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Katherine Heigl stays supporting in Emmy race for 'Grey's Anatomy'

May 19, 2009 |  2:39 pm

"Grey's Anatomy" star Katherine Heigl will submit her name for Emmy Awards consideration this season, reports Mike Ausiello of Entertainment Weekly. Gold Derby can add to that news: After appearing in a high-profile role that could've been defined as lead, she's decided to remain in the same supporting category she won in 2007. 

Katherine Heigl Emmys Grey's Anatomy ABC It was Gold Derby that noticed Katherine Heigl's name missing from the initial list of 2008 contenders last June. When we inquired as to why, Heigl's response to us triggered a huge media uproar: "I did not feel that I was given the material this season to warrant an Emmy nomination."

After that brouhaha, there was talk that her character of Izzie could be killed off this season on the medical drama. Though Izzie has been battling cancer, her fate remains a mystery with an ambiguous finale putting both her and George (T.R. Knight) in limbo. 

While we will have to wait till the fall to learn which — if either of them — survives, we now know that Heigl liked this storyline enough to put her name forward for the Emmys. That she decided to stay in the supporting race is illuminating. After all, there are plenty of Emmy precedents to legitimize a move up to lead actress by a supporting winner without any noticeable increase in screen time.

Back in 1988, Patricia Wettig won supporting actress in a drama series for her role as a long-suffering wife on the first season of "thirtysomething." She was not an Emmy nominee the next year, but in season three, her character was confronted with cancer and Wettig won the first of two successive lead actress Emmys for this ensemble drama. In 1995, Julianna Margulies took home the supporting Emmy for her work on the first season of the smash hit "ER." She stayed in supporting the following year but moved up to lead for her last four seasons on the show — she never won another Emmy. And Allison Janney of "The West Wing" was a two-time supporting champ (2000, 2001) before contending as lead actress for four of the last five seasons of the show — she won two of those races (2002, 2004).

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Photo: ABC

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