Long shots look to derail Emmy favorites

Here's something crazy: It's going to be difficult for Sunday's 59th Primetime Emmy Awards to top last weekend's Creative Arts Emmy extravaganza that found Kathy Griffin managing to use Christ's name in vain during an acceptance speech and Elaine Stritch declaring, "I'm a recovering alcoholic, a riddled diabetic and I've got laryngitis -- but I just won an Emmy!"

Indeed, Tony Soprano has nothing on Griffin, whose outstanding reality series triumph for her Bravo series My Life on the D-List inspired her to utter remarks that are being censored from Saturday night's taped telecast on E! even though a Saturday Night Live parody tune titled "Dick in a Box" earned its own Emmy the same night.

By contrast, decorum is expected to carry the night Sunday at the Shrine Auditorium -- along with 15-time nominee The Sopranos. It would, to be sure, prove a monumental upset were the iconic HBO mob hour somehow to be denied the statuette for outstanding drama series in its much-hyped swan song campaign.

However, if these confounding awards have taught us anything, it's that the Emmys are rarely anyone's rubber stamp. Were a long shot to derail the Sopranos coronation, it would prove on a par with Michael Chiklis' shocking victory in 2002 as lead drama series actor for FX's The Shield. This, despite the fact a victory would make Sopranos the first drama in 30 years -- since PBS' Upstairs, Downstairs in 1977 -- to win in the category in its final season.

Of the four other nominees for outstanding drama, ABC's Grey's Anatomy is given the best shot at pulling the upset, more so than ABC's Boston Legal, Fox's House or NBC's freshman hit Heroes.

The race looks to be significantly more wide open for top comedy series, where there is no true heavy favorite and a case can be made for each of the five nominees.

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