Emmy Nominations Preview: Cable Will Dominate Drama Field Again
Emmy Nominations Preview: Cable Will Dominate Drama Field Again
John Kubicek
John Kubicek
Senior Writer, BuddyTV
When this year's Emmy nominations are announced Thursday morning, there will likely be a lot of new comedies to cheer about, but for dramas, the revolution is over. For the past few years cable has been taking over with Dexter, Damages, Mad Men and Breaking Bad leading the charge.

The story on the comedy side is new vs. old, but for dramas, it's all about network vs. cable. The major networks have been slipping into oblivion at the Emmys in recent years with House being one of the last hold-outs. This year The Good Wife could help out with a wave of buzz that should get Julianna Margulies a nomination and maybe even let the show sneak in for Outstanding Drama Series.

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Also helping the networks fight back are the final seasons of Lost and 24, past Emmy champions who may make a big return.

To see who wins, here are my picks for who should be nominated if the five major networks and cable were separate. We'll see which side gets more nominees on Thursday.

Outstanding Drama Series

Network: 24, Brothers and Sisters, The Good Wife, Grey's Anatomy, House, Lost

Cable: Breaking Bad, Damages, Dexter, Mad Men, Sons of Anarchy, True Blood

I expect cable to get at least four of these spots, maybe even five or all six. A quick look at these two lists shows just how wide the divide is in quality.

Lead Actor

Network: Simon Baker (The Mentalist), Nathan Fillion (Castle), Matthew Fox (Lost), Peter Krause (Parenthood), Hugh Laurie (House), Kiefer Sutherland (24)

Cable: Kyle Chandler (Friday Night Lights), Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad), Michael C. Hall (Dexter), Jon Hamm (Mad Men), Timothy Olyphant (Justified), Bill Paxton (Big Love)
With the possible exception of Hugh Laurie, I wouldn't be surprised if this category is all cable men. It's embarrassing how one-sided these two ballots are in terms of overall quality.

Lead Actress

Network: Patricia Arquette (Medium), Sally Field (Brothers and Sisters), Lauren Graham (Parenthood), Mariska Hargitay (Law and Order: SVU), Julianna Margulies (The Good Wife), Ellen Pompeo (Grey's Anatomy)

Cable: Glenn Close (Damages), Anna Gunn (Breaking Bad), Holly Hunter (Saving Grace), January Jones (Mad Men), Kyra Sedgwick (The Closer), Jeanne Tripplehorn (Big Love)

Connie Britton (Friday Night Lights) and Katey Sagal (Sons of Anarchy) could easily be added to that cable list, and if more than one or two of the network women make it, I'll be surprised.

Supporting Actor

Network: Michael Emerson (Lost), Anil Kapoor (24), Robert Sean Leonard (House), John Noble (Fringe), Chris Noth (The Good Wife), Terry O'Quinn (Lost)

Cable: Tate Donovan (Damages), John Goodman (Treme), Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad), Campbell Scott (Damages), Martin Short (Damages), John Slattery (Mad Men)

Of all the acting categories, this is probably the most even in terms of quality. The men of Lost vs. the men of Damages is an epic showdown of talent, with plenty of other strong contenders. I'd be happy with any combination of these 12 actors.

Supporting Actress

Network: Christine Baranski (The Good Wife), Lisa Edelstein (House), Calista Flockhart (Brothers and Sisters), S. Epatha Merkerson (Law and Order), Sara Ramirez (Grey's Anatomy), Chandra Wilson (Grey's Anatomy)

Cable: Khanid Alexander (Treme), Rose Byrne (Damages), Kim Dickens (Treme), Michelle Forbes (True Blood), Elisabeth Moss (Mad Men), Chloe Sevigny (Big Love)

At first I thought this was even, but the more I think about it, the more I realize that the women on cable are so rich and complex and, like many other categories, will most likely outweigh the network actresses.

With six nominees in each category, I predict at least two-thirds of these will be from cable shows, a wildly disproportionate number, but one that shows just how much better cable dramas are than their network counterparts.

Find out which side reigns supreme when the Emmy nominations are announced Thursday morning.

(Image courtesy of Showtime)