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September 20, 2008

2008 Emmy predictions

Drama series: Yes, AMC's "Mad Men" is likely to win despite its low audience profile, and for the same reasons long-form Westerns typically clean up during the Emmys (such as AMC's "Broken Trail," TNT’s "Into the West" and even HBO's dreadful "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee"). Period-piece nostalgia appeals to older Academy voters. "Mad Men” averages fewer than 1.5 million viewers, but AMC's median age is 51. AMC is very niche, in other words, but it’s the Academy’s niche. Plus, the "Men" first season was excellent. I’ve also been clamoring about the wonders of Showtime's "Dexter" Season 2 for a while now, though, so I'm reluctant to surrender all hope for a dark-horse victory. And Fox's "House" might surprise.

Comedy series
: NBC's “30 Rock.” Like “Mad Men,” this is a show with dialogue about media issues, the same language spoken by Academy members. The show won the Emmy last year, and this season was even better.  However: the popularity of CBS' “Two and a Half Men” has seemed phenomenal to the industry during this strike-addled year, with its repeats often among the top-five shows on television. An upset win is possible.

Actor in a drama
: Gah, I dunno. Really don’t. Some like Michael C. Hall in "Dexter," but it would be a surprisingly dark pick, and his performance is a bit laconic. Jon Hamm could take it, especially if “Mad Men” fever grips the room as expected. Bryan Cranston from AMC's “Breaking Bad” is certainly worthy. Hugh Laurie from Fox's "House" is long overdue. And don’t forget James Spader keeps popping up to win this category like a maniacal trophy-clutching jack in the box.

Actress in a drama
: Glenn Close is the odds-on bet, and that seems like a perfect Emmy compromise. With FX's “Damages” sharing the honor of being the first basic cable program nominated for best drama with “Mad Men,” it feels like a good bet the Academy will use this category to award the FX drama.

Actor in a comedy: Alec Baldwin is the clear favorite. With “30 Rock” the most-nominated comedy, its tough to see the Academy snubbing the funniest performer in the show (unless voters decide he’s been acting like too much of an ass). More categories after the jump.

Actress in a comedy: Another tricky one. Tina Fey vs. Mary-Louise Parker vs. Christina Applegate here. Parker is technically considered the strongest actress. But don’t count out “30 Rock” momentum for Fey, or a win for Applegate.

Reality competition: CBS' “Amazing Race” has never lost this category, and that counts for almost everything. L.A. Times smartly pointed out that Fox's “American Idol” submitted to the Academy a finale episode that included an embarrassing extended plug for “The Love Guru.” Nobody would say last season was strong for “Idol,” yet nobody would blink if it finally won. Belle-of-the-cable-network-ball “Project Runway” also seems like a possibility.

Reality host
: Tough category to predict since there’s no history to lean on for comparison. And judging the hosts of CBS' “Survivor” vs. NBC's “Deal or No Deal” vs. “Project Runway”? It’s like nominating “South Park” and “Saving Grace” in a new “outstanding show whose title begins with an S” category. After spending eight years sweating in the jungle hosting “Survivor,” I’d love to see Jeff Probst take it. But his show wasn’t nominated, so he feels like a long shot. So I would guess Seacrest or Bergeron. Seacrest because he’s very visible in the industry, does a multifaceted job hosting the most popular show on television and “Idol” is up for a competition Emmy. Bergeron because “Dancing With the Stars” is also nominated for competition series, and the show’s median age is an Emmy-friendly 55.

Movie: Let’s hope for HBO's “Recount” since the acceptance speech might be interesting, but ABC’s “A Raisin in the Sun” is a strong contender.

Miniseries: HBO's “John Adams” was an expensive, HBO snoozefest. Should win easily. But fingers crossed for PBS’ better-executed “Cranford.”

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