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TV Globes Contenders: Comedy

Four 2007 nominees return to face challenge

Incumbents
“Extras” retired on top, taking a Golden Globe in its final opportunity and leaving behind four possible return nominees. The belle of the ball might be “30 Rock,” which has won two Emmys and seen its profile soar thanks to Tina Fey (and Sarah Palin). Offering an even stronger Globes resume is “Entourage,” nominated four years running. Two rookie series, “Californication” and “Pushing Daisies,” rounded out last year’s crop. Neither show has suffered creatively since (though “Daisies” is headed for extinction), and with a relative dearth of new alternatives, each could see a second Globes nom.

Freshmen
Welcome to Import Central. Perhaps the “Extras” slot will go to another series with roots in Blighty: CBS adaptation “Worst Week.” Another immigrant, NBC’s redo of Aussie hit “Kath and Kim,” is largely regarded as a disappointment. With Fox’s rapid axing of “Do Not Disturb,” CBS’ “Gary Unmarried” stands as the rare U.S.-born frosh sitcom trying to make headway, not counting hourlongs “The Starter Wife,” (USA) or “Privileged” (CW) — or HBO’s animated “The Life and Times of Tim.”

Sophomores and upperclassmen
Four contenders can be found on Monday alone: CBS half-hours “The Big Bang Theory” and “How I Met Your Mother,” Christina Applegate starrer “Samantha Who?” for ABC and NBC’s hourlong thrilledy, the improving “Chuck.” “Ugly Betty” famously won a Globe in its freshman season two years ago but got shut out from the series noms last year. “Weeds” also got the bum’s rush in ’07 despite previously earning back-to-back noms, and “My Name Is Earl” hasn’t seen a Globe finals since an ’05 nom. Meanwhile, “Everybody Hates Chris,” “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” “My Boys” and “The New Adventures of Old Christine” have long been on the outside looking in, and the delay of season two of HBO’s “Flight of the Conchords” knocked that cult fave out of the running until ’09.

Post-Graduates
Two-time winner/three-time nominee “Desperate Housewives” finally fell out of HFPA favor a year ago, but the comedy field isn’t so deep that the Wisteria Lane gang should be counted out. Same with “The Office,” a nominee two years back. “Monk” got its only Globes look in 2004, while the one nod for 20-year vet “The Simpsons” (one more than “King of the Hill” or “Family Guy” has ever received) came a year before that. America’s most popular sitcom, “Two and a Half Men,” has never gotten a comedy nom from the Globes.

Farewell
It hardly registered on the public consciousness, but the CW’s canceled “Aliens in America” would get a long look in a fair world.

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