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Category: The Borgias

'Breaking Bad' tragedy: Bryan Cranston can't make Emmy history

When Bryan Cranston ("Breaking Bad") won his third consecutive Emmy for best actor in a TV drama series last year, he joined an exclusive club that included only one other man: Bill Cosby for "I Spy" (1966-1968). Cranston was on track to make Emmy history at this year's ceremony by winning four in a row. He's admired and liked in the industry, "Breaking Bad" was red hot, and his character, Walter White, continued to go deeper into the world of drugs and despair (prime Emmy bait).

Breaking bad bryan cranston aaron paul emmyThen, all that momentum halted when "Breaking Bad's" network, AMC, announced the show would be taking a hiatus of more than a year. The series' fourth season won't premiere until this summer, well after the Emmy eligibility period has ended for the 2010-11 television season. Cranston will be forced to watch another man claim the category he's dominated since 2008.

Also ineligible to repeat at this year's ceremony is Aaron Paul, last year's best supporting drama actor Paul's victory came as a welcome surprise to pundits, as the TV rookie beat out five veteran actors, including Andre Braugher ("Men of a Certain Age"), Michael Emerson ("Lost"), Terry O'Quinn ("Lost"), Martin Short ("Damages") and John Slattery ("Mad Men"). Oddly, only two of these six men are eligible at this year's ceremony -- Braugher and Slattery. "Lost" reached its natural conclusion last season, and Short is no longer a part of "Damages."

To be clear, Cranston and Cosby aren't the only lead actors who have won thrice at the Emmys. Also on that list are Peter Falk ("Columbo"), James Gandolfini ("The Sopranos") and James Spader (once for "The Practice" and twice for "Boston Legal"). However, none of these men won their Emmys consecutively, like Cranston and Cosby.

Currently, the man at the top of the winner's list is Dennis Franz ("NYPD Blue"). Even though Franz is the only lead actor to win four times, he never managed to come away with more than two consecutive wins in a row. Franz prevailed in 1994, 1996, 1997 and 1999.

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Emmy poll: Will 'Walking Dead,' 'Dexter' or 'Mad Men' win best TV drama series?

When we asked our forum moderators to predict the Emmy race for best drama series, they cited 11 potential nominees (see list below) and two likely winners ("Mad Men," "Boardwalk Empire"). Now let's use that list of contenders and ask you -- the real experts -- which program will win.Emmy Q

"Mad Men" has reigned undefeated over this Emmy category for three years in a row. It continues to reap strong ratings from viewers and ace reviews from TV critics, but Emmy voters may be bored and want a change. That's what happened in the past when "The Defenders" (1962-1964) and "L.A. Law" (1989-1991) lost after three consecutive victories. However, two shows managed to continue their romps for a fourth year: "Hill Street Blues" (1981-1984) and "The West Wing" (2000-2003).

Our forum moderators believe "Mad Men's" most serious rival is "Boardwalk Empire," probably because Emmy voters are nuts for HBO programs and the pay channel's new series about Atlantic City bootleggers recently won best drama series at the Golden Globes. HBO also has "Big Love" (nominated once) and "Treme" and "In Treatment" (never nominated), but they're not considered to be serious threats now. Debuting April 17: "Game of Thrones." Yeah, yeah, fantasy fare usually doesn't do well at Hollywood peer-group industry awards, but that's what they said about "Lord of the Rings" before its historic Oscar sweep. Last year, HBO stunned Emmy watchers by nabbing a nom for "True Blood," which could rise again.

Don't give up on "Dexter" or "The Good Wife," which have lost in the past ("Dexter" three times; "Good Wife" once). When "Law & Order" won in 1997, the victory followed five previous defeats. Both shows will probably be nominated again.

If TV critics' darling "Friday Night Lights" finally gets its first nomination, it could garner widespread support from the industry. "Sons of Anarchy" is overdue -- and beloved -- too.

Among new shows, AMC's "The Walking Dead" is red-hot, and the network will soon debut "The Killing." Also to be unveiled during the tail end of the Emmy eligibility period will be Showtime's "The Borgias." The network's previous historical pageant, "The Tudors," failed to rule at the Emmys, but this time God is on its side.

Showtime will enter its new show, "Shameless," as a drama series, which is a bit of a surprise considering that it has recently been classifying its many dramadies as comedies because competition is less fierce in those slots.

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It's Emmy war! Can "Boardwalk Empire" conquer "Mad Men"?

-- Tom O'Neil

Photo credit: Academy of Television Arts and Sciences



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