[WATCH] Emmy Awards slugfest: Which drama and comedy series will face off against reigning champs ‘Game of Thrones’ and ‘Veep’?

In our latest predictions slugfest for the 2016 Emmy Awards (watch above), Gold Derby writers Marcus DixonRob Licuria, Charles Bright and Ralph Galvan clash over which shows and stars are the most likely contenders to claim the open slots in the main drama and comedy categories this year.

In Best Drama Series, “Mad Men” is done, leaving 2015 victor “Game of Thrones” to battle it out with likely returning favorites “Better Call Saul,” “Downton Abbey” and “House of Cards.” Past champ “Homeland” and “Orange is the New Black” are on somewhat shakier ground.

Our quartet of Emmy watchers debate whether “Game of Thrones” is having its best season so far, with Licuria and Dixon agreeing that it will be hard to beat. “It has really got people talking this year,” Dixon notes. Galvan however counters that it is being talked about “because they brought someone back from the dead! I don’t know, I think that might have been a jump the shark moment for me. The show is still really good, but all of the focus has been on Jon Snow.”

The editors bemoan the lack of Emmy love for “Empire” and “The Americans,” and agree that if anything can unseat “Game of Thrones,” it might be USA’s breakout hit “Mr. Robot” or Emmy stalwart “House of Cards,” coming off its strongest season to date.

For Best Comedy Series, “Louie” is sitting this year out while “Parks and Recreation” ended its run. What shows will join these five likely nominees: last year’s winner “Veep,” five-time champ “Modern Family” and past contenders “Silicon Valley,” “Transparent” and “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”?

Dixon immediately proclaims that ABC’s “Black-ish” is the most likely series to benefit. “It’s had such a great season, it’s culturally important. I think it’s in.” Licuria is quick to add that Netflix’s “Master of None” is a strong possibility too, calling it “the funniest series on any platform this season.” He also thinks Amazon’s “Mozart in the Jungle” is another likely contender coming off its big wins at the Golden Globes earlier this year. “It’s very much in the Emmys’ wheelhouse. It’s got the snob appeal, it’s high brow.” Galvan agrees, adding that the show has been very well received by the TV academy, and mentions that “it was one of the quickest sell outs they’ve had for FYC events.”

While Licuria is not completely convinced that the majority of nominees will be from streaming services, Bright is optimistic. “What is surprising about that is that I don’t find that so bizarre. For all of the academy’s hesitancy to embrace certain things, they have embraced streaming pretty quickly. It would not surprise me in the least to see four streaming shows in this category.”

The team also break down many of the acting races that are full of question marks with plenty of open slots to fill. Ultimately, they all admit that the Emmys are not easy to get right, especially in a year such as this one. “This is another crazy year!” Bright sighs. “The Emmys always throw us curveballs!”

What shows are most likely to sneak in to the big races this year? Sound off in the comments section below or right here with Hollywood insiders in our famous TV forums.

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