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Why I'm worried about 'Mad Men' at the Emmys

August 17, 2011 |  2:00 pm

Mad men

There's a widespread assumption among Emmy pundits that "Mad Men" will skate easily to its fourth victory in a row as best drama series. But are they crazy?

Among the 10 pundits piping in at Gold Derby, seven forecast a four-peat for the AMC series: Mike Ausiello (TV Line), Jace Lacob (Newsweek Daily Beast), Daniel Manu (Television Without Pity), Melanie McFarland (IMDB), Chrissy Le Nguyen (Yahoo TV), Rick Porter (Zap2It), Jill Serjeant (Reuters) and me. The two dissenters -- Frazier Moore (Associated Press) and Paul Sheenan (Gold Derby) -- opt for "Boardwalk Empire," which won the equivalent prize at the Golden Globes and SAG Awards.

There's a separate panel of experts at Gold Derby comprised of the site's editorial staff. Of them, seven pick "Mad Men," three choose "Boardwalk Empire" and one picks "The Good Wife." There's even a third perspective. More than 300 website users have expressed their predictions thusly: "Mad Men" (55%), "Boardwalk Empire" (20%), "The Good Wife" (11%), "Game of Thrones" (6%), "Friday Night Lights" (5%), "Dexter" (2%).

Can everybody possibly be wrong?

Pundits are so confident for two reasons: 1) "Mad Men's" done it three times in the past and 2) it managed the victories in August or September even though the previous season of episodes had aired nearly a year earlier. The logic goes: If "Mad Man" has that kind of staying power it can't be beaten.

But there's one key difference this year that the pundits may be overlooking. In the past when "Mad Men" won best drama series, fresh episodes of the show were airing during the voting season. It was on top of voters' minds because Hollywood buzzed with new excitement over the latest shenanigans of Don Draper and pals. Not so now. Haggling over money and contract terms between AMC and series creator Matt Weiner delayed production of the next season, so the series is not in the news so much.

Does this matter, do you think?


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-- Tom O'Neil

Photo: John Hamm as Don Draper in "Mad Men." Credit: AMC