Ted Danson earned his 15th Emmy nod for "Damages." He also contended in this category last year while he was a supporting actor nominee for his first season on this crime drama. He won two (1990, 1993) of his 11 consecutive lead actor bids for "Cheers" and was also nominated for his lead performance in the landmark TV movie "Something About Amelia" in 1983.
Beau Bridges made it an even dozen Emmy bids with his nomination for "The Closer." Last year, he contended for guest actor in the comedy series "Desperate Housewives." Bridges has won three Emmys: lead actor in a movie/mini in 1992 for "Without Warning: The James Brady Story" and two supporting wins in the movie/mini race for "The Positively True Adventures of the Alleged Texas Cheerleader-Murdering Mom" (1993) and "The Second Civil War" (1997).
John Lithgow has already won the Golden Globe for his killer role this season on "Dexter," which just earned him his 11th Emmy nomination. He won this race in 1986 for his whimsical portrayal of a simple, lonely man in "The Doll" episode of "Amazing Stories." Lithgow also prevailed in three (1996, 1997, 1999) of his seven consecutive Emmy bids for lead actor in the comedy series "Third Rock from the Sun."
Lithgow is one of the few performers to have won Tony Awards for both dramatic ("That Championship Season, 1973) and musical ("The Sweet Smell of Success," 2002) turns. Another is Robert Morse ("How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying," 1962; "Tru," 1990), who won the lead actor Emmy in 1993 for re-creating that latter performance as Truman Capote on-screen. This is his second go-round in this race for his work on "Mad Men"; he lost two years ago to Glynn Thurman ("In Treatment").
Alan Cumming took home the lead actor Tony Award for his performance as the emcee in the 1998 revival of "Cabaret." Since then, he has dabbled in television, but his recurring role on "The Good Wife" marks his first Emmy bid. Veteran character actor Dylan Baker received his first Emmy recognition this year for a guest spot on that breakout hit. And another versatile performer -- Gregory Itzin -- reaped a bid for reprising his 2006 Emmy-nominated supporting role as the slippery ex-President Charles Logan on "24."
Photo: Ted Danson in "Damages." Credit: FX.