Photo by Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia Commons
Photo by Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia Commons

“Breaking Bad” is favored to come away with the outstanding drama series prize for its critically acclaimed final season at tonight’s 66th annual Primetime Emmy Awards, but star Bryan Cranston is considered less likely to win his fourth Emmy for outstanding lead drama actor.

The AMC series about a cancer-stricken high school chemistry teacher who turns to making and selling methamphetamine won in the category for the first time last year. The online betting site Bovada has installed it as the 1-5 favorite, with HBO’s “True Detective” the second choice at 7-1.

The other nominees are AMC’s “Mad Men,” a four-time winner in the category; the Netflix political drama “House of Cards”; HBO’s medieval fantasy “Game of Thrones”; and the Public Broadcasting Service British period drama “Downton Abbey.”

Mark Johnson, an executive producer of “Breaking Bad,” does not consider his show the favorite, saying that with six nominees, its chances are one in six.

“There are so many good shows,” said Johnson, a producer of the 1998 best picture Oscar winner ” Rain Man.” “I’ve learned a long time ago you don’t take anything for granted. Until ‘Rain Man’ was called, I never thought that we were going to win.”

CBS Entertainment Chairman Nina Tassler said she was “really pissed” that her network’s “The Good Wife” did not receive a nomination.

This is the third consecutive year that none of the outstanding drama nominees came from a major broadcast network. A series from the major broadcast networks has not won in the category since Fox’s “24” in 2006.

Bruce Rosenblum, the chairman and CEO of the Television Academy, said he believes “we’re in a golden age of television,” with “far more terrific programming” than five or 10 years ago.

“When you look at the dramas that were nominated, I’m not sure which one of those you would move out” to accommodate another series, Rosenblum said during NBC’s portion of last month’s Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour.

“While we’ll get criticism for one particular show or two particular shows not getting nominated, I think the membership as a whole did a terrific job in identifying the best of television this year,” he said.

Rosenblum said the academy leadership looks every year at possible rule changes, including enlarging the field of nominees in the outstanding drama series and outstanding comedy series categories.

“There were 40 percent more dramas that were submitted for nominations this year, … there were 60 percent more comedies submitted,” Rosenblum said.

Asked about the possibility of creating new categories so both broadcast network series, which generally air about 22 episodes in a season, and cable and online series, which generally have 13 or less, could both be properly accommodated, Rosenblum replied: “New categories is always challenging because the show will run five hours long and that’s not anything anybody wants.”

Bypassing “The Good Wife” was among the complaints from fans, television critics and industry figures concerning this year’s nominations, which also included “True Detective” being in the drama series category instead of the miniseries category, and the switch of Showtime’s “Shameless” from the drama categories to comedy.

Bovada has made Cranston the second choice as outstanding lead actor in a drama series at 3-1 behind Matthew McConaughey of “True Detective” at 1-3.

The other nominees are last year’s winner Jeff Daniels of HBO’s “The Newsroom”; Jon Hamm from “Mad Men”; Woody Harrelson of “True Detective”; and Kevin Spacey of “House of Cards.”

“Modern Family” is seeking its fifth outstanding comedy series Emmy in its five seasons. The other nominees are Netflix’s “Orange is the New Black”; HBO’s “Veep” and “Silicon Valley”; CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory”; and FX’s “Louie.”

Co-creator Christopher Lloyd said “Modern Family” is not the favorite “for a number of reasons,” including that it trailed “Orange is the New Black,” 12-10 in the race for the most nominations and its past victories could make it more likely that some voters would choose another nominee.

“That’s human nature,” said Lloyd, who said he does not not know what series should be considered the favorite because he has not seen all of them.

“I don’t want that to sound like that’s a pre-excuse if we don’t win, but there is a tendency for people to reward the new kid in town. That may be a factor. It also may be that people think there are other shows that Cbetter.”

FX’s “American Horror Story: Coven” and “Fargo” are among the nominees for best miniseries, along with Lifetime’s “Bonnie & Clyde”; BBC America’s “Luther”; Starz’s “The White Queen”; and HBO’s “Treme.”

Nominees for outstanding made-for-TV movie are National Geographic Channel’s “Killing Kennedy”; HBO’s “Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight”; PBS’ “Sherlock: His Last Vow (Masterpiece)”; HBO’s “The Normal Heart”; and Lifetime’s “The Trip to Bountiful.”

NBC’s “The Voice,” which won the Emmy last year for best reality- competition series, is nominated in the category again, along with CBS’ nine- time winner “The Amazing Race” and Bravo’s “Top Chef,” the only other program to win in the category. Also nominated are ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars”; Lifetime’s “Project Runway”; and Fox’s “So You Think You Can Dance.”

The 66th annual Primetime Emmy Awards honor programming initially airing between 6 p.m. and 2 a.m. from June 1, 2013, to May 31, 2014. NBC will televise the ceremony from the Nokia Theatre with Seth Meyers as the host.

The ceremony annually rotates among the four major broadcast networks. It is typically held in mid-September, except when it is NBC’s turn to air it, when it occurs in August to avoid a conflict with “Sunday Night Football.”

— City News Service

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