Before this year's nominations, the six men up for lead actor in a comedy series counted 25 performance Emmy nominations among them with five wins. (Larry David has piled up an additional 17 nominations and two wins for his creative work on "Seinfeld" and "Curb Your Enthusiasm.") Those wins were split between three-time champ Tony Shalhoub for "Monk" and Alec Baldwin, the sole Oscar nominee of the bunch, who has prevailed for the last two years for "30 Rock."
Counting this year, Baldwin has racked up eight performance nominations, including four in a row for "30 Rock." He was a 2001 producing nominee for the miniseries "Nuremberg" and, as cohost with Steve Martin, is part of the team nominated in the special class category for this year's Oscars broadcast. Shalhoub also has eight acting nominations, all for "Monk," with wins for the first season in 2003 and again in 2005 and 2006.
This marks the fifth consecutive nomination for Steve Carell, who also has three series bids as a producer of "The Office." The actor is bowing out of this show after the upcoming season. David earned his fourth acting nomination for "Curb Your Enthusiasm," which has been nominated for best comedy series for the last six of its seven seasons. Jim Parsons landed his second consecutive nom for "The Big Bang Theory," while Matthew Morrison earned a place in the race for the first season of "Glee."
The six women in the lead actress in a comedy series category have also racked up 25 performance nominations before this year with eight wins among four of them. While "30 Rock" creator and star Tina Fey has two acting Emmys to show for her five previous nominations, she has also won five of her nine creative races for writing and producing.
Reigning champ Toni Collette ("United States of Tara") returns to defend her title with the second season of this Showtime hit. The only Emmy nomination before last year for the Oscar nominee ("The Sixth Sense") was in 2007 as supporting actress for the HBO telefilm "Tsunami: The Aftermath."
While Fey lost out in the lead race last year after prevailing in 2008, she did win an Emmy as guest actress for her buzzed-about impersonation of politico Sarah Palin on "Saturday Night Live." She returns to that race this year and also contends as a producer of "30 Rock," which has won the series award for the last three years running. Fey also has two Emmys for writing -- "30 Rock" (2008) and "SNL" (2002).
Edie Falco won three (1999, 2001, 2003) of her six Emmy nominations as lead drama actress for the HBO series "The Sopranos." Since that show ended, the versatile actress has won raves for her stage work and first showed a flair for comedy on "30 Rock," earning a 2008 guest actress bid for her efforts. Falco is a strong contender in this race for the first season of "Nurse Jackie," and should she win would join Carroll O'Connor ("All in the Family," "In the Heat of the Night") as the only performers to have won the lead awards for both comedy and drama series.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus had seven successive nominations in the supporting category for "Seinfeld" (1992-1998) with one win in 1996. This year marks her fifth consecutive nod for the now-canceled "The New Adventures of Old Christine" with a win for the first season in 2006.
Like Fey and Louis-Dreyfus, Amy Poehler is an alum of "SNL" for which she had two unsuccessful bids in the supporting race (2008, 2009). She contends for the first time in the lead category for "Parks and Recreation." Also new to this race is Lea Michele, who stars on "Glee."
Photos: Tony Shalhoub and Edie Falco at the Emmy Awards. Credit: ATAS.