Some believe Heroes might do it by tapping the same factors that boosted Lost to a recent victory under the new voting process. Both = hot ensemble shows with fantasy elements, huge ratings and major buzz.
But Grey's Anatomy really does best fit the pattern of Emmy champs. Voters love medical shows, yes (E.R. won best drama; Chicago Hope and St. Elsewhere won top acting kudos).
But medicine really isn't the key ingredient in a prescription for victory. This is: ensemble "workplace programs" that feel important, plus snob appeal.
Elitist voters will sometimes embrace lowly dees-and-dems cops if the shows have cache (NYPD Blue, Hill Street Blues). Of course, attorneys get winning verdicts all the time (The Practice, L.A. Law). Cops and lawyers together, too (Law & Order). Snooty liberal politics (The West Wing) have a shot, as do upscale mafiosos (The Sopranos).
This year's nominee House is about medicine, but it may be too character specific. Programs largely focused on one role win acting trophies all the time (The Shield, Columbo, Medium), but seldom prevail in series races.
Boston Legal fits this formula, and would've had a good chance under the voting process in place before 2000, but can probably be discounted now.
Heroes fits the formula even though it's not, like Lost, in a "workplace," so to speak. However, it spotlights a team working together. That's what counts!
Grey's Anatomy fits the formula perfectly, of course, has other pluses. A stylish show about life and death feels all the more urgent because it's been in the headlines recently (thank you, Isaiah Washington).
And it can benefit from the Emmy phenom of delayed recognition.
On rare occasions, voters jump on the bandwagon right away (Lost, West Wing), but they usually make programs wait a year, two or three.
With Sopranos off the air and recent champs Lost and 24 out of this category, a good, logical case can be made for Grey's being the next winner of best drama - even after what many consider to be a sub-par Season 3.