Tom O’Neil: Why I’m switching to ‘Breaking Bad’ to win Emmy

That does it! I concede. “Breaking Bad” will finally win Best Drama Series at the Emmys this year. In years past I wanted to predict it, but I not only didn’t do so, I roared at other Emmy pundits who did.

“Oh, those uppity Emmy voters won’t go for anything that gritty!” I used to harrumph – and for good reason. Look over the list of past Emmy champs in this category and you’ll see an obvious pattern. Winners tend to be stylish, high-toned shows: “Homeland,” “Mad Men,” “The West Wing,” “The Practice,” “L.A. Law.”

But I don’t see such an uppity option this year. “Homeland” can repeat, yes, but I think it will have the same experience as another hip espionage thriller, “24,” which only won once (2006). I sense a bit of “Homeland” fatigue in Hollywood. Ditto “Mad Men,” which set a new Emmy record for most losses (17) last year. “Downton Abbey” has the right snob appeal, but it got slapped down in 2012. “Downton” started the last Emmy derby with 16 bids, but it ended up winning only three: supporting actress Maggie Smith and two crafts races (music, hairstyling).

RELATED: Breaking Bad’ and ‘Game of Thrones’ lead Emmy Dream Ballots

Forget “Game of Thrones” – it’s too dark and muddy and it suffers from the Emmy curse against fantasy TV shows.

“House of Cards” and “The Americans” are the hot newbies, but it’s too early to predict a victory for either one: let’s see how they fare when nominations come out on July 18.

Up till now, I picked “Homeland,” but now I’m switching to “Breaking Bad” because I think it’s the new “Sopranos,” a gritty show that finally won Best Drama Series after its fifth season. And this year is special for “Breaking Bad.” It will be airing its final eight episodes just when ballots will be filled out by Emmy judges, who will find it impossible to ignore the buzz. Or to ignore the urge to give it a farewell hug. Yes, those eight “Breaking Bad” episodes will compete at next year’s Emmys, but voters won’t be thinking about that when all of the boo-hoo-hoo-ing is going on across Hollywood in August.

See my latest Emmy predictions here. See how they compare to those of other experts here.

Which drama series do you believe is out front? Give us your predictions below.

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