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Emmys: Actors to Watch for ’08?

With the 2007 Emmys behind us, the obsessed among us are free to wonder (and then seek psychological help thereafter) which actors from the crop of new network shows are most likely to grab nominations in 2008 .

Not an easy question to answer — especially because the coming TV season will bring even more one-hours that could submit as comedy or drama, such as ABC’s “Pushing Daisies” or CW’s “Reaper.”

Lee_paceFor example, what happens with Lee Pace of the heralded “Daisies”? There are spots opening up in both the drama and comedy actor categories now that “The Sopranos” (James Gandolfini) and “Extras” (Ricky Gervais) have concluded their series runs. Putting aside the competition from returning actors who got passed over this year (ahem – Kyle Chandler), where would Pace best fit in? The show and his role might just be a ‘tweener.

The most likely actor nominee from a new network series might be Peter Krause of “Dirty Sexy Money,” another ABC show. If “Dirty” finds traction with viewers, Krause will benefit from a juicy role and his past nominee track record (three nods for “Six Feet Under,” though no wins).Peter_krause

On the drama actress side, Edie Falco of “Sopranos” drops off the nominee list next year, but the category had an atypical six official candidates in ’07, so that doesn’t exactly free up a spot. Still, by stepping out of the popular but crowded “Grey’s Anatomy” cast, Kate Walsh has the clearest path among network contenders to Emmy success via spinoff “Private Practice.” 

Walsh’s main challenges: The show needs to convince voters that it is better than de facto first episode last spring, and Glenn Close will carry big support from her towering presence on FX’s “Damages.” If “Practice” doesn’t make perfect, perhaps Michelle Ryan of NBC’s “Bionic Woman” will gain some voter momentum.

Back_to_you_kp2_2Among the laffers, there’s no getting away from vets Kelsey Grammer and Patricia Heaton of “Back to You” as the most likely to step into the ’08 Emmy race. But keep an eye on Johnny Galecki from CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory” and, if it were to submit as a comedy, Anna Friel of “Daisies.”

Obviously, there are many more worthy possibilites than listed here — including those on midseason replacements — but as we go from Emmys to season premieres, I couldn’t resist thinking out loud.

— Jon Weisman

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