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Inside track: Emmy race for lead comedy actress

July 3, 2009 | 12:04 pm

All five of last year's Emmy rivals for best comedy actress are back in the race and seem likely to return on July 16: Christina Applegate ("Samantha Who?"), America Ferrera ("Ugly Betty"), Tina Fey ("30 Rock"), Julia Louis-Dreyfus ("The New Adventures of Old Christine") and Mary-Louise Parker ("Weeds").

Tina Fey Amy Poehler 30 Rock

Since the TV academy is expanding this category to six contenders this year, that means there's room for one more. Don't count out Amy Poehler just because "Parks and Recreation" hasn't scored big with TV critics and Nielsen viewers. Unlike the previous three Emmy derbies, nominees will be chosen by a popular vote of members of the academy's acting branch – and, of course, Poehler is hugely popular. Personally, I'm rooting for her to get in. Poehler told Gold Derby that there will be no "diva clawfest" between her and former "Saturday Night Live" costar Tina Fey (last year's champ) if they both nab noms, but we bloggers can stir up trouble anyway.

Toni Collette ("United States of Tara") has a good shot at a bid, especially since she's a past Oscar nominee ("The Sixth Sense," 1999). If nommed, she could pull off an upset victory in September, considering how well split-personality roles do at all showbiz awards (think Joanne Woodward in "Three Faces of Eve" at the Oscars, Sally Field in "Sybil" at the Emmys).

2005 champ Felicity Huffman ("Desperate Housewives," 2005) might rebound, but she wasn't nominated last year or in 2006.

** Nominee last year

* Top 10 Semi-Finalist in 2008

BEST ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES           
(Front-runners)
Christina Applegate, "Samantha Who?" **
Toni Collette, "United States of Tara"
Marcia Cross, "Desperate Housewives" *
America Ferrera, "Ugly Betty" **
Tina Fey, "30 Rock" ** (Winner in 2008)
Teri Hatcher, "Desperate Housewives"
Felicity Huffman, "Desperate Housewives" *
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, "The New Adventures of Old Christine" **
Eva Longoria-Parker, "Desperate Housewives" *
Mary-Louise Parker, "Weeds" **
Amy Poehler, "Parks and Recreation"
Sarah Silverman, "The Sarah Silverman Program" *


(Possible)
Tichnia Arnold, "Everybody Hates Chris"
Kaley Cuoco, "The Big Bang Theory"
Joely Fisher, "'Til Death"
Anna Friel, "Pushing Daisies" *
Debra Messing, "The Starter Wife"
Megan Mullally, In the Motherhood
Billie Piper, "Secret Life of a Call Girl"

(Long Shots)
Miley Cyrus, "Hannah Montana"
Cheryl Hines, "In the Motherhood"
Tamela Mann, "Tyler Perry's Meet the Browns"
Megyn Price, "Rules of Engagement"
Judy Reyes, "Scrubs"
Molly Shannon, "Kath and Kim"
Jordana Spiro, "My Boys"
Cynthia Stevenson, "Surviving Suburbia"
Yvonne Strahovski, "Chuck"

Photos: NBC

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