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TV Column: Lisa de Moraes on the 2009 Emmys

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By Lisa de Moraes
Friday, September 18, 2009

Can't wait to find out who wins an Emmy on Sunday? Did you watch last year's Emmy show? Then you pretty much know this year's winners' list.

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That's because the trophy show that loves redundancy is expected to really knock itself out this year. Practically everyone who has weighed in on the subject -- online bookies, television industry navel gazers, TV critics, you name it -- expects this year's ceremony to play like a rerun of last year's.

Which is not to say this year's Emmy broadcast won't be worth watching. It'll be a doozy. But this year, it's not about who wins -- it's about the show itself. CBS, this year's broadcaster, and executive producer Don Mischer have made big changes to the show in hopes of removing from our collective memory all trace of last year's disastrous Emmycast, which got hijacked by that pack of hyenas who host various reality-TV series -- and whose collective performance that night could have been improved immeasurably by administering about an ounce of weed killer.

There will not be a lot of surprises during this year's trophy dispensing, experts are forecasting.

AMC's "Mad Men," which last year became the first basic cable show to win an Emmy in a best-series category, is widely expected to be crowned best drama again this year. This comes after the usually sentimental TV academy did not even bother to nominate the swan-song seasons of such shows as "ER," "The Shield," "Boston Legal" and "Battlestar Galactica."

Instead, "Mad Men" faces AMC's "Breaking Bad," FX's "Damages," HBO's "Big Love," Showtime's "Dexter," ABC's "Lost" and Fox's "House."

And while Fox's "Family Guy" became the first animated show in nearly a half-century to receive a nomination for best comedy series -- at the same time "Weeds" entered the history books as Showtime's first program nominated in that same best comedy derby -- neither show is expected to take home the statuette Sunday.

NBC's "30 Rock," which also made TV history this summer when it copped a pack-leading 22 nominations -- the most in a single year for a comedy series -- is once again the odds-on fave to win that race, and to once again mop up in general on the funny front.

"30 Rock's" best com competition this year includes not just "Family Guy" and "Weeds" but also HBO's "Flight of the Conchords," CBS's "How I Met Your Mother," HBO's "Entourage" and NBC's "The Office."

"30 Rock" is also favored to triumph in the race for best comedy actress (Tina Fey) and actor (Alec Baldwin).

Put your money on Glenn Close ("Damages") for best drama actress; Bryan Cranston ("Breaking Bad") for best drama actor; whatever HBO has in the running for best miniseries ("Generation Kill") and best teleflick ("Grey Gardens"). And of course, "The Amazing Race" will pick up its annual Emmy for best reality series.

Longtime Emmy navel gazer Tom O'Neil -- he literally wrote the book on the trophy show -- says this year's show will be the closest things to an actual rerun episode since the 1968 Emmycast. That year, all the victorious lead thespians in both drama and comedy categories returned from '67, including "I Spy's" Bill Cosby, "Mission Impossible's" Barbara Bain, "Get Smart's" Don Adams and "The Lucy Show's" Lucille Ball.


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