Exec producers: Brian Grazer, Ron Howard, Mitchell Hurwitz, David Nevins
Viewers: 4.2 million
Episodes submitted: “Mr. F,” “The Ocean Walker,” “Making a Stand,” “S.O.B.’s,” “Exit Strategy,” “Development Arrested”
Season Highlight: The family’s appearance on “Mock Trial With J. Reinhold,” hosted by Judge Reinhold and featuring William Hung’s in-court band, the Hung Jury.
Why it may win: It never won over mass audiences, and Hollywood could be determined to give the cult favorite a winning sendoff.
Maybe not: An undercurrent that the show’s best seasons were already behind it.
Quote: “The fans have been so ardent in their devotion and in return … I’ve given everything I can to the show in order to try to live up to their expectations,” Hurwitz told Daily Variety in announcing the end of any plans for him to revive the canceled series. “I finally reached a point where I felt I couldn’t continue to deliver that on a weekly basis.”
Curb Your Enthusiasm
Exec producers: Larry David, Jeff Garlin, Robert B. Weide, Larry Charles
Viewers: 3.2 million (cumulative)
Episodes submitted: “The Larry David Sandwich,” “The Christ Nail,” “Lewis Needs a Kidney,” “The Ski Lift,” “The Korean Bookie,” “The End”
Season Highlight: The social faux pas of inviting a registered sex offender to a Passover seder.
Why it may win: It remains the most provocative of the nominees.
Maybe not: David’s unique brand of humor is definitely an acquired taste, plus fatigue with the show — skein’s been on five seasons already — could be setting in.
Quote: “If we had been on one of the networks instead of HBO, I think we would have lasted 15 minutes into the first show, and they would have taken us off the air and put the old Indian-head test symbol on,” says Weide.
Exec producers: Greg Daniels, Ricky Gervais, Howard Klein, Stephen Merchant, Ben Silverman
Viewers: 8 million
Episodes submitted: “The Dundies,” “Christmas Party,” “The Injury,” “Booze Cruise,” “The Secret,” “Valentine’s Day”
Season Highlight: Two kisses — one between Michael and Jan after Michael wins a huge client, and the season ender between platonic friends Jim and Pam.
Why it may win: Almost impossible to ignore the creative strides the show made in its second season.
Maybe not: Almost impossible. Some voters may still not be in sync with it.
Quote: “We did a much better job in the second season than in the mini-first season making Michael Scott a funny person, but also likable,” producer Michael Schur says.
Exec producers: Bill Lawrence
Viewers: 6.4 million
Episodes submitted: “My Jiggly Ball,” “My Way Home,” “My Big Bird,” “My Half-Acre,” “My Own Personal Hell,” “My Lunch”
Season Highlight: The “Wizard of Oz”-inspired “My Way Home” episode, which worked seamlessly into the show’s overall plot and style.
Why it may win: Still firing on all cylinders in its fifth season but unlikely to make it past a sixth, there’s no better time for it to win.
Maybe not: Some believe the show got too silly for its own good, and “Office” perhaps overshadowed it on its own network.
Quote: “One of the main ways the show has evolved is that people have kind of taken control of their characters, I think more so on this show than on a lot of others, because we really encourage improv here,” Lawrence says. “Sarah Chalke always jokes that the line between the character and the actual person kind of blurs.”
Two and a Half Men
Exec producers: Lee Aronsohn, Mark Burg, Oren Koules, Chuck Lorre, Eric Tannenbaum, Kim Tannenbaum
Viewers: 15.1 million
Episodes submitted: “Principal Gallagher’s Lesbian Lover,” “Hi, Mr. Horned One,” “Sleep Tight Puddin’ Pop,” “Madame and Her Special Friend,” “Santa’s Village of the Damned,” “That Special Tug”
Season Highlight: Just as Charlie and Mia’s wedding plans fall apart in Vegas, Alan and Kandi shock them by getting married.
Why it may win: More clever upon viewing than its reputation may suggest, and certainly well-exposed on CBS.
Maybe not: For all its modern innuendo, it has an uninspiring old school feel for some.
Quote: “The fact that there’s an audience out there that tunes in to this show every week, we don’t overlook that,” Lorre told the Los Angeles Times. “We have a tremendous obligation to deliver a show that fulfills the promise that a comedy makes, which is that we’ll make you laugh.”