Emmy slugfest: Drama races will be dominated by ‘This Is Us’ & ‘Stranger Things’ [WATCH]

“I have ‘This Is Us’ winning,” predicts Marcus James Dixon, who joins Rob Licuria, Charles Bright and me for a very early look at this year’s drama Emmy races. “And I know people say, ‘It’s a network show, they don’t like network shows,’ but I think they do. It’s just there hasn’t been a great network show to take that slot since ‘The Good Wife,’ which was the last one nominated.” Watch our editors’ Emmy slugfest above.

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The rest of us agree with Dixon that NBC’s tear-jerking drama would make a big splash at the Emmys, especially given there are at least two open slots as reigning champ “Game of Thrones” (HBO) won’t air before the eligibility period and “Downton Abbey” (PBS) scored its final nominations last year as the show ended its run. Still in the hunt are returning contenders “The Americans” (FX), “Better Call Saul” (AMC), “Homeland” (Showtime), “House of Cards” (Netflix) and “Mr. Robot” (USA), all hoping to return.

While I’m predicting an easy victory for Netflix’s “Stranger Things,” Licuria is hoping for one previous Best Drama Series nominee to make a return. “I’m thinking that ‘Orange is the New Black’ is certainly in the running,” he says. “That [fourth] season was so well regarded and beloved by critics and fans that it sort of made a comeback.”

Dish ‘This Is Us’ with other fans in our notorious forums

Over in the Best Actor race there seems to be a consensus that we will see the first African-American nominee since Andre Braugher contended for the sole season of  “Gideon’s Crossing” in 2001: recent Emmy champ Sterling K. Brown (“The People v. O.J. Simpson”) is being submitted in lead for “This Is Us.” While Dixon thinks Brown will prevail, Bright sees the Emmy in someone else’s hands. “Right now I have Bob Odenkirk at number one, Rami Malek at number two, and Sterling K Brown at number three. But that’s just my wishful thinking, but who knows? Maybe it’ll come true.”

The always ultra-competitive Best Actress race will be without last year’s winner Tatiana Maslany as “Orphan Black” won’t air until after the eligibility period ends, but two “Westworld” leading ladies are hoping to take that spot: Golden Globe nominees Evan Rachel Wood and Thandie Newton. If in fact they both go lead, “I just see them cancelling each other out,” I declare. “They’re both really great and I don’t think one was much better than the other. How do you separate the two? It’s either you vote for both or you maybe just don’t go for either one.”

Predict the Emmy nominees now; change them until July 13

To find out more about our drama series and acting picks in lead and supporting — including likely bids for “Stranger Things” co-stars Winona Ryder and Millie Bobby Brown — watch our fun slugfest above.

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.

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