This competitive race features three-time winner Tony Shalhoub, in his last go-around as Monk, going against defending champ Alec Baldwin. Look for Baldwin to ride the wave of “30 Rock” industry hype to yet another Emmy.
Jemaine Clement – “Flight of the Conchords” (HBO)
Why he’ll win: Emmy voters will look for someone fresh (Clement is the only first-time nominee in the category this year) and multi-talented because, for once, they’re concerned about how in-touch they appear to the outside world.
Why he won’t: The last comedy actor to be lauded from a cable series is three-time category champ Tony Shalhoub… who’s around again this year. TV Academy members go with what they know.
Watch Jermaine on ‘Flight of the Conchords’.
Tony Shalhoub – “Monk” (USA)
Why he’ll win: Emmy voters love this guy… and they love sending favorites from departing series out with a bang.
Why he won’t: After eight seasons, the Defective Detective is no longer a relevant crime fighter, at least as far as Emmy buzz is concerned. The show used to be an Emmy factory– in addition to yielding Shalhoub three trophies, it has also manifested guest-actor wins for John Turturro and Stanley Tucci. But it didn’t win anything last year.
Watch Tony on ‘Monk’.
Jim Parsons – “The Big Bang Theory” (CBS)
Why he’ll win: Emmy voters are afraid of what producer Chuck Lorre will do or say if Parsons, who was also nominated last year, doesn’t win this time around. And there’s also the fact that he’s really, really funny in the role.
Why he won’t: Lorre’s “men” never get the gold. Ask Jon Cryer and Charlie Sheen, who also come up empty every year.
Watch Jim on ‘The Big Bang Theory’.
Steve Carell – “The Office”(NBC)
Why he’ll win: The acute awkwardness of character Michael Scott takes some getting used to. But after nominating Carell four times, Emmy voters will finally be ready to seal the deal.
Why he won’t: After giving the show the series trophy in 2006, Emmy voters definitely seem to have cooled on “The Office.” Outside of writing and editing trophies two years ago, the show hasn’t received much love. And none of the cast members have ever won anything, either.
Watch Steve on ‘The Office’.
Charlie Sheen – “Two and a Half Men” (CBS)
Why he’ll win: Producer Lorre slips subliminal message for TV Academy members in that funny credit role he has at the end of each episode. “You are now feeling very sleepy… and you will not diss Charlie for a fourth time.”
Why he won’t: Not sure what it is with Emmy voters and CBS comedies in recent years. Ray Romano, who like Sheen, presided over the highest rated comedy on television, only won one trophy himself.
Watch Charlie on ‘Two and a Half Men’.
Alec Baldwin – “30 Rock” NBC
Why he’ll win: Last year’s winner is again the clear favorite. The fact that “30 Rock” has 22 noms isn’t just because voters like Tina Fey. Baldwin is a big part of the equation, too.
Why he won’t: He leaves another not-so-flattering phone message or something. Really, it’s going to take something along those lines for him to lose.
Watch Alec on ’30 Rock’.