Plus, perennial winner Kelsey Grammer is a front-runner again, and more

ROCK IN A HARD PLACE Somebody’s got it in for Chris Rock. Thanks to a confusing new method of Emmy voting for the Variety, Music, and Comedy Series category, Rock — nearly denied a nod last year when ”The Chris Rock Show” was mistakenly left off the ballot (a revision was quickly sent out) — may face another roadblock. Traditionally, voters pick winners by ranking nominees from 1 to 5 (1 being the most excellent), but the Academy decided that in this and the Variety, Music, and Comedy Special category, wildly different shows are unfairly pitted against one another (a skit show like ”Saturday Night Live” versus a late-night talker like ”Late Show With David Letterman,” for example). So this year, the Academy asked voters to rank nominees (”SNL,” ”Letterman,” ”Rock,” ”The Daily Show,” and ”Politically Incorrect With Bill Maher”) by merit; it also reversed the order, making 5 the highest mark instead of 1. Confused? So were many voters — one of whom almost sent in a ballot giving Rock, his favorite, a 1 before his wife caught the error. Says Emmy Awards VP John Leverence: ”The new rules were precisely noted in the instructions, but I completely understand how, this being the first year, somebody may have turned to the variety category and said, ‘What the hell is going on?”’ We’ll ask the same thing if Bill Maher ends up with the trophy come Sept. 16.

The Chris Rock Show
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