Sorry, Emmy experts, you’re wrong: ‘This Is Us’ will win Best Drama Series, not ‘The Crown’

Nearly half of Gold Derby’s Emmy experts from major media outlets are predicting that Netflix’s “The Crown” will win Best Drama Series this year. But I think they’re all wrong and that NBC’s family drama “This Is Us” will prevail on Emmy night instead, thanks in part to the new voting system. Voters no longer rank their favorites on the ballot. They just check off one pick, then the nominee with the most votes wins. That means winners are now chosen by plurality, not consensus. A nominee needs fewer votes to triumph, and a show like “This Is Us” has a leg up because it has the most broad appeal of any other drama series in contention.

While “The Crown” is undoubtedly a prestigious show and will likely be the nominations leader at the Emmys because of below-the-line support, “This Is Us” is the show with more buzz, higher ratings and cross appeal. While “The Crown’s” buzz died off soon after it streamed all 10 episodes back on November 4, “This Is Us” retained strong notices throughout America and the blogosphere continuously from its September debut through to its March finale. The viewership ratings of “This Is Us” continued to climb, ending Season 1 as the year’s most-watched drama series in the demo.

One of the reasons ABC’s “Modern Family” was able to win Best Comedy Series five years in a row (2010-2014) was because it had the most broad subject matter — everyone could see themselves in the show. The same is true for “This Is Us,” with all ages, all races, and all sizes being able to identify with the various characters. That’ll be key to “This Is Us” not only being the first network drama since “The Good Wife” (2010-2011) to earn a Best Drama Series nomination, but also being the first since “24” (2006) to claim the top trophy.

NBC is the all-time Best Drama Series king at the Emmys, with 21 victories compared to CBS’s 18 triumphs and ABC’s nine wins. Thanks to the rise of premium and basic cable networks, the peacock’s last series to win was the political drama “The West Wing” (2000-2003). Will “This Is Us” break NBC’s Emmy drought in this category? Six Emmy experts say yes: Eric Deggans (NPR), Lynn Elber (Associated Press), Tom O’Neil (Gold Derby), Robert Rorke (New York Post), Paul Sheehan (Gold Derby) and Ken Tucker (Yahoo).

“The West Wing” tied the record for the most Drama Series victories at four, matching “Hill Street Blues” (NBC) and “L.A. Law” (NBC) and later being joined by “Mad Men” (AMC). The political drama is one Emmy’s all-time faves, with a whopping 95 nominations and 26 wins. “This Is Us” has already been renewed for Season 2 and 3 by NBC, so awards watchers will be keeping a close eye on how it performs at its freshman Emmys. Also check out my Top 4 reasons why Sterling K. Brown (who plays adopted son Randall) will win the Emmy for Best Drama Actor — click here.

Predict the Emmy nominees now; change them until July 13

Be sure to make your Emmy predictions. Weigh in now with your picks so that Hollywood insiders can see how their TV shows and performers are faring in our Emmy odds. You can keep changing your predictions until just before nominees are announced on July 13. And join in the fierce debate over the 2017 Emmys taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our TV forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.

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