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Rooting for Emmys (and Me) to Avoid Embarrassment

When the Emmy nominations arrived two months ago, they illustrated what a sorry state network television is in these days.

The Emmy list for the broadcast networks is so sad that it is almost comical. Indeed, if it wasn’t for comedy series, the list would be laughable.

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According to the Emmy voters, the only broadcast series worth honoring in the top categories are the dramas “The Good Wife” and “Harry’s Law” (which has been canceled) and the comedies “The Big Bang Theory,” “The New Girl,” “30 Rock,” “Modern Family,” “Parks and Recreation,” “Mike & Molly,” “Two and a Half Men,” and “Desperate Housewives.”

They are the only network shows getting any Emmy love in a year dominated by so many cable shows that the list almost looks like the old ACE Awards given out by cable before cable became a significant part of TV.

That’s right, only two network dramas – one of which has been canceled – have a chance of winning tonight when Jimmy Kimmel hosts the Emmy Awards on ABC at 8.

How sad is the state of network dramas? PBS’ “Downton Abbey”’ got more nominations (7) than all of the network dramas combined.

The broadcast networks were saved from total embarrassment by the comedy selections, which is as much because of cable’s inability to find as many comedies as it does dramas.

Predicting the winners is about as easy as predicting NFL games against the spread early in the season as evidenced by the current records of the Buffalo News selectors. I feel for them. My goal in selecting Emmy winners is sort of like the goal of broadcast television and Kimmel – to avoid total embarrassment.

I have a found a way. Today I’m just going to tell you who I hope will win.

Emmy voters clearly don’t always worry about what is popular as evidenced by their support of such low-rated shows as “Mad Men,” “Breaking Bad,” “Girls” and “Veep.” They do reward quality shows that also get surprising high audiences such as “Downton Abbey” and “Hatfield &McCoys” on the History Channel.

The most shocking illustration of Emmy love was the boat load of nominations for FX’s creepy, sexy, scary, shocking  “American Horror Story,” which was almost canceled before the network announced season two would include an entire new cast.

Now on to my hopes for the Emmys:

Best Drama: I’d be happy if Showtime’s “Homeland,” which returns next Sunday, breaks the streak of AMC’s “Mad Men.” But “Mad Men” had another terrific season so I’ll be fine if it wins, too.

Best Dramatic Actress: I’m fine if either Claire Danes of “Homeland” or Julianna Margulies of “The Good Wife” wins. I’d laugh if Kathy Bates wins for her role in NBC’s canceled “Harry’s Law,” which was very popular in WNY.

Best Dramatic Actor: This is almost a can’t-lose category. I’d be thrilled if Damian Lewis of “Homeland,” Jon Hamm of “Mad Men” or even Steve Buscemi of “Boardwalk Empire” won over favorite Bryan Cranston of “Breaking Bad.” Lewis would make me the happiest. 

Best Supporting Dramatic Actor: I’m rooting for Jared Harris of “Mad Men” for playing the Brit who committed suicide after stealing from the ad agency.

Best Supporting Dramatic Actress: I have to root for Buffalo’s Christine Baranski of “The Good Wife” but I wouldn’t be unhappy if Christina Hendricks of “Mad Men” won.

Best Comedy: I’d be satisfied if “Modern Family” won because it is consistently amazing. But I’m rooting for HBO’s and Larry David’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” which is one of my all-time favorite comedies.

Best Actress in a Comedy: I’m OK with any one of the nominees and really don’t have a favorite. I suppose Tina Fey would give the best speech.

Best Actor in a Comedy: I’d laugh out-loud if Larry David of “Curb” or Louis CK of “Louie” beat favorite Jim Parsons of “The Big Bang Theory.”

Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy: Any of the “Modern Family” guys deserve it but I’m rooting for old-timer Ed O’Neill because he is the closest to my age.

Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy: I’m rooting for Rochester native Kristen Wiig of “Saturday Night Live” to provide the first shocker. “SNL” isn’t the same without her.

Outstanding Reality Show: Please anything but “The Amazing Race” again.


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