexico to solve a crime – but is unnerved when someone steals his 18 suitcases, which carry not only his clothes but also pillowcases and a year’s worth of food and bottled water.
Pro: Shalhoub won last year, and Emmy frequently taps repeat winners.
Con: “Monk” still pulled solid numbers, but didn’t quite garner the same kind of buzz as it did in season one. Shalhoub was probably helped last year by “Monk’s” additional exposure on ABC, which isn’t airing the show this year.
Quotable: “I’m always on two tracks,” Shalhoub says of his character. “It’s doing whatever the plot calls for. And it’s simultaneously dealing with my own anxieties, my own phobias.”