By Ken Tucker
Updated July 13, 2011 at 12:00 PM EDT
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The Emmy nominations will be announced tomorrow morning, and you know who’s going to do well with multiple noms? Modern Family! Mad Men! 30 Rock! Boardwalk Empire! And what shows won’t get enough of the respect they deserve? Fringe! Justified! Community! But it doesn’t take a wizard to hazard those guesses, does it? So I’m going to take a much deeper dive into speculating on just which shows will fill out the nominations in every major category. Ready? It’s a long list. I’m pretty confident about these predictions. Hold your nose and take the plunge with me.

Remember: The shows I’m about to list are the ones I think will be nominated, not the shows I wish would be nominated. You can see a gallery of my ideal “dream ballot” nominations on as well.


Boardwalk Empire

Mad Men

The Good Wife

Game of Thrones

Friday Night Lights


With no new Breaking Bad episodes airing during this voting period, Game of Thrones has a slot it can fill. And if you didn’t think this was the strongest season for Dexter, you can be sure that the show has many fans among the Emmy nominators.

Drama, actor

Jon Hamm, Mad Men

Steve Buscemi, Boardwalk Empire

Kyle Chandler, Friday Night Lights

Michael C. Hall, Dexter

Tom Selleck, Blue Bloods

Sean Bean, Game of Thrones

I know: Why won’t they nominate Timothy Olyphant? Because he makes it look so easy, is the short answer. And every EW reader worth his or her salt wants either Chandler to win for the final Lights season, or Bean for his decisive turn on Thrones, right? Well, while I think they may make the nomination cut, consider this a Hamm versus Buscemi battle, when it comes time to vote for a winner among the Academy members.

Drama, actress

Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife

Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men

Mariska Hargitay, Law & Order: SVU

Kathy Bates, Harry’s Law

Connie Britton, Friday Night Lights

Katey Sagal, Sons of Anarchy

Wouldn’t it be a hoot if Bates were nominated and won? Well, no — because as good an actor as Bates is, Law isn’t a first-rate show. But if Britton or Margulies could triumph, that would be mighty fine.


Modern Family

30 Rock


The Office

Big Bang Theory

Parks and Recreation

I’d prefer to see Community take the Big Bang or Glee spot, and only in my dreams could Louis C.K.’s brilliant Louie crack the Emmy nomination process. The odd duck here is the hour-long, mood-shifting Glee, which I think might, along with shows such as Nurse Jackie and The Big C and even Entourage and Louie, benefit from a new “dramedy”-style category.

Comedy, actor

Steve Carell, The Office

Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock

Jim Parsons, Big Bang Theory

Rob Lowe, Parks and Recreation

Joel McHale, Community

Matt LeBlanc, Episodes

Showtime’s Episodes is, I predict, this year’s we’ll-show-’em-we-can-pick-something-quality-that’s-low-rated Emmy nod. And McHale is the guy who’ll be the standard-bearer for the other nominations Community deserves. I suspect Carell will eventually win; he’s terrific, and even though this wasn’t a great Office season, the sentimentality behind Carell’s final season may catapult him past Baldwin and Parsons.

Comedy, actress

Tina Fey, 30 Rock

Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie

Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation

Patricia Heaton, The Middle

Laura Linney, The Big C

Martha Plimpton, Raising Hope

If I were in a voting booth, I’d be pulling the lever for a full-on Parks and Recreation ticket. As it is, any of these women could win and I’d be happy, they’re all that good. Except that while Linney is excellent, The Big C isn’t very funny.

Comedy, supporting actor

Ty Burrell, Modern Family

Ed O’Neill, Modern Family

Eric Stonestreet, Modern Family

Jon Cryer, Two and a Half Men

Neil Patrick Harris, How I Met Your Mother

Chris Colfer, Glee

Ed O’Neill! Ed O’Neill! I’m starting a grassroots O’Neill campaign. Want to join?

Comedy, supporting actress

Julie Bowen, Modern Family

Sofia Vergara, Modern Family

Jane Lynch, Glee

Betty White, Hot in Cleveland

Kristen Wiig, Saturday Night Live

Jane Krakowski, 30 Rock

I go Bowen, but in an ideal scenario, Gillian Jacobs from Community would take the Wiig slot.

Variety series

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart

The Colbert Report

Late Show With David Letterman

Saturday Night Live

Jimmy Kimmel Live!

Is there any way Jon Stewart will not win in this category? This, despite the fact that I think, laugh for laugh, Colbert deserves it more.

Reality competition

Top Chef

The Amazing Race

American Idol

Dancing With the Stars

Project Runway

The Voice

Voice fans, be patient: This show is too new to have dented the consciousness of most Emmy voters yet. Coming off a season of renewed energy among the judging panel, I’d bet Idol has a strong chance.

Reality series


Deadliest Catch

Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List


Pawn Stars

Dirty Jobs

What’s the hottest show in reality right now? Pawn Stars. But voters may go one of two ways: either ignore all the outdoorsy stuff and run straight into the open arms of Kathy Griffin, or head for the reality show many people know best, Deadliest Catch.

Drama, supporting actor

Andre Braugher, Men of a Certain Age

John Slattery, Mad Men

Michael Pitt, Boardwalk Empire

Alan Cumming, The Good Wife

Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones

John Noble, Fringe

Yes, I do think it’s possible for Noble to be nominated, the most likely of any Fringe nomination.

Drama, supporting actress

Archie Panjabi, The Good Wife

Kelly Macdonald, Boardwalk Empire

Christine Baranski, The Good Wife

Debra Winger, In Treatment

Margo Martindale, Justified

Christina Hendricks, Mad Men

Martindale’s season-long turn on Justified justifies a nomination, and a win, in my opinion. Although Debra Winger was fearless in In Treatment as well…

Episode Recaps

30 Rock

30 Rock

Tina Fey, Alec Baldwin, and Tracy Morgan star in the Emmy-winning comedy. You want to go to there.

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