Will Dennis Franz’s Emmy record be cooked by Bryan Cranston?

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It’s been 13 years since “NYPD Blue” star Denniz Franz made Emmy history in 1999 by claiming his fourth trophy as TV’s Best Drama Actor. In that time, a trio of men have won three Emmys each in this race — Bryan Cranston for “Breaking Bad,”  James Spader for “The Practice”/”Boston Legal” and James Gandolfini for “The Sopranos” — but no one has been able to secure that coveted fourth statue.

With the Jameses no longer eligible, the pressure is solely on Cranston to tie Franz’s Emmy record. And according to Gold Derby’s Experts, Editors and Users, he may do just that.

This year’s race for Drama Lead Actor finds Cranston standing tall at 8/11 odds, far out in first place. Damian Lewis (“Homeland“) rests comfortably in second place with 4/1 odds, and then there’s perennial also-ran Jon Hamm (“Mad Men“) in third place with 13/2 odds. Trailing behind are Steve Buscemi (“Boardwalk Empire“), Hugh Bonneville (“Downton Abbey“) and Michael C. Hall (“Dexter“).

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If Cranston wins his fourth trophy this year, he will have prevailed for each of the first four seasons of his series, making him unbeatable for this role. (Don’t forget that “Breaking Bad” was ineligible at the 2011 Emmy ceremony because of the show’s lengthy hiatus.) Franz’s Emmy victories, though impressive, were not for consecutive seasons of “NYPD Blue.” Franz won in 1994, 1996, 1997 and 1999 from a total of eight nominations.

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With “Breaking Bad” set to end in 2013, time is running out for Cranston to match or even surpass Franz’s historic Emmy haul. Does Franz deserve to keep his title of television’s Best Drama Actor of all time? Or is Cranston more fitting for that honor? Give us your thoughts below!

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