Surgeons vs. Spies: 'Grey's Anatomy' and '24' in Emmy Showdown

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Will this year's Emmy race be just what the doctors ordered? Or will a super spy who's always short on time once again save the day?

Fox's "24" and ABC's "Grey's Anatomy" lead the pack of nominees as the red carpet rolls out Sunday for the 58th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards, with Conan O'Brian serving as host and a gaggle of stars preparing to make their big arrivals.

While many viewers simply fixate over what couture Heidi Klum, Eva Longoria and Jennifer Love Hewitt will be wearing, here's how the most closely watched Emmy races shape up, according to some of the top TV analysts.

Best Drama Series

The Nominees: "Grey's Anatomy," ABC; "House," Fox; "The Sopranos," HBO; "24," Fox; "The West Wing," NBC.

"24" edged out "Grey's Anatomy" in the race to earn the most nominations, competing in 12 categories, and the Kiefer Sutherland spy drama might take home the most trophies, but in this key category, ABC's spicy hospital drama might have the edge.

"'Grey's Anatomy' is a slap-dunk shoo-in to win," says Tom O'Neil, editor of the Los Angeles Times' award show Web site, TheEnvelop.com. "It's brilliantly written and acted. It's got everything going for it in the Emmy race.

Brian Lowry, the chief TV critic at Daily Variety and co-host of TV Guide Channel's "Square Off," is also picking "Grey's Anatomy," but his endorsement comes with a mention of "Lost" -- the show that won best drama last year -- which didn't earn a nomination, despite strong ratings.

"This is the one really glaring aspect of that category," Lowry says. "I thought 'Lost' had a terrific second season. It's a very strong show."

Marc Berman of Media Week believes "24" will pull out a victory, despite the apparent groundswell support for "Grey's Anatomy." "It's been a really strong season for that show, and it's been nominated in this category four times," he says. "It may be time."

There might also be a strong sentimental pull for "The West Wing" -- a show that's won best drama four times and aired its final episode earlier this year -- and "The Sopranos," which will be bowing out in 2007.

The other nominee, "House," is one of the hottest shows on TV. But the fact that star Hugh Laurie didn't earn consideration for best actor has experts wondering. "The show is great," says Berman. "But how can you nominate the show and not him? He is the show."

Best Comedy Series

The Nominees: "Arrested Development," Fox; "Curb Your Enthusiasm," HBO; "The Office," NBC; "Scrubs," NBC; "Two and a Half Men," CBS.

There's no drama in the race for best comedy series -- almost everyone is picking NBC's "The Office" as the show to beat, and that star Steve Carell has an excellent chance of winning best actor in a comedy.

"This is the breakout comedy hit of the year, so, without a doubt, it's one of the evening's best bets," says Berman.

While the other nominated shows have their fans, Carell's career is on a tremendous upswing. The former "Daily Show" correspondent had a breakout hit in "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" last year, and he's currently appearing in "Little Miss Sunshine," this summer's most acclaimed comedy.

"It seems inevitable that Emmy voters will get behind this new show to support it," says O'Neil.

Best Actor in a Drama

The Nominees: Christopher Meloni, "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," NBC; Denis Leary, "Rescue Me," FX Network; Peter Krause, "Six Feet Under," HBO; Kiefer Sutherland, "24," Fox; Martin Sheen, "The West Wing," NBC.

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